Reuse and Renovation: Architizer A+Awards

The Architizer A+Awards want to “break architecture out of its echo chamber.” Every year, it provides a compelling snapshot of the urban environment through a selection of buildings judged not only by a professional jury, but by a voting public. More than 600 projects are shortlisted in 2024, recognised for their form, function, social and environmental impact. “Creative courage” is cited as a theme connecting this year’s finalists, with architects around the world responding to society’s changing needs – from the growing climate crisis to technological evolution. The A+Awards remains unique among global architectural prizes, inviting design students, enthusiasts, building occupants and the general public to vote for their favourite work. Renowned names like Tadao Ando, Stefano Boeri Architetti and Studio Gang Architects have made the list, as well as many next generation designers who are setting positive precedents. They are paving the way forward when it comes to reusing existing structures, designing regenerative environments or reimagining building approaches, typologies and materials.

In Jiaxing, China, for example, Domain Architects’ Lakeside Teahouse connects two 1930s houses via a curved corridor. It’s a nod to traditional the Chinese landscape art that, over many centuries, has been inspired by the scenic area. One such example is Xiang Shengmo’s (1597-1658) Reading in the Autumn Forest (1623), which depicts the region’s mountains with trees and house in the foreground. It’s held in The British Museum collection. “Hand-scroll paintings are especially famous for their extreme horizontal length,” the studio explains. “They are not meant to be seen at one glance, but should be read progressively as the viewers unfold the scroll.” Domain Architects, a practice whose projects are often rooted in ancient Chinese culture, aims to replicate this experience. “Walking along the corridor, guests will experience the shifting views of the landscape, as if they are reading and unfolding a long scroll painting.”

Meanwhile, Denmark’s Skamlingsbanken Visitor Centre is equally marked by history. Its location is significant to Danish society, having been “a setting and natural stage for debates about democracy, the border country, women’s suffrage and the celebration of the ending of World War II.” The new structure, implemented by CEBRA, is set to become a “modern arena for democratic culture”; a place to hold important debates about the most pressing issues of our times, like climate crisis. Visually, it emerges from a landscape of undulating hollows and hills – like something out of a J.R.R. Tolkien novel.

“I was impressed by the number of architects incorporating nature into their designs,” remarks Wandile Mthiyane, Founder of Ubuntu Design Group and A+Awards Juror. “We require buildings that serve more than mere functions of living, working, or schooling. We need structures that actively contribute to our mental and physical well-being.” It’s a sentiment echoed by institutions worldwide. Earlier this year, MAXXI, Rome, surveyed the career of Alvar Aalto, who famously said: “True architecture exists only where the human being stands in the centre.” We’ve also seen Transform! Designing the Future of Energy come to Vitra Design Museum and Biophilia: Nature Reimagined open in Denver. These are major public displays that put the importance of conscious design front and centre, and take a step in the right direction.

Discover the full list of finalists at

Image Credits:
1. Lakeside Teahouse by Domain Architects (Finalist, Architecture + Adaptive Reuse). Photo credit: c/o Domain Architects.
2. Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts Extension by Neri&Hu Design and Research Office (Finalist, Museums). Photo credit: Zhu Runzi.
3. Madrone Ridge by Field Architecture (Finalist, Large Private House). Photo credit: Joe Fletcher.
4. Skamlingsbanken Visitor Centre by CEBRA (Finalist, Cultural & Expo Centers). Photo credit: Adam Mørk