9 Of The Coolest Buildings Of The Year, Chosen By Architects

The World Architecture Festival wrapped up last week and a whole new batch of buildings — both completed and “future” (aka not yet real) — were given the nod as this year’s best. Let’s take a look at some of the winners, shall we?

What’s really fun about the awards is that they’re chosen by architects themselves, since the people who are actually out there building structures themselves seem like the most qualified to pick the year’s most successful architecture. This year’s panel contained some big names, like Lord Richard Rogers, Rocco Yim and Julie Eizenberg Rogers. The announcements were made over three days at the super-duper swish Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, where pros, students, and potential clients all mingled together in what sounds like a hell of a lot to take in: live crits, seminars, and, of course, networking.

How do you feel about these versus those selected last year? And anything that was overlooked and deserves recognition? Let us know below! [World Architecture Festival]

World Building of the Year and Civic and Community: The Chapel by a21 Studio, Vietnam

This unbelievably bright, inherently cheery steel structure was designed as a multi-use community hub outside Ho Chi Minh City ready to host everything from weddings to casual chill out and relax time for locals. The indoor-outdoor scheme, wooden floors, and colourful curtains help to soften the look of the structure, and those little pendant lights give the effect of lovely oversized fireflies at night.

Production, Energy, and Recycling: Lune de Sang Sheds by Chrofi, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The site of a former dairy farm has become the home to a future forest. These two sheds designed by Chrofi will act as professional and personal home-base for the client, who, on the lush green surrounds, plans on planting hardwood trees that will take anywhere from 50 to a whopping 300 years (!) to fully mature. Once they’re all grown up, they will be sustainably harvested, in what might be the ultimate form of delayed gratification.

House (sponsored by Grohe): House for Trees by Vo Trong Nghia Architects, Vietnam

In the high-density Tan Binh district of Ho Chi Minh City, this plan by Vo Trong Nghia Architects imagines a quintet of concrete and bamboo formwork homes as a kind of elevated oasis. Landscaping the flat roofs with trees and grass turns each into a tiny tropical getaway that would also absorb storm water in the rainy season, while a central courtyard on the ground level offers a quiet spot amidst the pretty tight urban environment.

Display: Te Kaitaka – “The Cloak” by Fearon Hay Architects, New Zealand

Seeing the green roof kind of fold over the top of this meeting space located at the Auckland International Airport makes it look like the glass-walled structure almost emerged out of the ground. It’s part of a larger effort to transform the industrial look — and function — of the transit hub into something more people-focused and -friendly.

Shopping: Yalikavak Marina Complex by EAA-Emre Arolat Architects, Turkey

This marina on the Turkish riviera has a whole lot going on. In addition to the shops and restaurants is a swank beach and pool club sanitary for visitors on vacay (plus boutique hotel, natch), but the site was also designed to accommodate “sanitary and and mechanical units” for massive yachts looking to dock. Cladding the entire complex in travertine gives it a coherent, local vibe.

Religion: La Ascensión del Señor church by AGi Architects, Spain

It’s tough to get a sense of this space from the outside, but this naturally lit house of the holy was created to serve as a congregation point for local believers, both in the main interior space of the church, as well as the three courtyards intended for social events and community gatherings, in the shadow of a roof that “unfolds” to make for unconventional interiors and a unique silhouette.

Commerical Mixed-Use: Isfahan Dreamland Commercial Center by Farshad Mehdizadeh Architects, Iran

Transforming the somewhat grim existing structure into this staccato grid of arched modules would transform this site from something that looks less like an abandoned bummer and more like a futuristic glowing dreamland that befits its name. In this plan, Farshad Mehdizadeh turned the parking lot that joins the commercial zone and theme park into a pedestrian plaza, while the rest of the site would be home to restaurants, galleries, and cafes. The models and renderings make it look quite cool, if not a bit difficult to conceptualise in real life.

Culture: Danish Maritime Museum by BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group, Denmark

This museum is situated pretty damn close to Kronborg Castle, which Shakespeare fans might remember from such plays as Hamlet. So rather than build up around that historical site, Bjarke Ingels went down for the Danish Martime Museum, building the whole thing in a decommissioned drydock — in the shape of a ship, no less.

Transport: Scale Lane Bridge by McDowell+Benedetti, United Kingdom

Seven years after winning a design competition to create a new pedestrian bridge for Hull that would also become a kind of attraction in itself, the apostrophe-esque Scale Lane Bridge opened in 2013. Folks can walk out to the end of the swingin’ steel structure and take a little ride when it opens up to let large boats pass.