A new age in architecture: 2019’s top-five architectural masterpieces
All around the world, master architects are continuously raising the bar, producing ever-larger, ever-more creative and ever-more luxurious buildings that smash existing records. This year will see the completion of a number of new landmark buildings and modern architectural masterpieces.
111 West 57th Street: “Steinway to heaven”: The world’s thinnest building
Work on this brand-new skyscraper in New York is progressing at a rapid pace. Nestled in between glass-fronted giants like the One57, the “Steinway Tower” soars above its counterparts on Manhattan’s West 57th Street – known locally as “Billionaire’s Row” due to its high concentration of luxury high-rise apartments. The new building at number 111 incorporates the listed Steinway Hall and a new skyscraper conceived by architects at SHoP.
The tower is over 435 metres tall and has a width to height ratio of just 1:24, earning it the title of the thinnest skyscraper in the world.
On the east and west facades, terracotta tiles and contoured golden window frames reflect the sunlight. The attractive design of the opaque exterior stands in stark contrast to New York’s typical straight and streamlined skyscraper architecture. The north and south faces of the building are made up almost entirely of glass, providing panoramic views of Central Park and the Midtown skyline from the apartments inside. Each of the luxury residences – which have custom interiors created by design studio Sofield – occupies an entire floor of the building. The penthouses at the top of the building are split across two levels. The lower levels will house the lobby, a number of shops and a gym for future residents.
Beijing-Daxing International: A record-breaking mega airport
Beijing’s new airport is just one of the many visionary architectural legacies of Zaha Hadid: The new airport by the iconic architect will far surpass the dimensions of the existing Capital Airport. The symmetrical, flower-shaped layout means that travel distances to the four runways are short, and provides maximum flexibility for expansion in the future. Following its completion in 2019, around 72 million travellers will pass through the world’s largest passenger terminal each year. But the airport has set its sights on even bigger things:
In the future, it will process around 100 million passengers and around four million tonnes of freight annually. The 700,000-square-metre terminal building and 80,000-square-metre ground transport centre are set to become a crucial hub in Beijing’s growing transport network, driving future economic growth in the region. To maximise its potential as a catalyst for prosperity, engineers at airport construction specialists ADP-I ensured that the new airport will be fully connected to the local and national rail network and the high-speed “Gao Tie” line.
M+ Museum: A new addition to Hong Kong’s cultural scene
In the cultural quarter of West Kowloon in Hong Kong, a new building is set to rewrite cultural and architectural history. The M+ Museum for visual culture – designed by renowned Swiss architectural duo Herzog & de Meuron in partnership with British firm Farrells – will be yet another architectural landmark for the Asian continent.
At 60,000 square metres, the building will be the largest museum dedicated to visual culture in the 20th and 21st centuries.
The unusual cultural space at Victoria Harbour is designed to reflect the character of the skyline and the cultural diversity of Kowloon. Its open, transparent structure will ensure that the museum becomes a place of accessible innovation. The two-part design includes a horizontal platform for the exhibition spaces and a semi-transparent tower, which will house a research centre, shops and restaurants when the building opens in 2019.
RAI nhow Hotel: Iconic architecture in Amsterdam’s business district
Amsterdam’s burgeoning business district will soon be the perfect place to rest your head after attending one of the many events on the city’s vast programme. The RAI nhow, designed by Dutch firm OMA, will be the largest hotel complex in Benelux on completion, serving as a meeting point for event organisers, exhibitors and visitors to the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre; in fact, the triangular design of the new building was inspired by the architectural style of the RAI.
Three glass “boxes” stacked at different angles around a glass core wind 91 metres into the air. The innovative and ultra-modern design continues inside the 650 rooms distributed across 25 floors. In addition to a restaurant and spa area, the new hotel will also boast its own gallery and sculpture garden. A television studio has already leased the space directly beneath the roof.
You can track the status of the project and find out about the latest developments on the live stream on the nhow portal.
New perspectives: An architecturally designed Alpine path
This extraordinary piece of architecture strikes a harmonious chord between design and nature. Using thought-provoking philosophical quotations to encourage you to live in the moment, the Perspektivenweg walking trail by Norwegian-American firm Snøhetta in Austria’s Nordkette mountains incorporates a series of fascinating Alpine architectural highlights.
The new walking trail starts directly behind the listed Seegrube mountain station, at an altitude of 1905 metres. Taking in ten architectural installations over the course of a 45-minute walk, the seating along the route is decorated with quotes from Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. The corten steel and larch wood construction elements blend in seamlessly with their natural backdrop, appearing to rise directly from the landscape.
Whether you’re flying into Beijing, resting your head in a hotel in Amsterdam or exploring an Alpine trail.
2019’s architectural masterpieces prove that the design world is certainly not running short on vision and ambition.
What is your favourite new architectural design? Tell us about the places you’d love to explore.