When the Iraqi government reclaimed Mosul from ISIS in 2017, destroyed and damaged structures dotted the city. But restoring the nearly 850-year-old Al-Nouri Mosque complex holds far more significance than simply repairing bricks and mortar. “Landmarks are very important in the recovery process, because they embody the values and the identity of the community,” says Maria Rita Acetoso, conservationist and senior project manager at UNESCO. The project is funded by the United Arab Emirates and guided by UNESCO, with support from the Iraqi Ministry of Culture and Sunni Endowment.
18th Most Influential Project of 2021
Ghanaian-British starchitect David Adjaye has a vision for the Edo Museum of West African Art in Benin City, Nigeria. He wants to immerse visitors in objects, while “undoing … the objectification” of African art from the Western perspective. The building will sit atop the ruins of the capital of the Kingdom of Benin, which the British sacked in 1897. Archaeologists, working with the British Museum, will unearth parts of the fallen city, and the artifacts they uncover will be housed nearly in situ at the museum. By integrating archeology into the project design, the museum underscores how the past informs the present—and offers visitors an opportunity to truly appreciate the culture of Benin City.
40th Most Influential Project of 2021
To the naked eye, Dubai’s Museum of the Future looks as though it’s been lowered from space, gently floating alongside the busy Sheikh Zayed Road. In actuality, the building is firmly grounded—structurally and strategically. The AED500 million project, sponsored by the Dubai Future Foundation, will deliver a community site for exhibits, immersive theater and themed attractions. Its mission: to explore today’s most pressing threats while highlighting possible solutions.
45th Most Influential Project of 2021
Building into the clouds always comes with risk, but Japan also sits in one of the most active earthquake zones on the planet—making skyscraper construction especially fraught. So the team behind the country’s tallest building is going in prepared. In unveiling the designs in September 2020, developer Mitsubishi Estate says the tower will have the “highest level of seismic resistance” and will include public spaces that can serve as shelters in the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster. But it doesn’t sacrifice style. Scheduled for completion in 2027, the JPY500 billion office tower will stretch 390 meters (1,279 feet) up, and include a sprawling observation deck with views of Mount Fuji and the city center.
Amazon isn’t exactly known for going small. Case in point: the ecommerce giant’s new US$5 billion second headquarters—dubbed HQ2—glass and steel behemoth set on a sprawling 278,709-square-meter (3 million-square-foot) campus in Arlington, Virginia, USA. To foster community at such a mammoth scale, architecture firm NBBJ added features to serve both employees (a daycare facility, ample meeting zones and casual collaboration areas) and area residents (a community center, open public areas and gardens). The building’s helical shape, studded with foliage, is also an outright
A stationary train permanently parked in the middle of a bridge may seem like an unlikely location for a luxury hotel. But the team behind Kruger Shalati is simply making the most of its location in South Africa’s iconic Kruger National Park. Motsayami Tourism Group created the 31-room "Afro-chic" hotel as an homage to past park explorers, who were once only allowed to visit by train and would sleep overnight in the very spot the hotel is located on. The much-upgraded experience still offers views of the majestic scenery, but in more glam mode conjured up by Cape Town design firm Hesse Kleinloog in collaboration with local artists. Though the pandemic shifted the team’s schedule, the hotel was still able to open in December 2020, debuting as what Travel & Leisure calls "possibly the coolest hotel in the world."
Made of white concrete dramatically punctuated by irregular glass openings that cover more than half of its surface, Wormhole Library in Haikou, China looks otherworldly. The sinuous, seamless structure (made possible by computer numeric control processes and 3D printing) was designed by Chinese starchitects MAD "to be a wormhole that transcends time and space." Inside, the building is intimate but no less noteworthy: The library doesn’t have a single right angle—save for the books, of course. Overlooking the South China Sea, the library is part a rejuvenation plan to improve public space along the Haikou Bay coastline.
Designed by ADDP Architects, the 988 apartments in these two Singapore skyscrapers will be assembled like a Lego set, with teams using nearly 3,000 vertically stacked modules that snap together. Factory-made, concrete-cast modules will be made in Malaysia, then fitted and furnished at a separate facility, then assembled at the building site. The firm estimates 80 percent of the work on each module will be completed off site, minimizing disruption to businesses and allowing for greater social distancing measures during construction. Upon completion in 2026, the prefab towers will nab the title of world’s tallest modular construction for developers UOL Group Ltd. and Kheng Leong Co.
When construction is completed this year, Cairo’s US$1 billion museum will stand as one of the largest in the world. The colossal complex, first announced in 1992, was designed by Heneghan Peng Architects with a team that included 300 people from 13 companies in six different countries. The 480,000-square-meter (5.1 million-square-foot) site will house 100,000 Egyptian artifacts along with a children’s museum, conference facilities, educational areas, a conservation center and extensive gardens. But its star attraction will be the Tutankhamun collection, displaying all 5,600 objects from the boy pharaoh’s tomb together for the first time.
The project causing a big splash in London? A crystal-clear swimming pool floating 35 meters (115 feet) in the air. Suspended between a pair of residential buildings at Embassy Gardens, the structure is the brainchild of developer EcoWorld Ballymore and required four years of cross-continent collaboration among project partners HAL Architects, Arup Architecture, structural engineer Eckersley O’Callaghan and U.S. manufacturer Reynolds Polymer Technology. To build the basin, the team drew on lessons learned from manufacturing major aquariums, then performed extensive strength and stability testing before relocating the pool from its U.S. manufacturing site to its new U.K. digs.