St Paul’s is ‘world’s most beautiful building’, according to science


Using a 4,000 year old mathematical equation, St Paul’s Cathedral has been crowned as the world’s most beautiful building. 

Constructed in the 1700s, the baroque stylings of St Paul’s Cathedral in London came out on top for its aesthetic perfection, with a 72.28% alignment to the golden ratio.

The study, conducted by Roofing Megastore, analysed 100 of the world’s most famous architectural works and compared them against the dimensions of the “golden ratio” to determine how visually appealing each is to the human eye. 

The golden ratio itself has long been used as a barometer of beauty, with many historical artists and architects striving for perfect proportions having used it in their creations. However, more modern works don’t seem to fit into the beauty ideals laid out in the ratio with just six of the top 20 buildings in the results built after the 19th century. 

The rest of the buildings found to stand out for their looks were classical structures such as Osaka Castle in Japan, St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow and Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, the original inspiration behind Sleeping Beauty’s beloved Disney castle. 

To complete the analysis, researchers plotted the most common points found on a building, such as the top and bottom corners, the building’s centre, and equidistant points around the circumference, before comparing the distance between these markers to those laid out by the ratio. 

Just one-quarter of the top 50 buildings were constructed after the 19th century, with the US coming out on top, having the most architectural works scoring a place in the top half of all buildings researched. Six of America’s most iconic landmarks, including NYC’s Empire State and Chrysler Building feature in the top 50, while Germany was just one behind, with five German landmarks scoring highly against the ratio.

Other notable buildings from around the world found to be particularly beautiful in the eyes of science were Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (32nd), the Sydney Opera House (43rd) and Notre Dame in Paris (46th).

Elsewhere, more modern works such as the Shard and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa scored exceptionally low against the equation, again showing that classic styles like Gothic and Roman architecture are victorious when it comes to buildings, their beauty and the rules of the golden ratio. 

St Paul’s Cathedral in London named the most beautiful building ever constructed, followed by Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Hotel & Westminster Abbey
Research uses ‘the golden ratio’, an ancient algebraic equation known to define beauty. It found that classical architecture is more scientifically beautiful than modern works
Two UK buildings make the top 10, alongside iconic landmarks like the Taj Mahal and St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow

Says Roofing Megastore’s Managing Director Gian Carlo-Grossi:

“Whether you’re an architect or not, many people have an opinion on which styles of architecture prevail over others, and it is a debate that continues right down to the styles of home we live in. 

“Being based in the UK, we were thrilled to find out that the official ‘most beautiful building in the world’ is located in London. But beyond St. Paul’s Cathedral itself, it was also evident that traditional buildings win out over much of the modern architecture found in today’s skylines, 

The global mix of buildings in the top 20 also shows just how much beauty can be found in every corner of the world, and we hope the list provides not only inspiration for the architects and designers of the planet, but people planning their travels for when restrictions are lifted!”

To see all the buildings in the study, and how they performed against the golden ratio, visit:  

The Top 20 Most Beautiful Buildings in the World

Building Percentage Alignment to the Golden Ratio Year Built (Completed)
1. St. Paul’s Cathedral (England) 72.28% 1710
2. Marina Bay Sands (Singapore) 70.88% 2010
3. Westminster Abbey (England) 70.50% 1745
4. Osaka Castle (Japan) 70.38% 1583
5. St. Basil’s Cathedral (Russia) 69.10% 1561
6. Casa Mila (Spain) 68.64% 1912
7. Florence Cathedral (Italy) 67.52% 1436
8. Taj Mahal (India) 67.45% 1653
9. Dancing House (Czech Republic) 66.87% 1996
10. Neuschwanstein Castle (Germany) 63.10% 1886
11. Colgone Cathedral (Germany) 61.69% 1880
12. St. Peter’s Basilica (Vatican City) 61.47% 1626
13. St. Louis Cathedral (USA) 58.10% 1850
14. Petra (Jordan) 57.12% Tth Century BC
15. Cathedral of Brasilia (Brazil) 55.79% 1970
16. Faisal Mosque (Pakistan) 55.23% 1986
17. The White House (USA) 53.31% 1800
18. Brandenberg Gate (Germany) 52.56% 1791
19. Great Pyramid of Piza (Egypt) 52.35% 2560 BC
20. Milan Cathedral (Italy) 50.30% 1965



Chris Price
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