Arch Daily asks readers, not a panel of judges, to name their annual Building of the Year winners. The magazine says they haven’t been disappointed yet in their crowd-sourced approach to finding the best of the best.
Fourteen buildings from around the world got the nod in 2016, out of hundreds of reader submissions and thousands of reader votes. And all of them have something remarkable. Take a walk through three designs that we consider standouts.
Harbin Opera House, Harbin, China
Nestled in the Harbin wetlands of China, the Harbin Opera House appears to rise and fall in harmony with the landscape. MAD Architects’ founding principal, Ma Yansong, tells Arch Daily, “We envision Harbin Opera House as a cultural center of the future – a tremendous performance venue, as well as a dramatic public space that embodies the integration of human, art and the city identity, while synergistically blending with the surrounding nature.”
The exterior blends curving white aluminum and glass for a billowing effect that becomes part of its surroundings. Throughout the interior, visits experience a complementary curvilinear design where the walls, ceilings, floors and staircases all swell and recede in what Arch Daily says mimics the appearance of a wooden block that’s been eroded away.
The House of Vans, London, UK
Imagine an indoor skate park rising up through the ranks as one of 2016’s buildings of the year. Project designers Pete Hellicar and Tim Greatix tell Arch Daily that they created the House of Vans as a mixed-use “space that incubated creativity.” The site is the famous Leake Street railways lines Waterloo Station in London.
The Vans project was designed as an experience, not just a place. For example, the entrance, kitchen and other parts of the building have off-limits skateboarding forms such as concrete swimming pools and water pipes. Visitors aren’t allowed to ride them, which the designers say creates a sense of tension. But there are plenty of other spaces for enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels.
Ribbon Chapel, Hiroshima, Japan
Just as two lives become one in a marriage ceremony, the Ribbon Chapel in the gardens of the Bella Vista Sakaigahama resort hotel joins two winding, spiral staircases that are stronger together than they would be on their own. Designers, Hiroshi Nakumura & NAP Architects, created this free-standing wedding chapel as a visual tribute to the twisting and turning path two lives make before ultimately joining in marriage.
The ribbon-like facade is the result of “mutually supporting spirals,” the designers tell the magazine.
“By connecting the four points in four directions where the two stairways approach closely together with coupling elements, we produced a three-dimensional hoop effect for restraining the outward swell and a three-dimensional brace effect for resisting horizontal forces – thereby making the two spirals mutually supporting and self-standing.”
Arch Daily is proud of the diversity reflected in their annual Building of the Year list. The designers represented are sometimes legendary names in architecture, and sometimes up-and-coming practices. The designs are always inspirational. And that range of representation reflects the “strong, forward-thinking message” the publication wants to send to architects around the world.
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