Stained glass has enhanced buildings since the Middle Ages and continues to captivate architects and design lovers today. Used as windows or ceilings, the works, which are constructed of colored glass pieces connected and outlined by strips of lead, are frequently found in religious buildings. Discover the 10 of the world’s most breathtaking stained-glass windows with Design Limited Edition!
From a Gothic chapel in Paris to a hotel in Mexico City, take a look at some of the most beautiful stained-glass windows in the world and see how architects such as Antoni Gaudí, Philip Johnson and Oscar Niemeyer, have used the art form in some of their most iconic designs.
Cathedral of Brasília, Brazil
The Oscar Niemeyer – designed cathedral’s distinctive stained glass was created by artist Marianne Peretti in 1990. The 22,000- square-foot work features waves of blue, green, white, and brown glass.
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Aachen Cathedral, Germany
Construction of the UNESCO World Heritage Site began in 796 under Emperor Charlemagne and was expanded during the Middle Ages. The gothic sanctuary is lined with nearly 84-foot-tall stained-glass windows, designed by Walther Benner and Anton Wendling after the original glazing was destroyed during World War II.
Joseph’s Church, Le Havre, France
The Neo-Gothic church was built in the 1950s in the French port city as a tribute to the 5,000 citizens who died during World War II, when the town was nearly completely destroyed. Architect Auguste Perret was instrumental in the plan to rebuild the city and designed the church, which features a 350-foot spire-lined with stained glass.
Commissioned in the 13th century by King Louis IX, this Gothic chapel is nestled on the Ile de la Cité and boasts 15 stained-glass panels in its nave and apse that depict more than a thousand biblical figures. The panels recently underwent a seven-year, $10 million restoration, during which the windows were removed and cleaned with lasers.
Thanks-Giving Square, Dallas
In 1977 Philip Johnson designed a delicately spiraling white chapel to anchor a tranquil three-acre oasis in the heart of downtown Dallas. The ornate structure is crowned by the Glory Window, which comprises 73 stained-glass panels crafted by French artist Gabriel Loire.
Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago
The Louis Comfort Tiffany dome at the Chicago Cultural Center measures 38 feet in diameter, making it one of the largest stained-glass domes in the world. Held together by an ornate cast-iron frame that features some 30,000 pieces of glass shaped like fish scales, the dome was finished in 1897, the same year the building opened as the city’s first public library. The dome underwent a meticulous restoration in 2008 and is now lighted electrically.
Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, Shiraz, Iran
Finished at the end of the 19th century, this Technicolor mosque in southern Iran dazzles with intricate stained-glass windows, richly colored tiles, carved pillars, and woven rugs. Due to its strategic positioning, early-morning light produces a kaleidoscopic effect within the structure, which has survived numerous earthquakes thanks to the flexible wood struts within its walls.
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King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, England
In 1446 King Henry VI laid the foundation stone of this monumental English Gothic chapel, which features the largest fan vault in the world. The 26 stained-glass panels were installed more than a century later under the authority of King Henry VIII, who used them to reinforce his position as Supreme Head of the English Church after breaking with Rome.
La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Perhaps the most iconic work of architect Antoni Gaudí, this Catalan Modernisme cathedral that dominates the Barcelona skyline contains a stunning rainbow of abstract stained-glass windows. Although work began on the structure in 1882, Gaudí never saw the windows installed but left several directives as to his wishes for them. Still incomplete, the building is now helmed by architect Jordi Faulí, who recently announced that the final stage of construction is on track to be complete in 2026, exactly a century after Gaudí’s death.
Gran Hotel Ciudad de México, Mexico City
This 1899 upmarket department store with a soaring Tiffany-stained-glass ceiling in the lobby was transformed into a luxury hotel in anticipation of the 1968 Olympic Games. The ceiling, which evokes the country’s Mesoamerican heritage with a lively palette of turquoise and gold, was designed by French artisan Jacques Gruber and also features a Louis XV–style chandelier.
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