Although the past year has discouraged us in many ways, architecture never ceased to amaze us. Innovative designs, new technologies as well as trends have thrilled us even on those gloomy days. Let’s have a look at some of the amazing buildings of 2021 with innovative designs and technologies.

1. Quzhou Sports Campus, China

The Quzhou Sports Campus is a 570,000 square meters park located in China’s eastern coastal province of Zhejiang. Designed by the MAD Architects the park features a 30,000-person vanishing stadium, gymnasium, natatorium, national sports complex, outdoor sports venues, science & technology museum, hotel accommodations, youth centre, and retail programs. The focal point of the architects for this sports campus was to build an urban space that ties together sports and ecology, representing the city’s cultural and philosophical ideas of nature, as more than 70% of its land is covered with lush forestland. With structures embedded into the ground, the façade disappears into the Natural terrain, Pedestrian walkways engraved over white contours, and luscious greenery all across, the park creates an inviting experience for the citizens to leisurely explore the serenity of the park along with its functioning sports facilities.

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View of the Quzhou Sports Campus _©MAD Architects
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Terrains representing the city’s cultural and philosophical ideas of nature_©MAD Architects
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30,000-person vanishing stadium _©MAD Architects

2. Le Dome Winery, France

Designed by Foster and partners, Le Dome Winery fits perfectly within the hills of Bordeaux, France, and celebrates the beautiful rural vineyard setting of the site. The winery comprises of two storeys, with its lower floor partially buried into the ground to minimize the structure’s outdoor visual impact on the surroundings. The circular layout consists of two ramps which guide visitors through the building such that they get to experience different stages of the winemaking process in a sequence, before reaching the uppermost level for wine tasting. This uppermost level acts as the main social heart of the structure, with entertainment spaces arranged along the uninterrupted 360-degree views of vineyards beyond. The most stand-out feature of this design is its uniquely crafted 40-meter diameter timber roof which consists of mutually supporting sloping beams that help create a huge column less central atrium with a 6-meter wide oculus that floods the interiors with natural daylight.

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Le Dome Winery surrounded by the rural vineyard plantation _©nigelyoung.co.uk
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Social heart of the structure with 360-degree views of vineyards and landscape beyond _©nigelyoung.co.uk
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Ramp connecting the structure through different stages of the winemaking process _©nigelyoung.co.uk

3. Wormhole Library, China

With an idea that intends to be like a wormhole that transcends time and space, this museum resides in the city of Haikou overlooking the South China Sea. The sinuous and organic volume of concrete covers 11000 square feet and marks a celebration of MAD Studio’s anti-material approach which hierarchies spatial experience over structural expression. The homogeneous exteriors and heavenly indoor aura take their form with a continuous ribbon of concrete that flows seamlessly to create amalgamated walls, floors, and ceilings. Undulating curves create indoor spaces and furniture and circular punctures bring in natural light through ceilings. All these construction accuracies have been achieved through cast in white concrete within the formwork of CNC- cut and 3D printing, with all of its electrical wiring and plumbing fixtures built within, creating minimal visual intrusions over the surface of the structure.

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Wormhole library overlooking the South China Sea _©MAD Architects
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Structure’s undulating and curving geometry_©MAD Architects
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Circular punctures created in the ceiling to bring in natural light_©MAD Architects

4. House of Hungarian Music, Budapest, Hungary

The House of Hungarian Music resides in the heart of the City Park of Budapest. Sou Fujimoto Architect’s vision wanted to evolve from the conventional design for museums towards a place that is encompassing past and future, people and culture, nature, and the sciences of music. No clear path and pedestrians meander has been defined around the museum, invading the space like a continuous varying flow, just as sound permeates space, bouncing around surfaces, and runs along the walls. Along with receiving the BREEAM certification for sustainability, the unique design feature is the white roof with almost 100 punctures for existing trees to grow through. Moreover, light wells have been installed in these openings, which channel the light right down to the lowest levels, thus helping to illuminate the interiors with natural daylight and create a unique ambience.

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The House of Hungarian Music _©Sou Fujimoto Architects
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Fluid pathways surrounded by luscious greenary_©Sou Fujimoto Architects
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Visitors viewing the musical performances and surrounding nature_©Sou Fujimoto Architects

5. Scion Innovation Hub, Rotorua, New Zealand

Irving Smith Architects, RTA Studio, and Dunning Thornton Consultants collaborated to design the Scion Innovation Hub, a Crown Research Institute that specializes in technology development for the forestry industry in Rotorua, New Zealand. The institution is a cutting-edge showcase for engineered timber not only in terms of the aesthetic but also for enlightening people about carbon-neutral construction techniques. Designed all in timber, these structural elements are made of high-performing Laminated Veneer Lumber and hallmark dovetail node joinery. By using engineered products made from sustainably grown pine the building is set to achieve the 2030 target by RIBA for 500kg of carbon/ msq and contributes to New Zealand’s carbon-zero future.

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The Scion Innovation Hub _©patrick-reynolds-photography.webflow.io
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Structural diagrid forming the skeleton of the building _©patrick-reynolds-photography.webflow.io
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Three storey atrium with a cantilever wooden staircase bridge_©patrick-reynolds-photography.webflow.io

6. Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls School, Rajasthan, India

In the heart of Rajasthan’s Thar Desert in India, Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls School is an oval sandstone structure that blends seamlessly into the arid landscape. Designed by a New York-based architect Diana Kellogg, the school serves more than 400 girls from below poverty-line households in the region of 36% female literacy rate. The 9,000 square-foot school with a central courtyard has been constructed by local craftsmen with hand-carved local Jaisalmer sandstone. The team focused largely on incorporating sustainable design strategies, considering the harsh desert climate, and oriented the ellipse-shaped structure such that it filters out sunlight, maximizes airflow and wind throughout the series of 10 classrooms, while also utilizing a passive solar cooling strategy. The team also incorporated ancient traditional water harvesting techniques to help the school collect precious rainwater, and installed a rooftop solar power plant. 

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Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls School _©vinaypanjwani.com/
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_A large paved courtyard is at the centre of the school_©vinaypanjwani.com/
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The inclined walkway leads to the roof_©vinaypanjwani.com/

7. Shenzhen East Waste to Energy Plant, China 

Located on the outskirts of Shenzhen, the world’s largest energy plant manoeuvres 5000 tons of waste per day to generate clean power for the community by utilizing the most advanced technologies in waste incineration and power generation. Designed by Shmidt Hammer Lassen Architects and Gottlieb Paludan Architects, the structure features a circular form with a 66000 square meter gigantic roof that has been covered with photovoltaic panels over two-thirds of its surface. The form of this building is a shift from the traditional rectangular layout of industrial facilities into a homogeneous organization of spaces inside the plant to create one simple, clean and iconic circular structure. The facility invites outsiders to visit and accentuates to act as the source of education to enlighten the citizens about the city’s growing waste problems. 

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Shenzhen East Waste-to-Energy Plant _©Schmidt Hammer Lassen and Gottlieb Paludan
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Angled louvers forming the exterior curved facade _©Schmidt Hammer Lassen and Gottlieb Paludan
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Outdoor Landscape creating beautiful spots for visitors to enjoy_©Schmidt Hammer Lassen and Gottlieb Paludan

8. Green Solution House (Hotel Gsh), Denmark

Located on the Danish island of Bornholm, one of the most popular tourist destinations of Ronne, Hotel Green House Solutions is the first CO2 neutral and climate-positive hotel in Denmark. This hotel has been designed by the sustainability-driven green think tank, the 3XN architects, and GXN with a brief of 24 rooms, a conference room, and a roof spa, which are all built, clad and insulated using wood – a material that naturally absorbs CO2 bringing forth a positive climate footprint. Furthermore, the building structure also incorporates renewable energy sources and passive design strategies such as naturally ventilated indoors via skylight windows and “buffer areas”, thus eliminating the dependency on mechanical ventilation systems and energy consumption. 

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Hotel Green Solution House _©3XN and GXN architects
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Structural parts designed with reversible joints to be reused in future _©3XN and GXN architects
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Wood as the primary material for the construction of the Hotel _©3XN and GXN architects

9. Yangliping Performing Arts Centre, Dali 

Set within a breathtaking landscape that is surrounded by the Cang Mountain Chain and Lake Erhai, the Yang Liping performing arts centre is located in an architecturally rich tourist destination of Dali. Designed by studio Zhu Pei, this new urban landmark is swarming in a cloud-like mesh ceiling and a free-flowing design that intends to mimic the natural terrain backdrop. The earthy slate-covered roof is created by an organic profile where indoor and outdoor spaces have been merged within its fluidity. A plaza weaves through the structure intersecting the concrete volume and forming the main theatre with its stage opened up to the outside. Responding to the strong sunlight and climatic conditions of this plateau location, the thoughtfully designed roof acts like a perfect weather screening canopy and provides a comfortable atmosphere for people to gather and enjoy.

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The Yang Liping performing arts centre by the Cang Mountain Chain _©www.jinweiqi.top
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The organic profile of earthy slate-covered roof_©www.jinweiqi.top
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Cloud-like mesh ceiling swarming and mimicking the natural terrain backdrop _©www.jinweiqi.top

10. Little Island Park, New York 

Designed to create a sense of escape from Manhattan, The Little Island is an amalgamation of a large amphitheatre and a variety of public gathering spaces overlooking stunning views of the sunset over the river and the New York Cityscape. The landscape rests over 132 precast concrete “pots,” each supported on large precast concrete columns and piles which are penetrated deep into the water, as much as 200 feet below. The designs for the pots were inspired by the ice patterns that form around the piles when the water freezes during winters. The captivating landscape offers a maritime botanic garden with multiple species of trees, shrubs and flowers selected for their fragrance and attractiveness to birds and pollinators, creating the perfect oasis for visitors from urban life to play, relax, imagine, learn and restore.

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Bird’s eye view of the Little Island Park _©www.timothyschenck.com
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Precast concrete pots inspired by the ice patterns formed around the piles during winters _©www.timothyschenck.com
Captivating landscape offers a maritime botanic garden with a variety of plant species _©www.timothyschenck.com

References:

  1. 3xn.com. (n.d.). {{uiState.page.title()}}. [online] Available at: https://3xn.com/news/denmarks-first-climate-positive-hotel-coming-island-bornholm [Accessed 5 Feb. 2022].
  2. Anon, (n.d.). MAD. [online] Available at: http://www.i-mad.com/press/mad-designed-wormhole-library-tops-out/#:~:text=The%20Wormhole%20Library%2C%20designed%20by [Accessed 5 Feb. 2022].
  3. Architecture Now. (n.d.). The technology of the trees. [online] Available at: https://architecturenow.co.nz/articles/the-technology-of-the-trees/.
  4. Facebook, Twitter, Toronto, U. of, LinkedIn and School, H.U.E. (n.d.). Yangliping Performing Arts Center Has a Pickup-Stick Ceiling. [online] Treehugger. Available at: https://www.treehugger.com/yangliping-performing-arts-center-pickup-stick-ceiling-5204250 [Accessed 5 Feb. 2022].
  5. Hudson River Park. (n.d.). Little Island. [online] Available at: https://hudsonriverpark.org/locations/pier-55-little-island/.
  6. IndiaTimes. (2021). Architectural Marvel: How This Girls’ School In Jaisalmer Stands Apart From The Rest. [online] Available at: https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/rajkumari-ratnavati-girls-school-jaisalmer-544064.html [Accessed 5 Feb. 2022].
  7. Mysite. (n.d.). THE RAJKUMARI RATNAVATI GIRLS SCHOOL | Diana Kellogg Architects. [online] Available at: https://www.dkarchitects.com/rajkumariratnavatigirlsschool [Accessed 5 Feb. 2022].
  8. The Economic Times. (n.d.). Little Island, a park built by a billionaire, further transforms Manhattan’s West Side – ​Little Island park. [online] Available at: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/little-island-a-park-built-by-a-billionaire-further-transforms-manhattans-west-side/little-island-park/slideshow/83171147.cms [Accessed 5 Feb. 2022].
  9. the Guardian. (2022). Sycamore stunner: how the crumpet-shaped House of Music swallowed a forest. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2022/jan/24/sou-fujimotos-house-of-hungarian-music-we-wanted-to-transform-the-forest-into-architecture [Accessed 5 Feb. 2022].
  10. www.fosterandpartners.com, F. + P. / (n.d.). Le Dôme Winery | Foster + Partners. [online] www.fosterandpartners.com. Available at: https://www.fosterandpartners.com/projects/le-dome-winery/ [Accessed 5 Feb. 2022].
  11. www.metalocus.es. (n.d.). Construction Underway on “Quzhou Sports Campus” by MAD Architects | The Strength of Architecture | From 1998. [online] Available at: https://www.metalocus.es/en/news/construction-underway-quzhou-sports-campus-mad-architects [Accessed 5 Feb. 2022].
  12. www.shl.dk. (n.d.). SHL – Shenzhen Energy Ring. [online] Available at: https://www.shl.dk/shenzhen-east-waste-to-energy-plant/ [Accessed 5 Feb. 2022].
Author

An aspiring architect who is passionate about designing spaces that creates a healthy and sustainable environment. She is a firm believer of simple, logical and research based design which makes the built environment highly adaptive, functional and user friendly. With the quest for knowledge, zeal to learn and passion to create, she has keen interest to perform and grow along the learning curve while contributing her best for the upliftment of the society.

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