Hours after flames tore through the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in April 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron vowed the 800-year-old cathedral would be restored in time for the city’s 2024 Olympics. To reach that ambitious goal, the renovation team must stare down budget and environmental obstacles. But one debate was settled in July: Macron declared that Notre Dame’s signature timber spire—which some proposed to reimagine with stained glass or copper—would retain its original design.
31st Most Influential Project of 2020
The world’s tallest timber building serves as a blueprint for other ambitious and sustainability minded developers across the globe. Completed in 2019 by contractor and project developer Hent AS, the 18-story Mjøstårnet tower in Brumunddal, Norway is 85.4 meters (280 feet) tall. Wood construction can accelerate project timelines, because timber doesn’t require the setting time of poured materials like concrete.
42nd Most Influential Project of 2020
The signature arts space of the Hudson Yards development in New York, New York, USA can literally shape-shift to meet the demands of whatever exhibit or cultural event is taking place. The Shed, which opened in April 2019, is an eight-story building with a 120-foot (36-meter) telescopic shell that rolls out on eight small wheels to expand the size of the event space. Guillotine doors on three sides of the building are lifted by electric drum winches to create an open-air pavilion that is light-, sound- and temperature-controlled—with room for 3,000 guests.
Designed by French firm Jean Nouvel Ateliers, this estimated US$434 million museum megaproject in Doha is constructed out of interlocking discs that don’t just create a stunning visual—they also protect visitors from the desert heat. Opened in March 2019, the 40,000-square-meter (430,000-squarefoot) edifice appears to rise from the sea, tethered to the shore by two pedestrian bridges and a road bridge.
Created by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, this sinuous skyscraper’s signature biomorphic form was created using nearly 11,500 flat glass panels. The striking design also helped the team resolve structural challenges—from wind forces to seismic threats—common to the Chinese city. Certified LEED gold, the multiuse building ranked as the world’s eighth-tallest when it opened last September, stretching 530 meters (1,739 feet) toward the sky.
Infrastructure meets culture in Jevnaker, Norway: The city’s Twist Museum also doubles as a bridge across the Randselva River. Opened in September 2019, the structure was designed by Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group to link two distinct art galleries.
This stadium in London, England debuted in April 2019 with the world’s first dividing, retractable football pitch—revealing a second playing surface for American football games. To make the most of the club’s die-hard fans, architecture firm Populous created a lip around the roof that amplifies the noise and sends it back into the stadium. Spectators will also find 65 food and drink outlets, three bars and 471 toilets—84 percent for women.
As envisioned by local firm Querkraft Architekten, this eco-friendly Ikea outlet will be covered in greenery and include a large green roof. It could also lead retail toward a car-free future. Construction began in January, with plans for a modular space arranged to accommodate loads of foot traffic—and no parking.
The ME Dubai hotel tucked inside this mixed-use building is the only hotel in the world with the distinction of having both its interiors and exteriors designed by the late starchitect Zaha Hadid. And it does not disappoint: The building looks like a giant cube with big blob punched out in the middle. But it’s actually a pair of towers connected at the top and bottom to create the effect. And inside, it’s all curves, from the furniture to the balconies.
For Starbucks, this coffee shop isn’t just the biggest of its outlets—it’s “five stories of coffee theater.” A takeover of the iconic Crate and Barrel store in Chicago, Illinois, USA, the space forced the design teams from Starbucks and Perkins and Will to think vertically: Behold the multistory, 56-foot (17-meter) steel and aluminum cask that lets visitors watch roasted beans moving through tubes. Oh, and there’s a cocktail bar and a roof deck, too.