Reading architecture news often means interpreting and guessing about year’s-long construction projects and hype cycles, and seeing renderings and projects shift and morph over interminable construction timelines. But the wait can be worth it when long-awaited, potentially game-changing buildings finally strip away the scaffolding and open their doors. Between reshaping skylines or representing big steps forward in sustainable design, here are some of the projects that Curbed staff is looking forward to seeing completed in 2017.
Wuhan Greenland Center (Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture: Wuhan, China)
China’s continued race skyward takes another step forward with this 120-story, mixed-use tower, which will be the third-tallest structure in the world upon completion this year. Designed by one of the world’s foremost experts on tall buildings, the tapered, three-sided supertall will also be one of the world’s most sustainable, with a number of energy-savings systems that will make it 51 percent more efficient than a standard office tower. The building’s form—featuring softly rounded corners, a domed top, and a series of vent—will reduce the wind pressure that builds up around such mammoth structures.
Apple Campus (Foster + Partners: Cupertino, California)
After years of hype and endless drone footage, the new headquarters of the world’s wealthiest company will finally open its doors to employees. The shape is as stylish as the company’s products, a 2.8 million-square-foot, 4-story tall, Norman Foster-designed donut meant to house more than 13,000 employees and become a center of innovation and technical advancement. Whether this multibillion-dollar spaceship can make a concrete impact on the working life at Apple, or just make an architectural statement remains to be seen.
Elbphilharmonie (Herzog & de Meuron: Hamburg, Germany)
Set atop a warehouse, this curvy, crystalline music hall offers a glittering, organic home for music, with vineyard-style seating that wraps around the stage. Extensively delayed and wildly over-budget, the $870 million project has earned its share of detractors before the first full season of music was underway. It remains to be seen if Herzog & de Meuron’s striking design, a glass wave that crests above the waterfront, can win over skeptics of the inflated price tag.
Brock Commons Tallwood House (Acton Ostry Architects: Vancouver, Canada)
An 18-story student dorm may seem like an outlier on a list filled with starchitects and stellar museums. But it’s the form, not the function, that makes this structure so important. This 18-story building will be the world’s largest mass timber structure, showcasing Canada’s embrace of tall timber construction and the possibilities of this more sustainable method of building our cities. The building does rely on some steel and a concrete podium and cores for strength, but the cross-laminated timber floors, wooden columns, and wood fiber facade makes the structure significantly more sustainable. The carbon emissions savings that come with this type of construction will be equivalent to taking 500 cars off the road.
Louvre Abu Dhabi (Jean Nouvel: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
This long-awaited cultural center (it was on this list last year), part of a cluster of institutions on the Saadiyat Island complex, has been years in the making, after a post-recession construction shutdown and loud protests about labor violations delayed its opening for years. The design from the renowned French architect recalls one of his earliest triumphs, the Institut du Monde Arabe, a Parisian landmark that riffed off Arabic design elements. This new structure feature a huge roof, called the rain of light, built from 7,800 interlocking pieces of steel and aluminum, to provide shade from the scorching sun while admitting cool Gulf breezes into the galleries.
Amager Bakke (BIG: Copenhagen, Denmark)
Bjarke Ingels and his firm have been so busy with a plethora of projects across the globe that some of his more fantastical visions get swept aside in all the media coverage. But this year, one of his over-the-top plans may be fully realized. The Amager Bakke plant may just be the fanciest incinerator you’ll ever see, a curvy, modern design with an artificial ski slope on its roof, state-of-the-art pollution reduction systems, and special technology that releases exhaust in smoke rings, as opposed to billowy clouds. The hipster garbage plant has finally arrived (though skiing won’t start until 2018).
1000 Museum (Zaha Hadid Architects: Miami, Florida)
A grand, “sculptural object” rising on the Miami waterfront, this residential development from the late Pritzker winner is one of a number of posthumous designs around the world that will help cement her legacy as an innovator. The 62-story structure features continuous, curved concrete forms, offering a futuristic spin on the hourglass shape.
Little Caesar’s Arena (HOK: Detroit, Michigan)
A new spin on the destinations stadium, the forthcoming sports complex is much more exciting than the name might imply. Architects and planners, seeking to better connect the stadium to the surrounding neighborhood, surrounded the arena with a deconstructed streetscape, to help spur on activity and commerce in the area beyond game day.
Cite Musicale (Shigeru Ban: Sequin Island, France)
Part of a new “city of music” cultural center going up on the banks of the Seine River in paris, this stretched-out series of venues and public spaces looks a bit like a concrete cruise ship docked next to the waterway. Ban’s design, done in concert with Frenchman Jean de Gastines, feature a wooden, lattice-like globe at the center.
Wilshire Grand Center (A.C. Martin Partners: Los Angeles, California)
Set to be the tallest building in the Western U.S. upon its official opening in the first half of 2017, this 73-story, 1,100-foot-tall mixed-use tower is part of a bid to revitalize the area around Figueroa Street in downtown L.A. The sail-shaped structure will feature a roofline and spire with programmable L.E.D. lights.
Cornell Tech Campus (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Handel Architects: New York City, New York)
New York City may not have as many blockbuster skyscrapers going up this year (expected a lot more in 2018 and 2019), but this development on Roosevelt Island may prove to have just as much impact. The first phase of this large-scale, passive construction project, a huge leap forward for sustainable construction, is set to finish next summer. It’ll be the largest passive house structure in the world, saving 60-70 percent on energy costs over standard structures, and set a new standard in green construction.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium (HOK: Atlanta, Georgia)
While there’s plenty of work left before kickoff next fall, one thing is certain about this angular steel stadium going up in Atlanta: it’s a game-changer. Designed to be a LEED Platinum structure, the high-tech new football stadium will boast a monumental, 58-foot-tall ring of video screens lining a retractable oculus roof system that crowns the entire complex. The system’s eight panels can fully retract in seven minutes, a move more reminiscent of a launch facility than a football field.