Nothing can shape an urban environment quite like architecture. From subtle and sublime to bold and daring, 2018 saw a number of new architectural projects by some of the world’s leading architecture firms reach their completion across cities around the globe, while new projects currently underway are already promising a no less exciting new year ahead. From this year’s defining new completions to glimpses of upcoming inspirational projects slated to shape the international skylines in the near future, we take a look at what some of the world’s biggest names in architecture have been creating, building and imagining for cities around the world.
Helmed by the visionary architect Thomas Heatherwick, London-based Heatherwick Studio can’t seem to stop generating one jaw-dropping project after another. Focusing on large-scale international projects, Heatherwick Studio is currently working on over 30 projects in 10 countries including major new headquarters for Google in Silicon Valley and London, a landmark for Hudson Yards in Manhattan, New York, both slated for completion in 2019, as well as Changi Airport Terminal 5 in Singapore, together with KPF.
In 2018, Heatherwick Studio had also completed Coal Drop Yards, a large retail quarter in London that made use of two historic coal drops buildings to create a 10,000-square-foot destination for shopping, dining and events.
Zaha Hadid Architects
After the passing of Dame Zaha Hadid in 2016, her architectural studio Zaha Hadid Architects continues to carry on the legendary architect’s legacy with projects that bring Hadid’s unmistakable design aesthetic to new and upcoming builds.
Currently under construction is Leeza SOHO – a twisting glass tower within the Lize Financial Business District Beijing – and Beijing New Airport Terminal. Also, almost most completed is the Miami skyline-altering One Thousand Museum, a 62-storey super-luxury condominium with views of Miami Beach and a daring concrete exoskeleton structure that forms a rigid tube highly resistant to Miami’s winds.
Herzog & de Meuron
While the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron has designed a wide range of projects from small to the large urban scale, it is their public facilities such as stadiums and museums that often stand out as the most iconic among the firm’s project typologies. 2018 has been no exception with the completion of the well-received Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts in Hong Kong, a new destination that transformed the former Central Police Station into a hub of cultural activities.
Slated for completion in 2019 is Herzog & de Meuron’s M+ Museum for 20th and 21st century art, design, architecture and the moving image in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, while looking further ahead, the firm will serve as a design consultant for Harvard Graduate School of Design’s significant expansion and retrofit of the school’s Gund Hall.
Founded in 1988 by Ben van Verkel and Caroline Bos, UNStudio has been designing successful projects in cities across Asia, Europe and North America ever since its inception. With philosophy grounded in theoretical and practical experience, the firm continues to expand its portfolio of projects across several disciplines, including architecture, interior, product and urban design.
2018 saw the commencement of construction of UNStudio’s long-anticipated Lyric Theatre Complex in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District and completion of two new projects in Singapore – V on Shenton and Scotts Tower – both incorporating biophilic principles in their design.
Kengo Kuma and Associates
Known for designing projects that merge harmoniously and deliberately with their environment, Kengo Kuma and Associates has had an active 2018, extending the firm’s extensive portfolio of projects on a global scale.
Following the success of Kuma’s first UK building – the stunning, Victoria and Albert Museum in Dundee, United Kingdom – Kuma is continuing his legacy with the recently won competition to design a new exhibition centre in Strasbourg, France, and the Maritime History Museum of Saint-Malo, the Musee Albert Kahn and the Gare Saint-Denis Pleyel, all of which are currently under construction.