- Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg – Germany: Although it was completed at the very end of 2016, this building makes our list because it only opened in January 2017 – and because it is simply one of the most extraordinary pieces of architecture in our time. A concert hall like no other, this 789 million Euro building features an astonishing undulating wall of 600 glass panes floating over a refurbished cocoa warehouse that features the striking Brick Expressionism that is part of Hamburg’s history. Designed by Fritz Hoger, this sculptural building is all about the details – from hand-blown glass lamps to the individual and changing views built into the flow of the building.
- Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town – South Africa: Designed by Tomas Heatherwick, this building houses a massive collection of African art in almost 65 thousand square feet, spread over 7 stories – all inside former 1920s grain silos in the country’s iconic waterfront. With soaring spaces and views towards Robben Island, this building is about inspiring visitors with a distinctly South African focus.
- Tianjin Binhai Library, Tianjin – China: This building pushes what we understand as a library to the limit – and beyond. Designed by MVRDV, this all-white space containing 1.2 million books is a sweeping cathedral to literature. With wave-like shelves stretching the full height of the 5-story space. From the outside, however, this building creates its most iconic look – that of a three-dimensional eye.
- BBVA Bancomer Tower, Mexico City – Mexico: Designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, LEGORRETA, this 50-story office tower focused on building a sense of community between staff. This is achieved through a triple-height lobby that connects administration levels with the executive level, a sky lobby that overlooks the city and park, and the integration of facilities used for exhibitions and public events. With an innovative external frame, the building is positioned to make the most of incredible views, and sky gardens bring this view right into the building itself.
- Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles – USA: New energy is injected into this museum through a revitalized exterior consisting of bright metal ribbons that mimic that speed and organic curves of a sports car. This is set over an innovative arrangement of LED lighting systems that bring the museum to life at night, creating a vibrant sculpture that captures the visceral energy of what lies within its doors.
Architecture – Creating Spaces That Function, Push Boundaries, and Inspire
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