The world’s top architects fill us in on their most anticipated 2019 projects
By James Tarmy / BLOOMBERG
Even as the global economy shows signs of slowing down, ambitious construction projects continue apace.
Scaffolding is going up (and coming down) on new museums, residential skyscrapers, schools and office towers around the world. How to separate the good from the great? All of the following will be completed this year, but that’s where the similarities end. Check them out below.
The Shed in New York, by Diller Scofidio + Renfro
This eight-level building in the heart of the Hudson Yards comes with high expectations. It will contain a theatre, rehearsal space, event space and two floors of galleries. The real hook is that the building has a telescoping outer shell that glides along massive rails to cover the outdoor plaza next door.
Why It’s Exciting: “The building is about creating art for the future,” says Elizabeth Diller. “There will be experimental art across disciplines, which we can’t predict, so the central focus of the design is to make a flexible machine for creating cultural projects.” Many multi-use structures, she says, “default to neutrality, but this building asserts itself architecturally”. It’s a vessel for art, in other words, “but it’s a formidable player that artists and curators will interact with”.
The Finance Centre Tower in Manila, by Gensler
This will be mega-firm Gensler’s third skyscraper (with four planned in total) in the Fort Bonifacio Global City area, the Philippines. With 1.3 million sq ft (120,774 sq m) the mixed-use tower contains retail floors, amenity areas, office space and executive suites spread across 44 storeys.
Why It’s Exciting: “The Finance Centre creates another touchpoint within the concept of a polycentric city like Manila,” says Sasha Zeljic, a principal and regional practice area leader at Gensler. “It underscores the idea that well-planned, modern megacities are engines of economic growth and are an important factor in creating resilient and sustainable regions and countries.”
111 W 57th St in New York, by SHoP Architects
More than 1,400ft (426.7m) high, this slender residential tower overlooking Central Park has just 60 units. Designed by SHoP, the building has waves of terracotta blocks on its east and west facades. (Views of Central Park are unobstructed, thanks to its massive glasscurtain wall.) In total, the building has approximately 400,000 sq ft.
Why It’s Exciting: “Our clients said, ‘Look, this is going to be an unusual building: It’s going to be the most slender, super-tall tower in the world. How will you approach it?’” says Gregg Pasquarelli, the firm’s co-founder. “What we set out to do was build an incredibly modern, forwardlooking building, but one that’s clearly taken from the DNA of New York City.” The building’s tiny footprint, he says, “is really a kind of engineering marvel, and has required incredible skill to build. I think a lot of people thought it would never get built, and get built with the quality it’s come out with. It’s really one of the city’s most spectacular buildings.”
One Bennett Park in Chicago, by Robert AM Stern Architects
The firm known for its golden touch in luxury buildings across New York is coming to Chicago, debuting an all-residential, ultra-luxury condominium for its client, Related Midwest. The building will have a motor court, grand lobby, limestone pergolas and ornamental metalwork, and will overlook the 1.7 acre (0.69ha) Bennett Park, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, which will also open this year.
Why It’s Exciting: “This 70-storey residential tower with a romantic silhouette, with fenestration expressive of the variety of residences within, and of fering its neighbourhood an adjacent park,” says Robert AM Stern, “will stand in bold contrast to the typical Chicago streetscape of flat-roofed buildings with gridded facades”.
Courtyard Kindergarten in Beijing, by MAD Architects
Ma Yansong — who created the alien spaceship of an opera house in Harbin, China, that ignited a frenzy four years ago — has designed another sinuous, photo-ready structure. It’s just that this time, it’s for children: The new building, located on the site of a courtyard that dates to 1725, features a “floating”, walkable roof that surrounds the historic area.
Why It’s Exciting: Ma is famous for his large-scale cultural and luxury projects. (Among other things, he’s the architect George Lucas chose for his massive new museum in Los Angeles.) So, this kindergarten — while admittedly expansive in scale — is something of a departure for him. The combination of new construction and historic preservation, moreover, is a nice reminder that “starchitecture” doesn’t have to be disruptive.
New Museum for Western Australia, by OMA
The project combines the restoration of existing, 19th century buildings with a new exhibition space perched nearly 100ft in the air. The base of the structure is an area called “the City Room”, an outdoor area framed by the refurbished historical buildings. Overall, the museum will contain more than 65,000 sq ft of exhibition space.
Why It’s Exciting: “It’s our first major cultural project in Australia,” says David Gianotten, a managing partner at the firm. “Perth is a city that’s growing unbelievably rapidly, in a location that’s beautifully located, but there’s no real heart yet.” This museum, he says, which has taken just two years to construct, will change that. “By doing this project, we’re bringing together several institutions in one location and creating an area in and around the building that’s completely pedestrian — a gathering place for the city.”
Mwabwindo School in Zambia, by Selldorf Architects
Annabel Selldorf, an architect best known for pristine interiors and lavish apartment buildings, will complete a school for this rural community in Zambia. There will be classrooms for 200 students, along with housing for eight teachers, a community vegetable garden and playing fields. The building is made from a steel structure that holds up a corrugated roof; individual buildings underneath, arranged around courtyards, will be made from mud brick.
Why It’s Exciting: “It demonstrates the power of compassion and private initiative, paired with a visionary architecture that seeks to address the real challenges of poverty and lack of infrastructure in an inclusive and humane way,” says Selldorf. “The project has been conceived in the spirit of building a school and community centre which can be built with mostly local materials by local people.” Those people, she continues, are trained to make and lay bricks from local earth. The entire team — architects and consultants — worked on the project pro bono.
Kistefos Museum in Jevnaker, by Bjarke Ingels Group
A bridge, museum and sculpture rolled into one, this building is located on the edge of the Ranselva River, an hour north of Oslo, Norway. Set in the middle of the Kistefos sculpture park, the 15,000 sq ft structure is already on the must-see list for art and architecture lovers everywhere.
Why It’s Exciting: The building is comparatively small, but with its torqued centre and dramatic lines, it creates an outsized visual impact. “The museum visit itself will be a bridge, not a goal, and the exhibits inside an interior extension of the promenade through the park,” says Bjarke Ingels. “With the inhabited bridge, we stumbled upon our first experiment with social infrastructure — a building that serves as a bridge, or a cultural institution that serves as a piece of infrastructure.”
James Simon Gallery in Berlin, by David Chipperfield Architects
Conceived as a gateway building to the city’s Museum Island, construction began nearly a decade ago. Now the structure, which provides direct access to the main exhibition floor of the Pergamon Museum, will finally be complete. The building contains rest areas, a cafeteria, a cloakroom, temporary exhibition spaces and an auditorium spread across more than 117,000 sq ft.
Why It’s Exciting: Set in the literal and cultural heart of Berlin, the island, which comprises five museums including the Pergamon, the Altes and the Bode, represents Germany’s return to European ascendancy. The restoration of the complex of structures has taken more than 20 years. Chipperfield’s structure is both the final piece of the puzzle and arguably — as the entrance to the island — it’s most important.