Regardless, the coming year promises — for now, at least — a slew of hotly anticipated new buildings, from Africa’s tallest skyscraper to a futuristic water bottling factory in Italy.
Notable for their design, potential cultural impact or the conversations they are likely to generate, here are 9 architecture projects to look forward to.
Sydney Modern Project, Sydney, Australia
Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa/SANAA /Art Gallery of New South Wales
Perched above Sydney Harbour, the 19th-century Art Gallery of New South Wales is being reimagined as a series of stepped pavilions that mimic the surrounding landscape.
Dubbed Sydney Modern Project, the $250 million plan involves renovating the original building and creating an entirely new structure that will almost double the total exhibition area. The resulting new spaces include a gallery dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and another built into a decommissioned World War II naval oil tank.
The development marks an Australian debut for SANAA, the firm founded by Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa. Their vision for the gallery includes a variety of public spaces, including an “art garden” and a plaza linking the old and new buildings. What’s more, the museum says that once the project completes later this year, there will be 70% more trees planted on the site.
San Pellegrino Flagship Factory, Bergamo, Italy
Bjarke Ingels Group
Envisaged as both a bottling plant and visitor attraction, BIG’s serene design incorporates elements of classical Italian architecture, including arcades, porticos and a spacious piazza for staff and guests. A series of internal archways produce spaces of varying sizes, while opening up views of the surrounding valley. A “landmark” pillar, made from different strata of rock, will represent the mineral water’s journey from mountain to bottle.
Qorner Tower, Quito, Ecuador
Courtesy Safdie Architects
One of the latest examples, Qorner Tower, is to open in the Ecuadorian capital Quito later this year. Designed by Israeli-born architect Moshe Safdie’s eponymous firm, a Jenga tower-like configuration helps create stacked terraces for trees and plants across two of the tower’s faces. The north-facing facade will meanwhile feature a huge “living wall” populated with native plant species.
Square windows give the building Safdie’s characteristically pixelated appearance. And at 24 stories high, the tower will be among the tallest in the South American city — a fact that won’t be lost on residents using the tree-lined infinity pool on its roof.
New parliament building, New Delhi, India
HCP Design, Planning and Management Pvt. Ltd.
A new parliament building stands at the heart of architecture firm HCP’s district plan. With its triangular form alluding to the sacred geometries of several religions, the building will contain two horseshoe-shaped chambers for the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha — the parliament’s upper and lower houses, respectively — and a light-filled Constitution Hall to display India’s written constitution.
Fotografiska, Berlin, Germany
Three decades after an art collective occupied Berlin’s historic Kunsthaus Tacheles to save it from demolition, the building is being transformed into a German outpost for the Fotografiska photography museum.
Complete with three floors of exhibition space, the museum will open in fall 2022.
Aranya ‘Cloud Center’, Qinhuangdao, China
Designed using the Chinese architect’s distinctive curves, the building’s polished exterior gives it the appearance of a shiny pebble reflecting the lush surroundings — or a “floating cloud by the sea,” as Ma’s firm described it in a press release. The center will comprise a theater and exhibition space, while a series of overhangs create cover for tranquil public spaces.
Iconic Tower, New Administrative Capital, Egypt
Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images
The tower will be primarily used for private offices, though the Egyptian government is also relocating the country’s parliament and ministries to the ambitious new city.
Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial, Newtown, United States
Named “The Clearing” by the winning architects SWA Group, the 1.8-acre memorial will lead visitors through woodland and meadows via a network of circular paths. A water feature — with a sycamore tree planted at its center — will spiral inwards, reinforcing the circle theme pervading the thoughtful design.
“We wanted to acknowledge that the healing process does not end, but continues and grows,” said co-designer Daniel Affleck in a press statement.
Yongjia World Trade Centre, Wenzhou, China