As editors on the Projects Team at ArchDaily, we wanted to reflect on the projects published in 2016—and, based on those submissions, to consider what we hope to see from the submissions we will publish in 2017.
During 2016, the projects we published had a high level of visual impact. Axonometric views were part of the vast majority of our publications, democratizing understanding by creating easily accessible views which closely resemble reality. Secondly, the development of immersive video technology has allowed us to publish full 360-degree tours through the interiors of works of different sizes, generating images which are increasingly representative of the physical reality of the work in question.
As the common phrase attests, “history is written by the victors.” We therefore know that the story of the West is that of Europe and the United States, while the other actors in world history are minimized or invisible: it happened to the Chinese and Japanese during World War II, to the Ottoman Empire in sixteenth-century Europe, and to racial majorities in the common reading of Latin American independence. The same thing happens in architecture.
The current boom of the Global South is based not only on new work, but rather on the recognition of an invisible architecture which was apparently not worthy of publication in the journals of the 1990s. The world stage has changed, with the emergence of a humanity that is decentralized yet local; globalized, yet heterogeneous; accelerated, yet unbalanced. There are no longer red and blue countries, but a wide variety of colors, exploding like a Pollock painting.
This serves as a preamble to consider the outstanding projects of 2016 according to the British critic Oliver Wainwright, whose map of the world appears to extend from New York in the West to Oslo in the East, with the exception of Birzeit in Palestine. The Global South represents more than 40% of the global economy and already includes most of the world’s megacities, yet has no architecture worthy of recognition? We wanted to highlight the following projects in order to expand the western-centric world view, enabling us to truly comprehend the extent of architectural innovation on a global scale.