Reading architecture news often means parsing through proposed projects and potential buildings, visions of a future city years before ground is broken and concrete is poured. Realistic renderings and pre-building buzz can't keep anticipation from flagging when you have to wait longer than the congressional election cycle. But that lengthy hype cycle makes it all the more satisfying when the cranes finally move out, crews finish working, and a potentially game-changing project opens its doors. Here are buildings the Curbed staff is looking forward to seeing completed this year. Between towers that may reshape skylines and rewrite record books and renovations of classic designs, these are some of the newsworthy new buildings and renovations set be completed in 2016.
VIA57 West, the 57th Street Tetrahedron (BIG: New York, New York)
It may seem like rockstar Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, who admirers apparently believe has a halo as big as the smoke rings set to float above his futuristic power plant proposal, is breaking ground everywhere, between his Googleplex concept, WTC2 design, and Battersea Power station proposal. But this forthcoming residential pyramid in Manhattan's Midtown West (technically a hyperbolic paraboloid), offers a stunning reimagining of high-rise architecture, as well as incredible views from the hundreds of unit that will rise along the sloped exterior. While he has plenty of big commissions in the queue, this Durst-financed buiding may become one of his signature projects.
SFMOMA Expansion (Snøhetta: San Francisco, California)
Set to reopen in May, the city's modern art museum will more than double in size with a light-filled 235,000-square-foot expansion by Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta. Meant as a compliment to the Mario Botta-designed original, a particular and proportioned Postmodern beauty, the towering expansion, covered in a polymer panels, looks like a towering granite pedestal set amid the glass and steel of the Financial District.
Tate Modern Extension (Herzog & de Meuron: London, England)
Both a look forward and a look back, this new tower, which adds 60 percent more gallery space to one of England's premier cultural institutions as well as dedicated space for media and installation art, offers architects Herzog & de Meuron a chance to revisit their work on the original Tate Modern galleries from more than a decade ago. The shape even echoes the brick chimney that stands in front of the current museum.
Ping An International Finance Center (Kohn Pedersen Fox: Shenzhen, China)
Part of the recent wave of Asian supertalls that dominates (and will continue to dominate) the list of the world's tallest buildings, this topped-out tower for a Chinese insurance giant will measure 115 stories when it opens later this year. It's set to be the world's tallest office building once completed, but with other projects racing skyward, who knows how long it'll retain that title.
National Museum of African American History and Culture (David Adjaye: Washington, D.C.)
Architect David Adjaye has spoken of the challenges of designing such a symbolic and important museum in the center of the nation's cultural district, a monumental site and project that has "taken nearly 200 years to get to this place." Positioned as a ziggurat that moves upward towards the sky—a pattern and profile meant to signify praise—it's one of the more high-profile additions to D.C. in recent years.
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (Renzo Piano: Athens, Greece)
Funded by a foundation established by a Greek shipping magnate—which has allowed the project to continue despite the country's deep financial troubles— this complex of theaters and museums, complete with an artificial hill and sprawling park, will seek to revitalize Athens's role as a cultural center.
Louvre Abu Dhabi (Jean Nouvel: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
Jean Nouvel gained worldwide attention early in his career with the Arab World Institute, a technologically advanced structure that offered a stirring tribute to Islamic and Arab architectural motifs and styles. So it seems fitting he was tapped for the Louvre's expansion into the Middle East, part of a massive cultural district being built in Abu Dhabi. The striking exterior, a white dome interlaced with a series of geometric openings, offers both an artful way to control light and temperature as well as a riff on traditional palm leaf roofing that provides a "rain of light" meant to reference "mashrabiya and the beams of light that illuminate souks." The project has been both praised as an important cultural addition to the region, as well as criticized for its reliance on exploited migrant labor.
Yale Center for British Art (Knight Architecture: New Haven, Connecticut)
While not as headline-grabbing or boundary-pushing as the other structures on the list, this tasteful renovation of Louis Kahn's posthumously finished masterpieces, set to reopen in May, offers nothing more than a quiet, contemplative space done exceedingly well.
Zlota 44 (Daniel Libeskind: Warsaw, Poland)
A striking addition to the nascent skyline of the Polish capital, this angular, exclamation point of a skyscraper will offer the tallest penthouse in continental Europe when it opens later in 2016 after years of construction and delays. It's a homecoming of sorts for the architect, who was born in Lodz.
∙ NYC's Best New Architecture of 2015, From the Whitney to 2 WTC [Curbed New York]
∙ The Most-Read Stories of 2015 From Curbed's City Sites [Curbed]
∙ Year in Curbed: The 12 Best Longreads of 2015 [Curbed]