Not everyone likes architectural innovation. One of the better-known critics is Prince Charles, who apparently would have preferred that architectural style be frozen upon the death of Queen Victoria. I disagree, and I believe buildings like the Shard and the Gerkhin are good additions to the London skyline.
Alas, most architects in the U.S. play it safe -- because their clients do. There are exceptions like Frank Gehry and (here in the Triangle) Phillip Freelon. Speaking of the Triangle, a Modernist movement remains active here; its history is significant. The new North Carolina Museum of Art and RDU Terminal 2 buildings are good. But despite these exceptions, I find most American architecture to be exceedingly boring.
Traveling overseas, however, gives one the opportunity to see what architects can do in different cultures. I'm very impressed by a joint Swiss-Japanese initiative to use wood for large commercial structures. It's no accident that buildings in Beijing and Tokyo ranked #1-2 in this magazine's list. Taking the bus from Narita Airport into Tokyo is a feast for the eyes.
I wish that it were that way here.