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European School in Frankfurt / NKBAK

  • Architects: NKBAK
  • Location: Frankfurt, Germany
  • Area: 3380.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Thomas Mayer

© Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer

Bakkerswinkel / Piet Hein Eek

© Thomas Mayer
© Thomas Mayer
  • Architects: Piet Hein Eek
  • Location: Oostplein 223A, 3063 CE Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Area: 435.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Thomas Mayer

© Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer

Hallenhaus / Observatorium

  • Architects: Observatorium
  • Location: Halde Norddeutschland, 47506 Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Thomas Mayer

© Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer

Haus K / Sonja & Thilo Kurzemann

  • Architects: Sonja & Thilo Kurzemann
  • Location: Lucerne, Switzerland
  • Area: 180.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Thomas Mayer

© Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer

The 14 Stories Behind the 2015 Building of the Year Award Winners

With our annual Building of the Year Awards, over 30,000 readers narrowed down over 3,000 projects, selecting just 14 as the best examples of architecture that ArchDaily has published in the past year. The results have been celebrated and widely shared, of course, usually in the form of images of each project. But what is often forgotten in this flurry of image sharing is that every one of these 14 projects has a backstory of significance which adds to our understanding of their architectural quality.

Some of these projects are intelligent responses to pressing social issues, others are twists on a well-established typology. Others still are simply supreme examples of architectural dexterity. In order that we don't forget the tremendous amount of effort that goes into creating each of these architectural masterpieces, continue reading after the break for the 14 stories that defined this year's Building of the Year Awards.

Energeticon Alsdorf / Heinrich Böll Architekt + Atelier Brückner

© Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer

Esas Aeropark / Tabanlıoğlu Architects

  • Architects: Tabanlıoğlu Architects
  • Location: Yenişehir Mh., Osmanlı Bulvarı No:7, 34912 İstanbul/Istanbul, Turkey
  • Architect In Charge: Murat Tabanlıoğlu & Melkan Gürsel Tabanlıoğlu
  • Design Team: Murat Cengiz, Çağrı Akay, Seray Öztürk, Selçuk Güllü, Gökhan Çatıkkaş, Aybala Öz, Ayşe Sevig, Mine Alsinevi, Kaan Keleş, Melis Selis
  • Area: 55359.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Murat Germen , Thomas Mayer

© Thomas Mayer © Murat Germen © Murat Germen © Murat Germen

Video: Emre Arolat's Sancaklar Mosque From Start to Finish

Earlier this year, Emre Arolat Architects completed their Sancaklar Mosque, "a simple cave like space" in Istanbul which through its humble exterior forms and emphasis on connection to nature, offers a "dramatic and awe inspiring place to pray and be alone with God." Over a period of 24 months, SGMStudio (Sarraf | Galeyan | Mekanik) documented this work, as the elements of the mosque gradually emerged from its steel rebar framework. "While recording the progress of the construction throughout passing seasons, the film aims to portray the building's existence within nature and its percept of space with the sensibility of the structure it purposes to narrate," say SGMStudio. Set to dramatic backing music, "the film dwells on the tension between the technical and engineering-centric implementation and humble and tranquil art of building with its pacing."

The North Rhine-Westphalia Contribution–Floriade 2012 / RMP Stephan Lenzen Landschaftsarchitekten

© Thomas Mayer
© Thomas Mayer
  • Architects: RMP Stephan Lenzen Landschaftsarchitekten
  • Location: Venlo, The Netherlands
  • Architect In Charge: Johannes Czerniejewski, Katharina Thoma, Jean Müller, Joachim Evers
  • Design Team: Architekturbüro Rhunau, jangled nerves gmbh, Schraps & Vogel Garten- und Landschaftsbau GmbH, Grote Bedachungen, Lohmann GmbH, Reko Automatiktüren GmbH
  • Cooperation: Rhunau Architekten
  • Area: 2450.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Thomas Mayer, Courtesy of RMP Stephan Lenzen Landschaftsarchitekten

Courtesy of RMP Stephan Lenzen Landschaftsarchitekten © Thomas Mayer Courtesy of RMP Stephan Lenzen Landschaftsarchitekten Courtesy of RMP Stephan Lenzen Landschaftsarchitekten

World Photo Day: Thomas Mayer by Emre Arolat

In honor of World Photo Day (August 19th) ArchDaily wanted to thank the photographers who bring to life the projects that we publish every day. So we asked architects to weigh in on the work of some of our most-appreciated architecture photographers. Here, Emre Arolat writes on behalf of Thomas Mayer

Zollverein School, Essen, Germany, SANAA 2006. Image © Thomas Mayer Sancaklar Mosque / Emre Arolat Architects. Image © Thomas Mayer Zorlu Center / Emre Arolat Architects + Tabanlıoğlu Architects. Image © Thomas Mayer Sancaklar Mosque / Emre Arolat Architects. Image © Thomas Mayer

A Photographic Journey Through Zollverein: Post-Industrial Landscape Turned Machine-Age Playground

Derelict urban landscapes and abandoned spaces have always attracted adventurous explorers, searching for a peek into the world of a fallen industrial dystopia. That desire can be fulfilled by a visit to the Zollverein complex in Essen, Germany: once Europe’s largest coal mine, Zeche Zollverein was transformed over 25 years into an architectural paradise. Contributions by Rem Koolhaas, Norman Foster and SANAA are included in the 100-hectare park; overwhelming in its complexity, the estate includes rusty pipes, colossal coal ovens and tall chimneys, inviting over 500,000 people per day to gain an insight into the golden age of European heavy-industry.

Join us for a photographic journey through this machine-age playground, after the break…

The Reflective Water Tank at the Coking Factory. Image © Gili Merin The Zollverein School of Management and Design by SANAA. Image © Gili Merin © Gili Merin © Thomas Mayer_Archive

Dutch Architects Transform Rotterdam House Into Terraced "Urban Paradise"

Two Dutch designers, collectively known as HUNK-design, have transformed their 19th century top floor apartment into a "unique city paradise." Architect Bart Cardinaal and artist Nadine Roos, who have lived in parts of the house in central Rotterdam since their student years, have created a large outdoor terraced space amid the rooflines of a built up area. By demolishing the existing pitched roof, they have constructed what they describe as their "Cabrio apartment."

© Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer

Light Matters: Creating Walls of Light

Modernism induced a shift in lighting away from luminaires and towards invisible light sources that render spaces in a purer (forgive the pun) light. For the first time, lit walls were used to define rooms and to structure architecture. Today I’d like to explore early prototypes - including Philip Johnson’s Brick House and the Seagram Building - and discuss how their lighting techniques continue to influence architecture today. 

Grazing light at Sancaklar Mosque, Istanbul. Architects: Emre Arolat Architects. Image © Thomas Mayer Wallwashing at British Museum, London. Architecture: Foster & Partners. Lighting design: Claude Engle, Chevy Chase, Maryland. Photo: Dennis Gilbert / View. Image © ERCO, www.erco.com Wallwashing at Nordrhein-Westfalen House, Germany. Architeture: John Pawson. Photo: Werner Huthmacher. Image © ERCO, www.erco.com Cove lighting at private spa. Designer: Carmody Groarke. Lighting design: Lighting Design International. Image © Christian Richter

Sancaklar Mosque / Emre Arolat Architects

© Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer

Zorlu Center / Emre Arolat Architects + Tabanlıoğlu Architects

© Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer