Just what is a Masterpiece? It’s a term most usually attributed to works of art – the Mona Lisa is the obvious example, though one that I find lacking in inspiration for me. I much prefer the works of the Dutch painters. Cheri illustrated the challenge post with an image of the Sagrada Familia Duomo by Antoni Gaudi, still under construction in Barcelona. I would agree that it is a masterpiece both of artistic vision and engineering.

So we have established that Masterpieces don’t have to be works of art in the traditional sense as the Sagrada Famila shows. Baker’s cantilever bridge across the Firth of Forth stands as an icon of Scotland – it has never been eclipsed in that role by the road suspension bridge that opened in the 1960’s. To me that is a Masterpiece. But, what about other areas of art? How about Holst’s Planet Suite or Vaughan William’s Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis – no one’s going to tell me that they aren’t Masterpieces (except a diehard Beethoven fan perhaps). And what about modern popular music – Doesn’t some of that genre warrant Masterpiece status?

Examples of modern architecture are often cited as the latest masterpiece by a particular architect / architect studio. Whether you view them as masterpieces is again a matter of personal taste. Here are some London examples juxtaposed with existing buildings…

Heron Tower - designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox - looms over Bishopsgate and reflects work in progress on The Pinnacle.
Heron Tower – designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox – looms over Bishopsgate and reflects work in progress on The Pinnacle.
30 St Mary Axe - Designed by Sir Norman Foster - with St Andrew Undershaft in the foreground
30 St Mary Axe – Designed by Sir Norman Foster – with St Andrew Undershaft in the foreground
20 Fenchurch Street - Designed by Rafael Viñoly - Under construction.
20 Fenchurch Street – Designed by Rafael Viñoly – Under construction.
St Margaret Patterns Chruch overshadowed by Rafael Viñoly's 20 Fenchurch Street
St Margaret Patterns Chruch overshadowed by Rafael Viñoly’s 20 Fenchurch Street

So – Masterpieces? Over to you…