This week's curated selection of Best Unbuilt Architecture highlights conceptual works, competition entries and projects in different stages of development submitted by the ArchDaily community. From a village made of 3D-printed cacao waste for a chocolate manufacturer in Ecuador, the transformation of a shopping centre in Ontario into a sustainable and walkable neighbourhood, to the refurbishment and redevelopment of Brutalist estates in London, the following projects illustrate a wide array of design approaches shaping the built environment.
This week's selection of unbuilt projects highlights worldwide interventions addressing a range of highly-relevant topics, such as circular construction, the adoption of sustainable materials, biodiversity, urban redevelopment of obsolete infrastructure or adaptive reuse and the reconsideration of the existing building stock.
Read on to discover 10 selected projects with their respective descriptions from the architects.
SAWA, the healthiest building in the Netherlands, sets a new standard in circular construction with a 50-meter-high modular construction system, built entirely in CLT. The building is distinguished by generous green terraces, enhancing the neighbourhood's biodiversity. SAWA comprises 109 homes, 50 of which are mid-rent. The housing concept is enriched by various solutions for shared use. SAWA will be exemplary for new generations, an important step in the sustainability goals and demonstrable evidence that things can be done differently.
The CANTON House
Located north of Bucharest in the Carpathian Mountains is The CANTON House, a boutique mountain retreat for the southeastern region of Romania. Marc Thorpe Design was commissioned to design an off-grid cabin experience for the hotel's offering. The cabin design is influenced by the Romanian vernacular of fully shingled wooden construction found predominantly in the rural towers and spires of religious architecture. The cabins offer a perspective on living in harmony with nature and a humble vision of the future, suggesting less is responsible.
London is blessed to have a conglomeration of experimental post-war high-rise social housing, but they face threats of demolishing due to poor serviceability, safety, and community management. Instead of restocking housing by demolishing the current, existing estates should serve as a scaffold to building new communities vertically. Central to the rebuilding is the flexible common space inserted between new and existing buildings. This space aims at recalibrating the social programs relevant for revitalizing the shared community. We call this the 'common-sky' typology.
New Mosque Preston
For the new Preston mosque, we have adopted a "land art" approach unifying landscape and architecture to create a powerful and iconic gesture that culminates in the mosque, a contemporary landmark that abstractly distils the essence of Islamic religious spaces. The project is conceived as a dome-shaped steel lattice structure and shell that covers the various programmatic spaces of the mosque and embraces the exterior, lush gardens surrounding the prayer hall.
The Self Nurturing City
Marziah Zad, Raha Ashrafi, Honorata Grzesikowska, Mateus Sartori
We believe that nurturing development rooted in principles of care for the environment and each other, sharing of available resources and amenities, and self-sustaining life through closed consumption loops will prove central in the years ahead. The Self-Nurturing City proposal will rely on renewable energy and renewable and recycled construction materials with a low carbon footprint. The design offers closed consumption loops to promote resilient, local production and a circular economy that is considerate of the impact of industrial-grade agriculture and non-native crop production. In designing for a time of uncertainty, we also find the fundamental laws of a livable future: Care, Share, and Self Sustain.
Shoppers World Brampton
SvN and BDP Quadrangle
Inspired by the green spaces and waterways that historically defined Brampton's identity, SvN Architects + Planners (SvN) and BDP Quadrangle are working collaboratively to transform Shoppers World Brampton, an expansive 53-acre parking lot and shopping centre site, into a living city. The vision for the master plan begins with a resilient landscape design that lifts away the asphalt and reconnects the land with Brampton's surrounding creeks and rivers. A mix of high-density and low-density buildings will house over 4,500 new residential units, approximately 860,000 sq. ft. of retail and commercial space, alongside expanded and revitalized community spaces.
Neighbouring renowned architect Eric Mendelsohn's 1953 building (the original R&D facility that started Silicon Valley), Form4 Architecture have designed Verdant Sanctuary in Palo Alto's Stanford Research Park, combining carbon reduction with joy in how buildings are experienced. The two-storey office building – its dramatic roof echoing bird's wings – opens up to nature, creating a comfortable and healthy workplace that fosters creativity. Passive sustainability strategies, PV panels, and mass timber contribute to its carbon savings. Biodiversity and intimate connections with nature come from the generously xeriscaped plantings and generous roof garden.
Envisioning Tomorrow's Israel
The Southern desert region of Israel called The Negev is today a blossoming technological and vibrant educational destination with ancient Jewish roots. The proposed project located in Be'er Sheva, Israel, aims to design a Village where the next generation can be connected to their past while innovating the future. Focusing on sustainable and renewable energy, each component is inspired by ancient elements and customs, and is derived from the site's native materials.
The Cacao Ecovillage
Valentino Gareri Atelier has designed the first of a global network of sustainable and smart villages, a carbon-neutral destination and innovation centre for a circular economy in the cacao industry. The Cacao Ecovillage will be built in Pedernales, a county in the coastal province of Manabi, Ecuador, where the cacao farmers and families work and live. All the buildings are made of local and natural materials. The facades draw inspiration from the wide range of multi-coloured Ecuadorian houses and from the cacao trees colourful fruits. The form of the buildings facilitates the rainwater collection: the water tanks are integrated into the roofs, whose shape draws inspiration from the local Ecuadorian art patterns.
Česká Spořitelna Headquarters
Pavel Hnilička Architects+Planners and Baumschlager Eberle Architekten
A brownfield transformation plan in Smichov reflects the urban fabric and the block structure of this Prague district. The building volumes are arranged in a way that affirms the role of the main boulevard as a frequented public space, but on the side facing Vltava River enables their dissipation into smaller shapes and the existence of a softer, more natural gradient. The new bank headquarters campus will include not only offices but also commercial space and landscape interventions.
HOW TO SUBMIT AN UNBUILT PROJECT
We highly appreciate the input from our readers and are always happy to see more projects designed by them. If you have an Unbuilt project to submit, click here and follow the guidelines. Our curators will review your submission and get back to you in case it is selected for a feature.