10. The Living Dome at Renzo Piano's California Academy of Sciences
There are many amazing features at Renzo Piano's California Academy of Sciences, but most notable is the living roof. At 197,000 sq. ft., the living roof, which emulates the mountainous terrain of the San Francisco area, is supported by three spherical elements. Beneath this crazy dome are the Academy's planetarium, rainforest, and aquarium exhibits.
The living roof does more than just live—it cools the building, reduces noise by 40 decibels, and helps prevent runoff by absorbing almost all rainwater. Using the BioTray—a biodegradable, porous material that allows plant roots to grow through and take hold in the soil—the living roof fosters more than 40 native California plants like poppies, strawberries, and lupine. It's cool-looking, educational, and amazing for our environment!
These have all been incredible works of architecture, but don't forget the Dome on our favorite show — watch Under The Dome on CBS.
© Tim Griffith/Arcaid/Corbis