Winners of the 2016 Building of the Year Awards

10:20 - 9 February, 2016

After two weeks of nominations and voting, we are pleased to present the winners of the 2016 ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards. As a peer-based, crowdsourced architecture award, the results shown here represent the collective intelligence of 55,000 voters, filtering the best architecture from over 3,000 projects featured on ArchDaily during the past year.

As is so often the case with the Building of the Year award, the list of winners represents great diversity. It features two Pritzker Prize winners, Renzo Piano and Herzog & de Meuron (the first practice to ever receive two Building of the Year awards in the same year), but also small, young practices such as Tim Greatrex and Elisabete de Oliveira Saldanha. The buildings which garnered these prizes also range in effect: from the tremendous poise demonstrated by projects such as NAP Architects' Ribbon Chapel and MAD's Harbin Opera House to the rustic charms of Terra e Tuma Arquitetos' Vila Matilde House or Sharon Davis Design's Partners In Health Dormitory.

By publishing them on ArchDaily, these exemplary buildings have helped us to impart inspiration and knowledge to architects around the world, furthering our mission. So to everyone who participated by either nominating or voting for a shortlisted project, thank you for being a part of this amazing process, where the voices of architects from all over the world unite to form one strong, intelligent, forward-thinking message.

And of course, congratulations to all the winners!

Developer Pulls Planning on Renzo Piano's Controversial Paddington Tower

12:00 - 1 February, 2016
Rendering of the scrapped Paddington tower. Image © RPBW
Rendering of the scrapped Paddington tower. Image © RPBW

Protestors have prompted developer Sellar Property Group to pull plans on the Renzo Piano-designed skyscraper sited in London's Paddington area. The 72-story "skinny Shard" has been harshly criticized by locals and Historic England for "blighting views" of the capital and being out-of-place, hence its popular nickname - the "Paddington Pole."

“London’s skyline is unique, iconic and loved. It has to be managed sensitively and with proper planning,” Historic England chief executive Duncan Wilson told The Guardian. “Tall buildings can be exciting and useful, but if they are poorly designed, or in the wrong place, they can really harm our cities. We trust that the revised plans for Paddington Place will take the area’s unique character into account.”

Adjaye Among 7 Asked to Submit Proposals for Barack Obama Presidential Center

12:00 - 21 December, 2015
© OPLSouthSide.org
© OPLSouthSide.org

Confirming the speculation, Adjaye Associates has been asked alongside six others to submit design proposals for the Barack Obama Presidential Center planned for Chicago's South Side. Diller Scofidio + Renfro, John Ronan Architects, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, SHoP Architects, Snøhetta and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects complete the list; all are expected to provide designs for both considered sites - Jackson Park and Washington Park. 

“These finalists offer a variety of backgrounds and styles, and any one of them would be an excellent choice,” Obama Foundation chairman Martin Nesbitt, according to CBS Chicago. “We are excited to see this process moving forward because the Obama Presidential Center will be so much more than a library – this facility will seek to inspire citizens across the globe to better their communities, their countries, and their world.”

Renzo Piano Defends London's Skyscraper Boom

12:00 - 27 October, 2015
© Michel Denance
© Michel Denance

"Cities face a choice of building up or building out," says Renzo Piano, according to a recent article on the Daily Mail. Responding to backlash led by the Skyline Campaign, a campaign spearheaded by architect Barbara Weiss that "aims to stop the devastation of London by badly designed and poorly placed tall buildings," Piano is defending London's controversial skyscraper boom by saying it's giving the one thing the city needs most: "space on the ground."

Renzo Piano Designs New Skyscraper for London

12:43 - 21 October, 2015
© RPBW
© RPBW

Plans have been unveiled for a "skinny Shard" in London's Paddington area. Designed by Renzo Piano, the 65-story skyscraper is the focus of a £1 billion plan aimed at revitalizing the "soulless" district.

"At the moment you only go to Paddington for two reasons - to catch a train or to see someone in hospital. It is soulless and has no life and yet it is only five minutes from Hyde Park and seven or eight minutes from Marble Arch," Sellar Property Group chairman Irvine Sellar told Evening Standard. "It is a fantastic location but it is stuck in a Fifties time-warp. We intend to create a place for people to go, where they will want to live, work, eat and shop."

Renzo Piano to Convert Moscow Power Station into an Arts and Culture Center

12:00 - 15 October, 2015
Rendering View of the Building from the Birch Forest, RPBW, 2015. Image Courtesy of V-A-C Foundation
Rendering View of the Building from the Birch Forest, RPBW, 2015. Image Courtesy of V-A-C Foundation

The V-A-C Foundation has selected Renzo Piano Building Workshop to re-develop a two-hectare area in Moscow, converting a former power station into a center for contemporary arts and culture. Located on the Moskva river in the city’s Red October district, the GES2 power station was built in the early 1900s and once supplied energy to the city. The project envisions the recuperation of the power station’s original form as well as the reconfiguration of the entire site into a 150 meter by 150 meter square. 

Renzo Piano to Break Ground on Des Moines’ Kum & Go Headquarters

16:00 - 24 September, 2015
© RPBW
© RPBW

Construction is set to commence next week on the Renzo Piano Building Workshop-designed Kum & Go Headquarters planned for downtown Des Moines, Iowa. Dubbed the "Krause Gateway Center," the five-story urban headquarters will be seen as a "natural extension" to the neighboring sculpture park that features a "flexible" work environment that can accommodate Kum & Go's future growth.

“Lightness, simplicity and openness are the main concepts expressed in the design,” says Renzo Piano. “The four vast planes flying over the site will emphasize the lightness and the transparency of the building, and will dialogue with the sculpture park nearby.”

Chicago Tribune Says 11 "High Caliber" Architects Asked to Submit Qualifications for Obama Library

14:15 - 23 September, 2015
The University of Chicago's two proposed sites. Image © OPLSouthSide.org
The University of Chicago's two proposed sites. Image © OPLSouthSide.org

Update: The Chicago Tribune's architecture critic Blair Kamin has now reported that 140 architects from 60 cities have expressed their interest in designing the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago by submitting qualifications. Of these, 99 are based in the United States, although names have not been released. The below article, originally published on September 1st, lists 11 architects that Kamin was able to confirm had been invited to submit qualifications by the Barack Obama Foundation.

Last week, it was reported that the Barack Obama Foundation was searching globally for an architect to design Obama's Presidential Library and Museum (officially known as the Barack Obama Presidential Center). With the list of invited candidates for Obama's Presidential Center still a closely-guarded secret, though, the Chicago Tribune's architecture critic Blair Kamin has turned investigator, uncovering a list of 11 firms among the "fifty or more" which are believed to have been invited. Kamin states that the 11 firms he has confirmed to be in the running are "A) Of high caliber; B) Represent a broad geographic and aesthetic spectrum; and C) Include the established firms one would expect to be invited."

Spotlight: Renzo Piano

08:00 - 14 September, 2015
The Whitney Museum. Image © Nic Lehoux
The Whitney Museum. Image © Nic Lehoux

“Architecture is art, but art vastly contaminated by many other things. Contaminated in the best sense of the word – fed, fertilized by many things.” - Renzo Piano

Italian architect Renzo Piano (born 14 September 1937) is known for his delicate and refined approach to building, deployed in museums and other buildings around the world. Awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1998, the Pritzker Jury compared him to Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Brunelleschi, explaining that "his intellectual curiosity and problem-solving techniques as broad and far ranging as those earlier masters of his native land."

Search Ends for Solution to Museum Tower's Glare Problems at Nasher Sculpture Center

14:00 - 3 September, 2015
Photograph from 2012 showing the glare from the Museum Tower
Photograph from 2012 showing the glare from the Museum Tower

Back in 2012, a dispute arose between the Renzo Piano-designed Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas and the adjacent Museum Tower, a 42-story residential building which was accused of reflecting so much glare through the museum's glass roof that it risked damaging the art inside, and made the museum's garden areas so warm they were unusable. Last week, that 3-year long dispute appears to have been brought to a close - with nothing happening, as the owners of the Museum Tower, the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System (DPFP), voted nearly unanimously that it is no longer their responsibility to find a solution.

Exhibition: Renzo Piano Building Workshop. The Piano Method

18:00 - 20 July, 2015
The Whitney Museum of American Art © Ed Lederman
The Whitney Museum of American Art © Ed Lederman

From November 11th, 2015, to February 29th, 2016, the Cité de l’architecture & du patrimoine in Paris (FR) presents Renzo Piano Building Workshop. The Piano Method, an exhibition dedicated to the work of the Italian architect Renzo Piano.

The exhibition intends to reflect the collective approach of the architectural firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop, by showing the collaborative and experimental dimension of its projects, in term of technical innovation and design solutions on the urban scale. Exploiting the potential of different materials by pushing the limits of construction techniques is the idea.

Video: Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

06:00 - 16 July, 2015


PA#47 - Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, Paris 13 por Pavillon-Arsenal

Our friends at the Pavillion de l'Arsenal have shared a collection of videos from their"Paris Architectures" series. Dive into these short films that document remarkable architecture around France's capital city. 

This week we get a glimpse of Renzo Piano Building Workshop's Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé.

Renzo Piano on the Whitney Museum and the Value of Public Space

09:30 - 9 June, 2015
© Nic Lehoux
© Nic Lehoux

Throughout his career, Renzo Piano has designed dozens of museum buildings becoming the most prolific museum designer of our time. Yet, it has been some time since one of his designs has been as widely discussed and analyzed as his latest, the Whitney Museum in New York. In this interview, originally published on The Value of Architecture as "A House for Freedom: an Interview with Renzo Piano," David Plick speaks with Piano about the many inspirations of the Whitney Museum, from the previous Whitney Museum by Marcel Breuer to the neighboring High Line, the city on one side and the river on the other.

Renzo Piano is the great champion of public space. Whether the visitors and citizens of the city are aware of it or not, he improves their quality of life by sharing with them a living space designed specifically for the cultivation and dispersion of ideas and the enrichment of civic life. He’s the architect who cares about the individual’s experience of a building, who cares about how people interact with the space, and how the space then interacts with the world. At the Whitney Museum of American Art, much like the Centre Pompidou, or Beaubourg as he would say, he showed this by including a large area in front—a “piazza” he calls it—for people to meet, congregate, chat, and even loiter. He’s somehow simultaneously innovative and selfless. And because of this, he can masterfully fuse form and function, creating beauty for himself because he loves it and thinks it will save people, yet it all means nothing to him if he can’t share in this emotion with others.

The Relationship between the Whitney Museum and the Southern End of the High Line. Image © Nic Lehoux © Nic Lehoux © Nic Lehoux © Nic Lehoux +9

Video: Renzo Piano Reveals the Story Behind the Whitney Museum on Charlie Rose

12:30 - 4 June, 2015

Said to be the most long-awaited museum of the 21st century, the new Whitney Museum of American Art by Renzo Piano officially opened its doors in New York this May after a 30 year endeavor to expand its capacity. An unusual scenario, Charlie Rose sat down with Piano and the museum's director Adam Weinberg to discuss the "remarkable story" behind the expansion and how its design incorporates, what Piano believes to be, seven elements that represent the essence of architecture: social life, urbanity, invention, construction, technology, poetry and light.

We've provided a clip of the talk above. Watch the full 30-minute discussion, after the break. 

Olafur Eliasson To Bring LEGO Installation "The Collectivity Project" To The High Line

16:00 - 25 May, 2015
The Collectivity Project on view at the 3rd Tirana Biennale, Albania, in 2005. Photo © Olafur Eliasson. Courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York. Image via art.thehighline.org
The Collectivity Project on view at the 3rd Tirana Biennale, Albania, in 2005. Photo © Olafur Eliasson. Courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York. Image via art.thehighline.org

As part of their series of "Panorama" exhibits being presented this year, Friends Of The High Line have announced that they will host Olafur Eliasson's installation, "The Collectivity Project" from May 29th until September 30th this year on the High Line at West 30th Street. The installation, which has previously traveled to Tirana, Oslo, and Copenhagen, features an interactive imaginary cityscape made of over two tons of white LEGO bricks, with visitors invited to design, build and rebuild new structures as they see fit.

In a twist to the installation's usual presentation, High Line Art has invited high-profile architects who are working in the vicinity of the High Line to contribute one "visionary" LEGO design for the installation's opening, with BIG, David M. Schwarz Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, James Corner Field Operations, OMA New York, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Selldorf Architects, SHoP, and Steven Holl Architects all contributing one building which the public will then be able to adapt, extend or work around.

Seeming Inevitability: Reconsidering Renzo Piano’s Addition To Louis Kahn’s Kimbell

09:30 - 25 May, 2015
South view. Image © Robert LaPrelle
South view. Image © Robert LaPrelle

When Renzo Piano’s addition to the Kimbell opened in late 2013, critical responses ranged from “both architects at the top of their games” (Witold Rybczynski) to “generous to a fault” (Mark Lamster) to “distant defacement” (Thomas de Monchaux). In this excerpt from a special issue of Cite: The Architecture + Design Review of Houston, Ronnie Self gives a deeply considered assessment of the two buildings after a full turn of the seasons. The special issue also includes a review by Christopher Hawthorne of Johnston Marklee's plans for the Menil Drawing Institute, a review by David Heymann of Steven Holl’s expansion of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and an essay by Walter Hood and Carmen Taylor about Project Row Houses. Also featured are interviews of the directors of all four museums and their architects (Piano, Holl, Johnston Marklee, David Chipperfield, and Rice Building Workshop), making for a very comprehensive issue.

Piano’s main task was to respond appropriately to Kahn’s building which he achieved through alignments in plan and elevation and by dividing his project into two major bodies: a concrete walled, glass roofed pavilion facing Kahn and a separate, sod-roofed structure behind that should integrate a significant portion of the project with the landscape and thereby lessen its overall impact. Still, the loss of the open lawn that existed in front of the Kimbell where Piano’s building now stands is regrettable. Kahn’s Kimbell was conceived as a large house or a villa in a park, and unlike much of the abundant open and green space in the Fort Worth Cultural District, that park was actually used. Piano’s new outdoor space is more like a courtyard – more contained and more formal. It is more urban in its design, yet less public in its use.

Aside from lamenting the loss of the open lawn, how might we judge the addition?

View of the double staircase leading to the lower level. Image © Robert Polidori View from the southwest. Image © Robert LaPrelle Lobby view, looking south. Image © Nic Lehoux Detail of roof and beam system. Image © Robert LaPrelle +33

Renzo Piano Designs New Handbag Inspired by the Whitney Museum

13:30 - 12 May, 2015
© Max Mara
© Max Mara

Renzo Piano has designed a limited-edition handbag for the Italian fashion brand Max Mara to match his newly completed Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. The leather, top-handle bag, inspired by the "pure design and sophisticated materials" of the Whitney, features distinct ribbing inspired by the museum's facade.

"Our aim was to apply one of the most characteristic elements of the museum project - the facade - to the bag: hence the idea of the modular strips enveloping the exterior," said Piano in an interview with Max Mara. "We tried to maintain a simple, pure design, working only on the details by applying a creative use of technology and placing the accent on respect for the materials."

Renzo Piano's First US Residential Tower to Rise in New York

15:19 - 8 May, 2015
Renzo Piano's recently completed Whitney Museum in New York City. Image © Paul Clemence
Renzo Piano's recently completed Whitney Museum in New York City. Image © Paul Clemence

According to the New York Post, Renzo Piano has been commissioned by Michael Shvo and Bizzi & Partners to design his first US residential tower. Planned to rise in the southern Manhattan district of Soho at 100 Varick Street, the Piano-designed tower will include up to 280,000 square-feet of housing and reach nearly 300 feet. Featured amenities include a "gated private driveway" and "automated parking." Stay tuned for more details.