The American Institute of Architects (AIA) polled 1,804 members of the American public on their favorite U.S. architecture and revealed the 150 winners on Feb. 7. (Respondents chose from a list of 248 structures that was developed from an AIA survey of almost 2,500 of its members. For the list of the buildings that the public deemed not worthy, go to page 31.) Within days, the critics began wrestling with the question of What It All Means and whether the results should even be taken seriously. Blair Kamin at the Chicago Tribune: Does fame trump quality? John King at the San Francisco Chronicle: Are looks more important than innovation? Dan Glaister at The Guardian: Is a poll of nonarchitects really in the AIA's best interest?

On one thing, though, there seemed to be agreement: How on earth did the Bellagio Hotel end up at No. 22? To which we say: Never underestimate the power of popular culture (in this case, the 2001 film Ocean's Eleven) to elevate architecture in the public's mind. (Even “tasteless” architecture, as Skidmore, Owings & Merrill's Edward Feiner described the Bellagio in The Wall Street Journal.)

Read about the poll, learn more about the 150 structures that are America's Favorite Architecture, and follow or contribute to the ongoing debate at

The Top 150

No. 1 Empire State Building
Yeung-Seu Yoo No. 1 Empire State Building

  1. Empire State Building, New York—William Lamb, Shreve, Lamb & Harmon
  2. The White House, Washington, D.C.—James Hoban
  3. Washington National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.—George F. Bodley and Henry Vaughan
  4. Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C.—John Russell Pope
  5. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco—Irving F. Morrow and Gertrude C. Morrow
  6. U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.—William Thornton, Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Charles Bulfinch, Thomas U. Walter, Montgomery C. Meigs
  7. Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.—Henry Bacon
  8. Biltmore Estate (Vanderbilt Residence), Asheville, N.C.—Richard Morris Hunt
  9. Chrysler Building, New York—William Van Alen
  10. Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C.—Maya Lin with Cooper, Lecky Partnership
  11. St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York—James Renwick
  12. Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.—Robert Mills
  13. Grand Central Station, New York—Reed and Stern; Warren and Wetmore
  14. Gateway Arch, St. Louis—Eero Saarinen
  15. Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C.—Cass Gilbert
  16. St. Regis Hotel, New York—Trowbridge & Livingston
  17. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York—Calvert Vaux; McKim, Mead & White; Richard Morris Hunt; Kevin Roche; John Dinkeloo
  18. Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego—James Reid
  19. World Trade Center, New York—Minoru Yamasaki; Antonio Brittiochi; Emery Roth & Sons
  20. Brooklyn Bridge, New York—John Augustus Roebling
  21. Philadelphia City Hall, Philadelphia—John McArthur Jr.
    No. 22 Bellagio Hotel and Casino
    Angelo Cavalli/Zefa/Corbis No. 22 Bellagio Hotel and Casino
  22. Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas—Deruyter Butler; Atlandia Design
  23. Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York—Heins & La Farge; Ralph Adams Cram
  24. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia—Horace Trumbauer, Zantzinger, Borie, and Medary
  25. Trinity Church, Boston—Henry Hobson Richardson
  26. Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite Valley, Calif.—Gilbert Stanley Underwood
  27. Monticello, Charlottesville, Va.—Thomas Jefferson
  28. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.—John L. Smithmeyer and Paul J. Pelz
  29. Kaufmann Residence (Fallingwater), Bear Run, Pa.—Frank Lloyd Wright
  30. Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisc.—Frank Lloyd Wright
  31. Wrigley Field, Chicago—Zachary Taylor Davis
  32. Wanamaker's Department Store, Philadelphia—Daniel Burnham
  33. Rose Center for Earth and Space, New York—James Stewart Polshek
  34. National Gallery of Art, West Building, Washington, D.C.—John Russell Pope
  35. Allegheny County Courthouse, Pittsburgh—Henry Hobson Richardson
  36. Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park, Wyo.—Robert Reamer
  37. Union Station, Washington, D.C.—Daniel Burnham
  38. Tribune Tower, Chicago—Howells & Hood
  39. Delano Hotel, Miami Beach, Fla.—Robert Swartburg; Philippe Starck (interior)
  40. Union Station, St. Louis—Theodore C. Link
  41. Hearst Residence (Hearst Castle), San Simeon, Calif.—Julia Morgan
  42. Sears Tower, Chicago—Bruce Graham, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
  43. Crane Library, Quincy, Mass.—Henry Hobson Richardson
  44. Woolworth Building, New York—Cass Gilbert
  45. Cincinnati Union Terminal, Cincinnati—Alfred Fellheimer and Stewart Wagner; Paul Philippe Cret, consulting architect
  46. Waldorf Astoria, New York—Schultze & Weaver
  47. New York Public Library, New York—Carrère & Hastings
  48. Carnegie Hall, New York—William B. Tuthill; Richard Morris Hunt and Dankmar Adler, consulting architects
  49. San Francisco City Hall, San Francisco —Arthur Brown Jr.
  50. Virginia State Capitol, Richmond, Va.—Thomas Jefferson
  51. Cadet Chapel, Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.—Walter Netsch, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
  52. Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago—Charles B. Atwood, D.H. Burnham & Co.
  53. Apple Store Fifth Avenue, New York—Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
  54. Fisher Fine Arts Library, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia—Frank Furness
  55. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Kohala Coast, Hawaii—Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
  56. Rockefeller Center, New York—Raymond Hood et al.
    No. 26 Ahwanhee Hotel
    David Sikking No. 26 Ahwanhee Hotel
  57. Denver International Airport, Denver—Fentress Bradburn Architects
  58. Ames Library, North Easton, Mass.—Henry Hobson Richardson
  59. Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee—Santiago Calatrava
  60. Thorncrown Chapel, Eureka Springs, Ark.—E. Fay Jones
  61. TransAmerica Pyramid, San Francisco—William Pereira
  62. 333 Wacker Drive, Chicago—William E. Pedersen, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
  63. National Museum of Air and Space, Washington, D.C.—Gyo Obata, Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum
  64. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston—Benjamin Thompson
  65. Crystal Cathedral, Garden Grove, Calif.—Philip Johnson, Johnson/Burgee
  66. Gamble House, Pasadena, Calif.—Greene and Greene
  67. Nebraska State Capital, Lincoln, Neb.—Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue
  68. New York Times Building, New York—Renzo Piano
  69. Salt Lake City Public Library, Salt Lake City—Moshe Safdie; VCBO Architecture Associates
  70. Dolphin and Swan Hotels, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Fla.—Michael Graves
  71. Hearst Tower, New York—George P. Post & Sons; Foster + Partners (addition)
  72. Flatiron Building (Fuller Building), New York—Daniel Burnham
  73. Lake Point Tower, Chicago—Schipporeit-Heinrich; Graham, Anderson, Probst & White
  74. Guggenheim Museum, New York—Frank Lloyd Wright
  75. Union Station, Los Angeles—John Parkinson and Donald B. Parkinson
  76. Willard Hotel, Washington, D.C.—Henry Janeway Hardenbergh
  77. Sever Hall, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.—Henry Hobson Richardson
  78. Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs, Colo.—Warren & Wetmore
  79. Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, D.C.—Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
  80. Phillips Exeter Academy Library, Exeter, N.H.—Louis I. Kahn
  81. The Plaza Hotel, New York—Henry Janeway Hardenbergh
  82. Sofitel Chicago Water Tower, Chicago—Jean-Paul Viguier
  83. Glessner House, Chicago—Henry Hobson Richardson
  84. Yankee Stadium, New York—Osborn Architects & Engineers
    No. 60 Thorncrown Chapel
    Thorncrown Chapel No. 60 Thorncrown Chapel
  85. Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago—Hammond, Beeby & Babka
  86. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York—Wallace K. Harrison, director, board of architects
  87. The Dakota Apartments, New York—Henry Janeway Hardenbergh
  88. Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago—Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge
  89. Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco—Reid & Reid; Julia Morgan
  90. Boston Public Library, Boston—McKim, Mead & White
  91. Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood—Lloyd Wright; Allied Architects; Frank Gehry; Hodgetts + Fung Design Associates with Gruen Associates
  92. Texas State Capitol, Austin, Texas—Elijah E. Myers
  93. Fontainebleau, Miami Beach, Fla.—Morris Lapidus
  94. Legal Research Building, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.—York & Sawyer; Gunnar Birkerts (addition)
  95. J. Paul Getty Center for the Arts, Los Angeles—Richard Meier
  96. High Museum, Atlanta—Richard Meier
  97. Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, Islip, N.Y.—Richard Meier
  98. Humana Building, Louisville, Ky.—Michael Graves
  99. Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles—Frank Gehry
  100. Radio City Music Hall, New York—Edward Durrell Stone
  101. Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati—NBBJ
  102. United Airlines Terminal, O'Hare, Chicago—Helmut Jahn, Murphy/Jahn
  103. Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Atlanta—John Portman
  104. AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants Stadium), San Francisco—Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum
  105. Time Warner Center, New York—David Childs, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
  106. Washington, D.C., Metro, Washington, D.C.—Harry Weese
  107. IDS Center, Minneapolis—Philip Johnson, Johnson/Burgee
  108. Seattle Public Library, Seattle—Rem Koolhaas, Office for Metropolitan Architecture
  109. Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco—Mario Botta
  110. Union Station, Chicago—Daniel Burnham, Graham, Anderson, Probst & White
  111. United Nations Headquarters, New York—International Committee of Architects, Wallace K. Harrison, chairman; Oscar Niemeyer; Le Corbusier
  112. National Building Museum (Pension Building), Washington, D.C.—Montgomery C. Meigs
  113. Fenway Park, Boston—Osborn Architects & Engineers
  114. Dana-Thomas House, Springfield, Ill.—Frank Lloyd Wright
  115. TWA Terminal, Kennedy Airport, New York—Eero Saarinen
  116. The Athenaeum, New Harmony, Ind.—Richard Meier
  117. Walker Art Center, Minneapolis—Herzog & de Meuron
  118. American Airlines Center, Dallas—David M. Schwarz; Architectural Services; HKS
    No. 115 TWA Terminal No. 115 TWA Terminal
  119. Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa, Phoenix—Albert Chase McArthur
  120. Los Angeles Central Library, Los Angeles—Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue
  121. San Francisco International Terminal, San Francisco—Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Del Campo & Maru Architects; Michael Willis Architects
  122. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore—Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum
  123. Taliesin West, Scottsdale, Ariz.—Frank Lloyd Wright
  124. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.—James Ingo Freed, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
  125. Citicorp Center, New York—Hugh Stubbins & Associates; Emery Roth & Sons
  126. V.C. Morris Gift Shop (Xanadu Gallery), San Francisco—Frank Lloyd Wright
  127. Union Station, Kansas City, Mo.—Jarvis Hunt
  128. Rookery Building, Chicago—Burnham and Root
  129. Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis—Frank Gehry
  130. Douglas House, Harbor Springs, Mich.—Richard Meier
  131. Hollyhock House, Los Angeles—Frank Lloyd Wright
  132. Pennzoil Place, Houston—Philip Johnson, Johnson/Burgee
  133. Royalton Hotel, New York—Philippe Starck
  134. Reliant Astrodome, Houston—Hermon Lloyd and W.B. Morgan; Wilson, Morris, Crain and Anderson
  135. Safeco Field, Seattle—NBBJ
  136. Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, N.Y.—Gunnar Birkerts
  137. 30th Street Station, Philadelphia—Graham, Anderson, Probst & White
  138. Robie House, Chicago—Frank Lloyd Wright
  139. Williams Tower (Transco Tower), Houston—Philip Johnson, Johnson/Burgee
  140. Stahl House (Case Study House #22), Los Angeles—Pierre Koenig
  141. Apple SoHo, New York—Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
  142. John Hancock Towers, Boston—Henry Cobb, Pei Cobb Freed
  143. Pennsylvania Station, New York—McKim, Mead & White
  144. Hyatt Regency San Francisco, San Francisco—John Portman
  145. Carson Pirie Scott, Chicago—Louis Sullivan
  146. Museum of Modern Art, New York—Philip Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone
  147. Auditorium Building, Chicago—Adler & Sullivan
  148. Brown Palace Hotel, Denver—Frank E. Edbrooke
  149. Ingalls Ice Arena, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.—Eero Saarinen
  150. Battle Hall, University of Texas, Austin, Texas—Cass Gilbert