The Future of Architecture

The Architizer A+Awards – the world’s largest and most democratic awards programme for architecture and building-products – acts as a barometer of public and critical opinions on architecture. It reveals trends in public perceptions and priorities in relation to the built environment.

Set against a backdrop of global upheaval, the 2020 theme The Future of Architecture has proven to be especially relevant, responding to imminent global challenges, including the climate crisis, rapid urbanisation, growing inequality and the Covid-19 pandemic. Amongst the winners are designers who are transforming society and the built environment for generations to come. Paul Keskeys, Content Director, sheds light on five projects included in this year’s prestigious list.

BIG – The Twist / Kistefos Gallery

“The simple, elegant profile of BIG’s “TWIST” museum and gallery in Viken, Norway lends it an iconic quality reminiscent of many more established cultural institutions. It is a subtle yet sophisticated example of contextual design, bringing together inspirations from three markedly different “landscapes” — the natural landscape of waterfalls, rivers and forests in which it sits, an industrial landscape of mills, dams and bridges, and the evolving landscape of art and sculpture emerging across Norway.”

Land Process – Thammasat University Urban Rooftop Farm

“When considering how we can utilise our existing urban fabric more efficiently, it may be time to reimagine what architects refer to as “the fifth elevation” — more commonly known as the roof. Here, Bangkok-based firm LANDPROCESS created the world’s most epic example of communal agriculture, repurposing more than 230,000 square feet of unused roof space at Thammasat University to create Asia’s largest organic rooftop farm. The vast, sweeping curves of the building blend the best of landscape architecture and infrastructure, resulting in an urban landmark that should act as a social catalyst for years to come.”

Atelier tao+c – Capsule Hotel in a Rural Library

“Nestled in the mountains of East China, Atelier tao+c’s Capsule Hotel in a Rural Library is a stunningly detailed transformation of an ancient, mud-walled home into a welcoming communal hub. It’s just one of a host of adaptive reuse projects that have proliferated as communities increasingly look to revitalise old structures before digging up ground for new construction.”

Zaha Hadid Architects – Beijing Daxing International Airport

“In transport architecture, projects are designed at a wide variety of scales, each with varying degrees of complexity in terms of planning, design development and construction. Then there are projects like Beijing Daxing International Airport, in which the complexity for all three is taken to a new level entirely. At this scale, the challenge of marrying program, form and detail is as vast as the project itself, and takes an experienced, highly competent firm to deliver it. It’s no surprise, then, that Zaha Hadid Architects was called upon in Beijing, and the result is characteristically striking: A starfish-shaped terminal, the world’s largest, provides efficient routes for thousands of travellers to and from every departure gate, as well as forming an instant icon when viewed from airplanes overhead.”

Lake|Flato – Marine Education Center

“Lake|Flato Architects’ Marine Education Center at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory is an elegant showcase in the use of low impact materials and robust detailing in the pine flatwood forests of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Combining locally sourced southern yellow pine on the exterior with white oak for the interiors, including millwork and accent paneling, this project is an ode to wood as a sustainable building material. “

To read more about the full list of this year’s winners, click here.

1 & 5: Zaha Hadid Architects, Beijing Daxing Airport. Photo Credit: Hufton+Crow.
2. BIG, The Twist. Photo Credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu.
3. Land Process – Thammasat University Urban Rooftop Farm
4. Atelier TAO+C, Capsule Hotel. Photo Credit: Su Sheng Liang.
Lake|Flato – Marine Education Center