2020 will be remembered in history as the year when the world stopped, and architecture (and all industries) stopped as well. The global crisis generated by the pandemic put on hold the majority of the architectural projects that many expected to see that year, but it also accelerated the completion of others.
The projects that managed to be completed despite the restrictions are certainly iconic. So we’ll take a brief trip along 4 of the monumental works that the most famous architectural studios finished in 2020, having the opportunity to see, through them, the direction that architecture will have in the near future. Ready? Here we go!
The Opus by Zaha Hadid (Dubai)
The Opus is the only hotel designed entirely by the deceased architect Zaha Hadid, and its culmination serves as a tribute to the memory of this genius. It has a privileged location, as it’s close to the famous Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai.
The sinuous-shaped building is perhaps one of the projects that can give us a hint about the constructions that we’ll see in the future. With a total area of 84,300 square meters, the hotel is formed by two separate towers that end up joining to form a cube torn in the center. Regardless of the direction from which you look at this hotel, the void in the center is breathtaking. The 71-meter-high hotel is certainly a gem of modern architecture and one of the most impressive landmarks of 2020.
Axel Springer by OMA (Berlin)
The headquarters of the media group Axel Springer (the largest in Germany) is a symbol of the transition from old to new information structures in the world. And although internally the architecture studio OMA kept the structure of traditional newsrooms within newspapers, its entire facade and overall structure is something else.
The first thing you notice is the irregular shape that is covered by a glazed skin with a central opening that shows part of the interior towards the street, which gives reporters some sort of connection with the reality that surrounds them. Ironically, the pandemic accelerated the completion of this 52,000 square-meter workspace construction designed for more than 3,000 employees. One of the most outstanding characteristics of the new headquarters of Axel Springer is its open and transparent architecture that even allows visitors to take a look at the daily activities of the company.
Atelier Museum Audemars Piguet by BIG (Le Brassus)
The Atelier Museum Audemars Piguet is a museum, workshop, and archive that BIG designed for the luxury watch brand. Located in the small town of Le Brassus, the building is in the middle of the countryside of Vallée de Joux. Completed in 2020, this museum consists of a double spiral building with green roof and curved glass wall facade.
The museum has more than two thousand square meters and allows visitors to intuitively move in concentric circles through the exhibition spaces
The Crystal by Safdie Architects (Chongqing)
One look at The Crystal building provokes vertigo. The architects of Safdie Architects masterfully dared to place a gigantic bridge on it as a horizontal skyscraper. Thanks to this detail this skyscraper stands as a unique work, resting on four huge buildings at 250-meters-high.
This building was inaugurated in May 2020 in Chongqing, China. It has a glass viewpoint, capacity for 3,000 people, a private club, a swimming pool, and an area that has been called Garden of Heaven, with bars and restaurants, which opened to the public last Fall.
As you can see, the trend of what we saw in 2020 seems to indicate that the architecture of the future will be dominated by smart building with shapes never seen before, and above all energy-sustainable.