In the age of skyscrapers, the immediate solution to housing is to build up and duplicate single units in the plan. In contrast, the Zafereniah Tower designed by Challenge Studio, project laureate of the recent 2018 Architizer A+ Award, proposed a conceptual endeavor as a prototype for mid-rise, multi-unit housing.
The Tehran-based firm won both the Jury and Popular Choice Awards for their response to the prompt for a design that "champion[s] its potential for a positive impact on everyday life."
This article was originally published on August 15, 2016. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.
Le Corbusier made an indelible mark on Modernist architecture when he declared “une maison est une machine-à-habiter” (“a house is a machine for living”). His belief that architecture should be as efficient as machinery resulted in such proposals such as the Plan Voisin, a proposal to transform the Second Empire boulevards of Paris into a series of cruciform skyscrapers rising from a grid of freeways and open parks. Not all of Le Corbusier’s concepts, however, were geared toward such radical urban transformation. His 1965 proposal for a hospital in Venice, Italy, was notable in its attempt at seeking aesthetic harmony with its unique surroundings: an attempt not to eradicate history, but to translate it.
Soon to become the tallest building in Quito, IQON is Bjarke Ingels Group's first project to be built in South America. Currently undergoing construction, the largely residential building is a curved tower with gradually protruding balconies. Encased between the dense city and the park, the self-dubbed "urban tree farm" aims not only to encompass the surrounding views of the volcanoes and nature beyond but also to integrate the landscape within the building itself.
‘Hololightkeeper,’ a conceptual model that is distinct in its use of holographic technologies, pays homage to an architectural structure that has quickly been transformed into a historic relic. The lighthouse, once a navigational aid to guide sailors towards land and warn traveling ships of dangerous conditions, has been replaced in its function by modern technologies. In this respect, Studio NAB’s ‘Hololightkeeper’ attempts to resurrect a building typology by dematerializing the lighthouse structure-type, while maintaining its historic symbolism.
Punctuated by four towers of varying size, Aedas’ new design for a mixed-use scheme in Zhuhai, China, uses a looping, layered path to connect the individual structures with a ‘three-dimensional, vertical landscape’. Hoping to become the centerpiece of the city, the Hengqin CRCC Plaza uses strategic positioning and form to both maximize economic output and create a strong community core, where generous open space serves the surrounding workspaces.
A beautifully delicate design by ingenhoven architects, in cooperation with architectus, has bested series of internationally acclaimed architects to design Sydney’s tallest residential tower at 505-523 George Street. The 79-storey skyscraper will reach 270m, and include several uses, ranging from high-quality living and retail to hotel and leisure. The designers hope the tower will be “a profoundly visible landmark standing for an economical, environmental and socially sustainable, future-oriented development”.
Hungarian architects Paradigma Ariadné push the concepts of progression and growth to a literal spatial extreme in their proposal for a new sport complex for the MTK Football Academy. Drawing inspiration from the diagram of traditional European peasant houses, the design stretches into a kind of visual infinity, stacking all the rooms in the building along a single horizontal axis.
Chinese cities have been on a stride for decades, and are expected to become the world’s leading economy within the next few years. With all the ongoing architectural developments, nature remained key in most architects’ design developments, honoring the Chinese landscape and integrating it within their projects. The Zhangjiang New District is one of China’s new ongoing developments, housing numerous structures and architectural installations. Architecture firm UM has been selected to design the “City Gate,” a new iconic landmark in the New District, which will act as a transition between the extensive urbanism of Gan Zhou and its surrounding nature.
One of the main purposes of the project was to create an environment that caters to both the residential and commercial needs of the region, making the best of the project’s prominent location. The project, which was inspired by Ximeng Wang’s “Thousand Miles of Mountains and Rivers,” a timeless piece of Chinese art, reconnects the occupants with nature and allows them to experience its offerings with all their senses.
Iotti + Pavarani Architetti have designed a 'New Pisa Stadium' for A.C. Pisa on an existing stadium just 200 meters away from Piazza dei Miracoli (home to the Leaning Tower of Pisa). After winning the first prize in a restricted competition in 2017, the project is currently under feasibility study, awaiting construction development.
AMKNA, the Dubai-based studio, has been shortlisted for the 2018 World Architecture Festival, in recognition of their design proposal of a cultural center in Sedhiou, Senegal. The proposed “Sedhiou Cultural Center” will provide citizens with a rich cultural, social, and educational experience, all while sustaining the surrounding environment and keeping African heritage alive.
New renders have been released of Henning Larsen’s “luxurious hideaway in the Georgian mountains” after construction started on the 25000m², 135 room hotel earlier this year. The new Agobili Hotel is located at the Abastumani spa resort in Georgia, which itself has been a health retreat for both the Tsar family and general public alike. The new building hopes “to create a story about the magnificent place it inhabits.”
Acting both as a “visionary landmark and an urban catalyst,” C.F. Møller Architects’ proposal for a new train station development in Altona, Hamburg, emphasizes the significance of green space within the city’s urban fabric. The project will have several uses, ranging from cafes, restaurants, and shops to offices and fitness centers. Its unique undulating roof landscape “embodies a collective and progressive vision of reinforcing Hamburg’s green credentials.”
It only takes a pen, paper, and an innovative mind to create remarkable structures. Bringing these architectures to life, however, is where challenges arise. While some architects have shown their creativity and ambition by designing and constructing some of the craziest structures the world has ever seen, other architects were only left with an ambitious drawing. Whether due to financial limitations or designs that are way ahead of their time, some projects never saw the light of day.
Although you won’t be visiting these structures anytime soon—or ever, as far as we know—take a virtual tour of what could have been 7 of the world’s most iconic, innovative structures, courtesy of renders produced by Onward, the blog from Onstride Financial.
Lithuanian city Panevezys will have a new cultural hub thanks to the winning design of architecture firm, IMPLMNT. The proposed design of the Stasys Eidrigevicius Arts Centre, which will be built in the northern part of the city center, won the competition due to its function, location, architecture, and the social/economic value it will be adding to the city.
The center will take the place of an existing movie theater, a historic landmark in the Lithuanian city. After performing structural analysis on the existing theater, a study of the conditions indicated that it can no longer be preserved or saved. Keeping in mind the importance of the movie theater to the city, the architects at IMPLMNT decided to draw inspiration from the existing building, as well as use its proportions to create the newly-designed structure.
WXCA Architects’ proposed building has been chosen as the winning design of the Muzeum Książąt Lubomirskich in Wroclaw, Poland. Over 100 designs from all over the world were submitted for the project. However, the winning firm’s proposal provided a homogeneous balance of contemporary design with classical elements, a concept that led to their first-place prize.
Wickside is a £120m “permeable, mixed-use neighborhood” that will provide 475 homes and 300 jobs for the surrounding community. Designed by BUJ Architects and Ash Sakula Architects, the neighborhood has recently received the all-clear from the LLDC planning committee. Almost nine years in the making, the scheme uses “urban blocks set around ordinary London streets” to create a complex, diverse townscape with a variety of uses. The neighborhood is housed within a 28,800 square meter former waste transfer site in Hackney Wick, London. Integrating the context’s existing buildings and cultural heritage, Wickside aims to develop the existing creative community through “retention and regeneration,” and is one of the largest development sites in the area.
Found at the junction of two famous roads, the Shoreditch Hotel reacts with its unique context in a striking, ship-like form that preserves, and creates, public space for the surrounding area. Designed by AQSO Arquitectos, the proposed scheme includes a hotel at its front, while a cinema and various retail outlets are separated by a public atrium at its rear. The mixed-use facility “explores a formal response to the site conditions with an alternative contemporary language," the resultant blending of perspectives creating a gateway to London's creative heart.
The Dubai-based firm, X-Architects, have found inspiration in the cultural and architectural heritage of Islam for their new design. The Revelation Mosque, a +2500 square meter project, aims to create a new "heart of the neighborhood" in Abu Dhabi, UAE. In creating a generous urban void among a towering context, the proposal offers an immersive escape from everyday life, where the public (regardless of religion) can gather, communicate, and interact with one another.