Check out some of the most “spectacular” buildings of 2021

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An impressive steel tower inspired by Van Gogh’s brushstrokes. A cozy 3D printed house made from the surrounding ground. An airy gallery on its own island. These are some of the new buildings and renovations considered the “most impressive” of the year by the renowned architectural magazine Architectural Digest (AD).

The magazine selected 20 innovative projects for its new WOW List to be featured alongside the AD100, an annual index of architectural and design talent.

For the January issue—the magazine’s first global issue—AD editors from around the world gathered virtually to anoint the year’s most important architectural leaders and projects.

“Collaboration has always been an integral part of AD, so officially joining forces with our international network of editors was a natural next step,” Amy Astley, AD Global Editorial Director and US Editor-in-Chief, said via email.

Projects on the inaugural list include Ennead Architects’ supernatural Shanghai Astronomy Museum and Killa Design’s unconventional, circular Dubai Museum of the Future.

But the buildings selected aren’t just new structures built from scratch: the Hauser & Wirth mega-gallery earned a spot on the list for its new 16,000-square-foot (about 5 km) space on Isla del Rey in Menorca, Spain, which was once a deactivated naval hospital.

Luis Laplace was responsible for restoring the buildings, which date back to the 18th century, while Piet Oudolf renovated the surrounding landscape with native plants.

Maite Sebastia, head of editorial content at AD Spain, says the gallery “is an example of what architectural projects should be in the future. It reveals the collaborative way of doing architecture now, with the presence of local artists and local talent, who respect the environment with native species and with the historical context.”

The WOW List includes projects by famous architects as well as studios that have been on the rise over the past decade. In Arles, France, editors chose Frank Gehry’s Torre Luma, a concrete building fitted on one side with 11,000 corrugated stainless steel panels to evoke Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” pictorial brushwork, painted nearby earlier 130 years old.

As the light changes during the day, the facade reflects the vibrant hues of the sky. “It is a work of art that houses one of the most remarkable art collections in the world. The tower is the widely visible heart of a new 27-acre art district,” said Oliver Jahn, deputy director of global editorial at AD. “Once again, Gehry has composed much more than a mere building, but a spectacular landmark and one of the most iconic architectural feats of 2021.”

Meanwhile, northeast of Beijing, the brooding Chapel of Sound of husband-and-wife Open Architecture team was selected for the way it coexists rather than stands out. Li Hu and Huang Wenjing designed the concert hall in layers to look like a natural part of the surrounding valley.

Inside, the structure opens to the sky. “Chapel of Sound presents light and shadow, sound and silence and, most importantly, coexists with the surrounding nature,” said Beryl Hsu, Editor-in-Chief of AD China.

“In China, the rapid development has unleashed numerous reference architectures, among which the Capela do Som serves the purpose. But much more than that, it shows the existence of man-made architecture among nature and provides a poetic way of life.”

The full list of AD Wonder Works can be seen here.

(*This text has been translated. Click here to read the original in English)

Reference: CNN Brasil

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