The Architizer A+ Awards are open for public voting, and it's well worth the time to click through and choose your favourites. There are some really great projects -- and a few duds -- but certainly a wide range of spaces, materials and building types for just about anyone, from strangely gorgeous parking garages to Romantic and fantastical towers standing in the middle of lakes.
Below are some of my own personal favourites. Note that all photos and verbatim descriptions come via Architizer.
Storefront, Seattle, USA | Olson Kundig Architects
For the past two years, this experimental work space served as a venue for a series of design, culture and social practice experiments. Created and directed by an architecture firm's principals and owners, this project brought together a host of community organisations and individuals including artists, activists, performers, a food entrepreneur, academics, high school filmmakers, collectors, an urban design think tank, historians, builders, engineers, museums, poets, advocates for the homeless, curators, educators, and a mushroom farmer. Each partnership began with asking potential collaborators, "What can we do together that we can't do apart?" Photo courtesy Olson Kundig Architects / Joe Iano / Nate Watters / Kevin Scott.
Bach on Sleds, Whangapoua, New Zealand | Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects
On the shore of an idyllic white sandy beach on New Zealand's Coromandel Peninsula rests an elegant hut. The site lies within the coastal erosion zone, where all building must be removable. This is taken literally and the hut is designed on two thick wooden sleds for movement back up the site or across the beach and onto a barge. Photos courtesy of Jackie Meiring.
Seljord Watchtower, Seljord, Norway | Rintala Eggertson Architects
The myth about a sea serpent in the lake of Seljord has become an integral part of how the local people of Telemark conceive its majestic landscape. Tales about mysterious phenomena in the lake have flourished for centuries and are a natural part of the daily life in the area. In 2008, the municipality of Seljord decided to use this mythical feature as a point of departure for a development programme for the area. They commissioned Rintala Eggertsson Architects to design different lookout points around the lake to ease the access for local population and visitors to experience the lake at some important places. Photos courtesy of Rintala Eggertsson Architects.
Lucerne Finish Tower, Lucerne, Switerland | Fuhrimann Hächler Architects ETH BSA
The tower is a functional building for international rowing regattas on the Rotsee, near Lucerne, during 3 weeks. The rest of the year the building remains closed and is an enigmatic house-like sculpture on the reflecting water surface. This metamorphosis taking place every year was the ambitious challenge in designing the finish tower. Images courtesy Fuhrimann Hächler Architects.
Tricycle House, Beijing, China | People's Architecture Office
In China private ownership of land does not exist, therefore the Tricycle House suggests a future embrace of the temporary relationship between people and the land they occupy. In a crowded Chinese city, the Tricycle House makes single family housing affordable and sustainable, parking lots are used at night for living, and traffic jams can be acceptable as living can happen while moving.
As a construction method we experimented with folded plastic. The entire house is cut and scored with a CNC router and then folded and welded into shape. The plastic, polypropylene, can be folded without losing its strength. Therefore the house can open up to the outside, expand like an accordion for more space, and connect to other houses.
The Tricycle House can be man-powered or battery powered and operates off-the-grid. Facilities in the house include a sink and stove, a bathtub, a water tank, and furniture that can transform from a bed to a dining table to a counter top. The sink, stove, and bathtub can collapse into the front wall of the house.
The Tricycle House reduces private living to the smallest footprint and promotes sustainable living by taking advantage of public resources. Public parks replace personal gardens, public toilets replace private toilets, parking spaces replace land-owning, and through the translucent exterior the interior is lit by sunlight during the day and street lighting at night. Photos courtesy of People's Architecture Office.
New Mountain Hut, Zermatt, Switzerland | Savioz Fabrizzi Architects
The Tracuit mountain hut (altitude 3256 metres) is situated in the heart of the valaisan Alps. Its position makes it the ideal starting-point for climbing the Bishorn, the Weisshorn, and the Tête de Milon. Photos courtesy Savioz Fabrizzi Architects and Thomas Jantscher.
Tahoe City Transit Center, Sunnyside-Tahoe City, USA | WRNS Studio
Scenic Lake Tahoe has become a year-round residential community and a popular recreational retreat for the 11.5 million people living within driving distance. As a result, traffic congestion and pollution threaten Tahoe's natural resources and beauty. To encourage greater reliance on public transportation, Placer County commissioned us to design a new transit center.
The idea of treading lightly on the land was our mantra. We minimized the facility's footprint by configuring the bus loop with passenger loading on both sides, with a site layout incorporating existing trees and walking and cycling paths. The stone in the walls and columns comes from the Sierras; the timber is also local. To further relate to the natural setting, the roof creates a long, low horizon line among the tall trees.
Shaped like a boat, with long wooden slats along the underside, the roof is supported by a few stone columns to allow views of the landscape. Overall, design complements the unique mountain character of Lake Tahoe in a way that is modern and iconic of transportation but also, unquestionably, of its place. Photos courtesy WRNS Studio / Bruce Damonte.
Portable Home ÁPH80, Madrid Spain | ABATON Architects
ÁBATON has developed the ÁPH80 series as a dwelling ideal for 2 people, easily transported by road and ready to be placed almost anywhere. The proportions are the result of a thorough study by our architects' team so that the different spaces are recognisable and the feeling indoors is one of fullness. It is a simple yet sturdy construction made of materials chosen to provide both comfort and balance. ÁPH80 embodies the principles and objectives of ÁBATON: wellbeing, environmental balance, and simplicity. Photos courtesy of ÁBATON Architects.
41 Bond, New York, USA | FUTURE GREEN STUDIO
Located in Manhattan's exclusive NOHO district, 41 Bond Street is an 8-story residential building that occupies a prime spot in the historic neighbourhood. Working on an interdisciplinary team led by DDG Partners, Future Green Studio provided landscape design and installation for the building façade, entrance canopy, a rear garden, a patio garden, extensive green roof and several landscaped terraces. Photo courtesy FUTURE GREEN STUDIO.
Accessible Pathway at Swimming Club, Las Palmes de Gran Canaria, Spain | Lab for Planning and Architecture (LPA)
A new topography that integrates pedestrian accessibility, existing palms and permeable surfaces. Photo courtesy Lab for Planning and Architecture (LPA).
In any case, I could go on all day -- stop by Architizer and vote! [Architizer]