London's Design Museum just announced the nominees for its eighth annual "Designs of the Year" awards. Of the 76 design projects chosen across fields as diverse as fashion and transportation, 15 hail from the world of architecture. Some of these buildings are high-profile undertakings, notably Frank Gehry's Foundation Louis Vuitton museum in Paris. Others, like Vietnam's giant "planter" houses, respond specifically to local needs—in this case, the lack of greenery amid rapid urbanization.
Over the next few months, the jury, which currently includes artist Anish Kapoor and sculptor and fashion designer Nicole Farhi, will be choosing a category winner and an overall winner, an honor won last year by Zaha Hadid's controversial Heydar Aliyev Center. Below, an overview of all the contenders in the architecture category this year:
Arena do Morro · Herzog and De Meuron · Natal, Brazil
This new community center and gymnasium in Mãe Luiza, a favela in northeast Brazil, now includes a 420-seat sports arena and a terrace with ocean views.
Beijing No.4 High School Fangshan Campus · OPEN Architecture · Beijing, China
Also known as the Garden School, this building features a green roof with 36 farmable plots, one for each class on campus.
Desert Courtyard House · Wendell Burnette Architects · Scottsdale, Arizona
This private home in Arizona's Sonoran Desert was designed around a courtyard and built from rammed-earth construction.
Forfatterhuset Kindergarten · COBE · Copenhagen, Denmark
This kindergarten is composed of five houses held together by a brick band that surrounds the playground.
Foundation Louis Vuitton · Frank Gehry and Gehry Partners · Paris, France
Constructed from over 3,000 glass panels, the much-anticipated museum and concert hall rises from Paris' Bois de Boulogne park like a "glass cloud of 12 curved sails."
House for Trees · Vo Trong Nghia Architects · Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Designed to bring green back into the city, this cluster of concrete "pots" can plant trees up top and serve as storm-water basins.
La Ultima Esperanza - The Last Hope · AL BORDE · Manabi, Ecuador
This long-term collaboration between AL BORDE and the Cabuyal community resulted in not only a finished structure, but also a system for teaching architecture so that locals can begin to develop buildings of their own.
Long Museum West Bund · Atelier Deshaus · Shanghai, China
The new museum located at the bank of Huangpu River features a cantilevered structure as a nod to a coal hopper unloading bridge and the region's industrial past.
Markthal Rotterdam · MVRDV · Rotterdam, the Netherlands
The massive, horseshoe-shaped building is the Netherlands' first covered food market. It also comes with 228 apartments.
One Central Park · Ateliers Jean Nouvel · Sydney, Australia
Philharmonic Hall Szczecin · Barozzi/Veiga · Szczecin, Poland
Located on a historical site that was destroyed during World War II, the new Philarmonic Hall derives its form from influences like the city's pitched-roof residential buildings and neo-Gothic churches.
Sancaklar Mosque · Emre Arolat Architects · Istanbul, Turkey
Shedding traditional expectations for the form of a mosque, Emre Arolat's design aims to capture the "essence" of a religious space with a building that looks like it's blended into the landscape itself.
Saw Swee Hock Student Centre (London School of Economics) · O'Donnell + Tuomey · London
Designed to frame specific vistas, the new student center features a brick-clad facade that's perforated in some areas and totally cut out for large glazing in others.
UC Innovation Center · Elemental · Santiago, Chile
Eschewing the typical contemporary glass facades, Elemental's concrete-enclosed structure is supposed to reduce energy costs by two-thirds.
Waterbank Campus at Endana Secondary School · PITCHAfrica · Laikipia, Kenya
Each building on the 10-acre Waterbank Campus has the capacity to harvest and store high volumes of water at a low cost. For example, the centerpiece of the development, 1,500-seat football stadium, can store 1.5 million liters of water.
—Reported by Jenny Xie and Alexa Carrasco
· Design Museum Designs of the Year 2015 [official site]
· The AIA's Favorite New Projects Are Here for Your Judgment [Curbed National]