It has been a phenomenal year in the world of architecture, with architects and engineers pushing the boundaries of innovation and design.
Moscow's Mercury Tower recently usurped the title of the tallest building in Europe from London's Shard and New York City's Freedom Tower is on its way to becoming the tallest building in America. In Singapore, the Cooled Conservatories at Gardens by the Bay are becoming a model green space for cities all over the world, while Miami's Marlins Park is re-imagining the role of a sports stadium.
We have examined buildings—from towers to arenas to airports and more—from all over the world that have undergone construction in the past year and have come up with a list of the coolest new buildings this year. We took into account innovation, creativity, structure, sustainability and buzz and we asked architects, engineers, designers, critics, and academics to weigh in.
Our choices include a building with a dynamic facade that opens and closes in response to the movement of the sun, a pair of curvaceous towers that have been nicknamed "Marilyn Monroe," the world's largest greenhouse conservatory, and the world's very first commercial spaceport. We've also included the most talked-about and controversial additions to city skylines—from London's Shard to Brooklyn's Barclays Center.
Unsurprisingly, sustainability showed up in nearly every design, with architects finding creative ways to weave environmentally-friendly measures into the designs, from a building that collects and filters rainwater to plenty of solar-paneling.
They're listed here in alphabetical order.
Absolute World Towers
Location: Mississauga, Canada
Located in a Toronto Suburb, the Absolute Towers are nicknamed "Marilyn Monroe" for their sexy, curvaceous figures. The residential towers were named the best tall buildings in America by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).
"The Absolute World towers develop a simple, yet seductive strategy to bring figuration to a tower, what is conventionally the result of mass production." —Nader Tehrani, Professor and Head of the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Al Bahar Towers
Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Architect: Aedas Architects Ltd.
The Al Bahar Towers were named the most innovative tall building in the world by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).The 29-story office building has a dynamic facade which opens and closes in response to the movement of the sun. The façade design also works with the local culture, evoking a wooden lattice screen traditionally found in Islamic architecture.
"The dynamic façade on Al Bahar, computer-controlled to respond to optimal solar and light conditions, has never been achieved on this scale before," architect Chris Wilkinson said in a CTBUH statement. "In addition, the expression of this outer skin seems to firmly root the building in its cultural context.”
Al Hamra Tower
Location: Kuwait City, Kuwait
Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
At 412-meters (1,352-feet) high, Al Hamra Tower is the tallest building in Kuwait, offering great views of the Arabian Gulf from the top. The building is used for retail and office spaces.
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