The prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has launched a brand-new international award that highlights the best new buildings from around the world. The institute has selected 30 buildings varying in size, cost, and style – each of which displays architectural innovation and excellence.
There are plenty of familiar names among the selection, including Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), HOK, David Chipperfield, Zaha Hadid, and Vo Trong Nghia Architects. Over the coming months, the 30 buildings will be whittled down to 20, and then just six, before an overall winner of the RIBA International Prize is finally crowned later this year.
We've selected a few highlights below.
Heydar Aliyev Center – Zaha Hadid Architects
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Zaha Hadid's masterful Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan, shows the now deceased Iraqi-British architect at the top of her game. Intended to offer a cultural building that moves forward from Azerbaijan's Soviet past and its (admittedly wonderful) Constructivist architecture, the building's fluid form is a marvel of design both inside and outside.
Its construction was noteworthy, too. The Heydar Aliyev Center was built with a twin space frame system and concrete structure which incorporates both the flowing form and its underlying rigidity, while taking into account potential issues like wind loads and seismic activity. This one must be a strong contender for the overall prize later in the year.
Farming Kindergarten – Vo Trong Nghia Architects
Vietnamese firm Vo Trong Nghia Architects designed the Farming Kindergarten to serve up to 500 children of low-income factory workers at an adjacent shoe factory owned by the Pou Chen Corporation, which makes footwear for the likes of Nike, Adidas, Reebok, etc.
The two-story building was built with budget firmly in mind (around US$500 per sq m, including all equipment and finishes), and is characterized by a triple-ring green roof that encloses three secure playgrounds. The green roof serves as both an additional playground and a vegetable garden for the kids to learn how to grow food. The building is passively-cooled and features a rainwater recycling and irrigation system.
Sky Terrace @ Dawson – SCDA Architects
SCDA Architects' Singapore-based development, the Sky Terrace @ Dawson, comprises five residential towers rising to a height of 40 to 43 floors. Each tower is connected by bridges which enables occupants to move between the towers without being required to venture to ground level.
The project was mostly constructed from precast concrete to minimize on-site wastage, and the apartments are cooled naturally with carefully-placed solar shading and natural ventilation. Rooftop-based solar arrays generate the power required for common areas and a rainwater harvesting system irrigates the extensive greenery.
Head to the gallery to see each of the 30 entries.