Yesterday, TIME magazine released its annual list of 100 influencers: movers, shakers, and "icons" (a category that this year included Taylor Swift, a divisive call in the Curbed office) across the worlds of art, entertainment, and politics. But where oh where were the architects and designers? Last year, Tony Fadell—inventor of the popular Nest thermostat—made the list, but there was nary a place- or product-maker in sight among the 2015 honorees. We took an unscientific poll of Curbed staffers to propose our own picks and compiled the results here for your Friday afternoon perusal.
Gang may be best known for her eminently Instagrammable Aqua Tower in Chicago but she's also gained recognition for her ecologically minded work, including a rehab of the marshlands around Northerly Island on Chicago's lakefront and at the Windy City's Lincoln Park Zoo. And who better to represent the vanguard of design than a certified genius?
The wunderkind of the profession, Bjarke Ingels is known for work that—love it or hate it—is changing the way people think about the role of architects beyond the individual building. His scheme for a Danish waste-to-energy power plant you can ski on and a recently announced collaboration with British designer Thomas Heatherwick on a new office complex for Google are just the beginning.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R)
The New York City firm—led by husband-and-wife duo Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio with Charles Renfro—incited anger, frustration, and disappointment when it announced its plan to demolish the Museum of Modern Art's neighbor, the American Folk Art Museum, to make space for the former's expansion. But DS+R is much more than the controversy: The firm's newly completed Broad Museum for contemporary art (opening this fall in Los Angeles) and the beloved and oft-imitated High Line, another DS+R project, show the firm is having an undeniably major impact on America's biggest cities, no matter how contentious the work.
From Brooklyn's Barclays Center to residential and commercial projects all over Manhattan and work in Botswana and China, the folks at design-build architecture office SHoP have earned a name for themselves as a full-service firm that can be relied on to design thoughtfully considered projects at any scale.
The British architect has long been the darling of people who can afford to commission a very good architect to design their very expensive homes. But his recent work on low-income housing in Harlem, New York, two new public libraries in Washington D.C. and furniture designs for Knoll and Italian furnishings company Moroso, proves that Adjaye is a versatile force in the profession. His long-awaited design for the Museum of African American History and Culture is sure to put him on the map with a broader audience.