Architecture

From dancing skyscrapers to giant Lego: The best buildings of 2017

From dancing skyscrapers to gi...
New Atlas highlights the very best buildings of 2017
New Atlas highlights the very best buildings of 2017
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The Lego House appears to be constructed from oversized Lego bricks
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The Lego House appears to be constructed from oversized Lego bricks
The Lego House rises to a height of 23 m (75 ft)
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The Lego House rises to a height of 23 m (75 ft)
The Lego House measures 12,000 sq m (129,166 sq ft)
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The Lego House measures 12,000 sq m (129,166 sq ft)
Inside, the Lego House includes areas both free and requiring a ticket
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Inside, the Lego House includes areas both free and requiring a ticket
New Atlas highlights the very best buildings of 2017
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New Atlas highlights the very best buildings of 2017
The Lego House is packed with Lego exhibitions, memorabilia and history
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The Lego House is packed with Lego exhibitions, memorabilia and history
The top of the Lego House is given over to the Masterpiece Gallery, a curated collection of Lego fans' best creations
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The top of the Lego House is given over to the Masterpiece Gallery, a curated collection of Lego fans' best creations
The Lego House replaces the Danish city of Billund's former City Hall building
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The Lego House replaces the Danish city of Billund's former City Hall building
The Lego House formally opened on September 28
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The Lego House formally opened on September 28
The Lego House's large central square is open to the public, allowing visitors and locals to take a shortcut through the building
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The Lego House's large central square is open to the public, allowing visitors and locals to take a shortcut through the building
Naturally, the Lego House is packed with both fan and Lego made creations
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Naturally, the Lego House is packed with both fan and Lego made creations
Though the Zeitz MOCAA building looks like a single structure, it comprised a grading tower and 42 concrete tubes inside
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Though the Zeitz MOCAA building looks like a single structure, it comprised a grading tower and 42 concrete tubes inside
Built in the 1920s on Cape Town's V&A Waterfront, the grain silo originally stored and graded corn from all over South Africa
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Built in the 1920s on Cape Town's V&A Waterfront, the grain silo originally stored and graded corn from all over South Africa
The Zeitz MOCAA's cathedral-like atrium
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The Zeitz MOCAA's cathedral-like atrium
The Zeitz MOCAA's atrium is modeled after a single grain of corn
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The Zeitz MOCAA's atrium is modeled after a single grain of corn
Each of the Zeitz MOCAA's carved tubes was capped with a panel of laminated glass to bring daylight into the atrium
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Each of the Zeitz MOCAA's carved tubes was capped with a panel of laminated glass to bring daylight into the atrium
Zaha Hadid Architects' KAPSARC (King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre) offers a venue for scientists to research reducing energy use
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Zaha Hadid Architects' KAPSARC (King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre) offers a venue for scientists to research reducing energy use
KAPSARC is located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
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KAPSARC is located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
KAPSARC comprises five buildings: the Energy Knowledge Centre, the Energy Computer Centre, the Conference Centre with exhibition hall and auditorium, the Research Library with archives consisting of 100,000 volumes, and finally the Musalla, a place for prayer
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KAPSARC comprises five buildings: the Energy Knowledge Centre, the Energy Computer Centre, the Conference Centre with exhibition hall and auditorium, the Research Library with archives consisting of 100,000 volumes, and finally the Musalla, a place for prayer
KAPSARC is Zaha Hadid Architects' first project to be awarded LEED Platinum (a green building standard)
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KAPSARC is Zaha Hadid Architects' first project to be awarded LEED Platinum (a green building standard)
KAPSARC measures a total of 70,000 sq m (753,473 sq ft)
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KAPSARC measures a total of 70,000 sq m (753,473 sq ft)
KAPSARC comprises five buildings: the Energy Knowledge Centre, the Energy Computer Centre, the Conference Centre with exhibition hall and auditorium, the Research Library with archives consisting of 100,000 volumes, and finally the Musalla, a place for prayer
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KAPSARC comprises five buildings: the Energy Knowledge Centre, the Energy Computer Centre, the Conference Centre with exhibition hall and auditorium, the Research Library with archives consisting of 100,000 volumes, and finally the Musalla, a place for prayer
All of KAPSARC's potable water is recycled and reused on-site and 100 percent of irrigation water is derived from non-potable sources
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All of KAPSARC's potable water is recycled and reused on-site and 100 percent of irrigation water is derived from non-potable sources
A solar PV array is located on the roof of KAPSARC's south-facing Conference Centre 
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A solar PV array is located on the roof of KAPSARC's south-facing Conference Centre 
Zaha Hadid Architects' KAPSARC (King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre) offers a venue for scientists to look into energy use reduction
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Zaha Hadid Architects' KAPSARC (King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre) offers a venue for scientists to look into energy use reduction
KAPSARC's buildings are interconnected, with shared public spaces, and take the form of hexagonal prismatic honeycomb structures arranged around a large public courtyard shaded by canopies
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KAPSARC's buildings are interconnected, with shared public spaces, and take the form of hexagonal prismatic honeycomb structures arranged around a large public courtyard shaded by canopies
The recently-completed Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre (pictured on the right)  is actually one of a pair of towers referred to as the Guangzhou Twin Towers
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The recently-completed Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre (pictured on the right)  is actually one of a pair of towers referred to as the Guangzhou Twin Towers
The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
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The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre's total floorspace of 508,000 sq m (5.4 million sq ft) is split between office space, residential space, and a hotel
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The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre's total floorspace of 508,000 sq m (5.4 million sq ft) is split between office space, residential space, and a hotel
The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre rises to a total height of 530 m (1,739 ft) on a site overlooking the Pearl River in Guangzhou, China
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The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre rises to a total height of 530 m (1,739 ft) on a site overlooking the Pearl River in Guangzhou, China
There will be up to 30,000 people within Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre in a single day
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There will be up to 30,000 people within Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre in a single day
The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre features public transportation links and energy-efficient cooling and heating
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The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre features public transportation links and energy-efficient cooling and heating
The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre is currently rated as the world's fifth tallest building
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The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre is currently rated as the world's fifth tallest building
La Seine Musicale was designed in collaboration with local architect Jean de Gastines
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La Seine Musicale was designed in collaboration with local architect Jean de Gastines
La Seine Musicale's eye-catching auditorium is part-covered with a huge "solar sail"
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La Seine Musicale's eye-catching auditorium is part-covered with a huge "solar sail"
La Seine Musicale was designed in collaboration with local architect Jean de Gastines
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La Seine Musicale was designed in collaboration with local architect Jean de Gastines
La Seine Musicale was completed in December, 2016 and opened last month
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La Seine Musicale was completed in December, 2016 and opened last month
La Seine Musicale was designed in collaboration with local architect Jean de Gastines
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La Seine Musicale was designed in collaboration with local architect Jean de Gastines
La Seine Musicale's shape resembles an ocean liner
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La Seine Musicale's shape resembles an ocean liner
La Seine Musicale was designed from the ground-up to be accessible to the public
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La Seine Musicale was designed from the ground-up to be accessible to the public
La Seine Musicale is located on the Île Seguin, a small island in the middle of the Seine
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La Seine Musicale is located on the Île Seguin, a small island in the middle of the Seine
La Seine Musicale's foyer 
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La Seine Musicale's foyer 
La Seine Musicale's timber work is extraordinary 
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La Seine Musicale's timber work is extraordinary 
La Seine Musicale's interior boasts intricate wood detailing
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La Seine Musicale's interior boasts intricate wood detailing
La Seine Musicale's timber work includes delicate woven timber patterns
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La Seine Musicale's timber work includes delicate woven timber patterns
La Seine Musicale's foyer
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La Seine Musicale's foyer
La Seine Musicale's timber work includes 1,000 wooden hexagons adorning the acoustic ceiling
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La Seine Musicale's timber work includes 1,000 wooden hexagons adorning the acoustic ceiling
La Seine Musicale's interior boasts intricate wood detailing
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La Seine Musicale's interior boasts intricate wood detailing
La Seine Musicale's solar sail is self-powered, and moves in gradual increments every 15 minutes to follow the path of the sun
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La Seine Musicale's solar sail is self-powered, and moves in gradual increments every 15 minutes to follow the path of the sun
The Bamboo Sports Hall at Panyaden International School entered use this year
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The Bamboo Sports Hall at Panyaden International School entered use this year
The Bamboo Sports Hall at Panyaden International School entered use this year
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The Bamboo Sports Hall at Panyaden International School entered use this year
The design for the Bamboo Sports Hall at Panyaden International School is inspired by the lotus flower
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The design for the Bamboo Sports Hall at Panyaden International School is inspired by the lotus flower
The Bamboo Sports Hall at Panyaden International School from above
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The Bamboo Sports Hall at Panyaden International School from above
Students gather in the Bamboo Sports Hall at Panyaden International School
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Students gather in the Bamboo Sports Hall at Panyaden International School
Bamboo is strong, versatile and sustainable
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Bamboo is strong, versatile and sustainable
The Bamboo Sports Hall for Panyaden International School aims to combat the hot and wet climate with open, natural ventilation
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The Bamboo Sports Hall for Panyaden International School aims to combat the hot and wet climate with open, natural ventilation
The space inside the Bamboo Sports Hall for Panyaden International School is 15 meters (50 ft) across and high
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The space inside the Bamboo Sports Hall for Panyaden International School is 15 meters (50 ft) across and high
The Bamboo Sports Hall at Panyaden International School
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The Bamboo Sports Hall at Panyaden International School
The American Copper Buildings' 761 residences range from studios to three-bedroom apartments, with 300 unique interior layouts
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The American Copper Buildings' 761 residences range from studios to three-bedroom apartments, with 300 unique interior layouts
The American Copper Buildings' apartments offer excellent views over Manhattan
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The American Copper Buildings' apartments offer excellent views over Manhattan
The American Copper Buildings' apartments are available for rent
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The American Copper Buildings' apartments are available for rent
The American Copper Buildings rise to a height of 41 and 48 stories respectively
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The American Copper Buildings rise to a height of 41 and 48 stories respectively
Even in Manhattan, which isn't exactly lacking in eye-catching skyscrapers, SHoP's aptly-named American Copper Buildings make an impact
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Even in Manhattan, which isn't exactly lacking in eye-catching skyscrapers, SHoP's aptly-named American Copper Buildings make an impact
The American Copper Buildings' facade will patina with time
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The American Copper Buildings' facade will patina with time
The American Copper Buildings are connected by a sky bridge which includes amenities like a lap pool and hot tub
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The American Copper Buildings are connected by a sky bridge which includes amenities like a lap pool and hot tub
The American Copper Buildings are connected by a 100 ft (30 m)-long sky bridge at a height of 300 ft (91 m)
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The American Copper Buildings are connected by a 100 ft (30 m)-long sky bridge at a height of 300 ft (91 m)
The American Copper Buildings are clad in 4.25 million pounds (1.9 m kg) of raw copper
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The American Copper Buildings are clad in 4.25 million pounds (1.9 m kg) of raw copper
Inside the American Copper Buildings
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Inside the American Copper Buildings
Apple Park will run entirely on renewable energy
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Apple Park will run entirely on renewable energy
Apple Park is clad in the world’s largest panels of curved glass
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Apple Park is clad in the world’s largest panels of curved glass
Copenhagen International School can accommodate up to 1,200 students
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Copenhagen International School can accommodate up to 1,200 students
Copenhagen International School has a total floorspace of 26,000 sq m (279,861 sq ft)
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Copenhagen International School has a total floorspace of 26,000 sq m (279,861 sq ft)
Copenhagen International School is subdivided into four towers, each ranging from five to seven stories in height
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Copenhagen International School is subdivided into four towers, each ranging from five to seven stories in height
C. F. Møller Architects arranged the solar panels decoratively in a way inspired by sequins
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C. F. Møller Architects arranged the solar panels decoratively in a way inspired by sequins
Copenhagen International School has a total of 12,000 solar panels adorning its facade
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Copenhagen International School has a total of 12,000 solar panels adorning its facade
Ai Weiwei's Fountain of Light on show at the Louvre Abu Dhabi
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Ai Weiwei's Fountain of Light on show at the Louvre Abu Dhabi
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is actually made up of 55 detached buildings and is intended as a man-made archipelago
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The Louvre Abu Dhabi is actually made up of 55 detached buildings and is intended as a man-made archipelago
Visitors to the Louvre Abu Dhabi take a look outside
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Visitors to the Louvre Abu Dhabi take a look outside
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is imagined as just one part of an extensive, and typically extravagant, cultural center for the Emirati capital
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The Louvre Abu Dhabi is imagined as just one part of an extensive, and typically extravagant, cultural center for the Emirati capital
On show at the Louvre's opening were loaned contemporary pieces shipped in from French museums, along with art from its own collection and an assortment of prehistoric artifacts
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On show at the Louvre's opening were loaned contemporary pieces shipped in from French museums, along with art from its own collection and an assortment of prehistoric artifacts
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is actually made up of 55 detached buildings and is intended as a man-made archipelago
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The Louvre Abu Dhabi is actually made up of 55 detached buildings and is intended as a man-made archipelago
While a standalone museum, the Louvre Abu Dhabi borrows its name from the famous French institute as part of an agreement between the French and UAE governments
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While a standalone museum, the Louvre Abu Dhabi borrows its name from the famous French institute as part of an agreement between the French and UAE governments
On show at the Louvre's opening were loaned contemporary pieces shipped in from French museums, along with art from its own collection and an assortment of prehistoric artifacts
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On show at the Louvre's opening were loaned contemporary pieces shipped in from French museums, along with art from its own collection and an assortment of prehistoric artifacts
Visitors enjoy an exhibit at the Louvre Abu Dhabi
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Visitors enjoy an exhibit at the Louvre Abu Dhabi
A look inside the Louvre Abu Dhabi
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A look inside the Louvre Abu Dhabi
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is actually made up of 55 detached buildings and is intended as a man-made archipelago
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The Louvre Abu Dhabi is actually made up of 55 detached buildings and is intended as a man-made archipelago
A stairway at the Louvre Abu Dhabi
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A stairway at the Louvre Abu Dhabi
An unused exhibition space at the Louvre Abu Dhabi
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An unused exhibition space at the Louvre Abu Dhabi
The dome is made up of eight separate layers of stainless steel and aluminum mesh, which combine to form a tapestry of 7,850 geometric holes for the sun to filter through
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The dome is made up of eight separate layers of stainless steel and aluminum mesh, which combine to form a tapestry of 7,850 geometric holes for the sun to filter through
A lifeguard watches over the waters of the Louvre Abu Dhabi
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A lifeguard watches over the waters of the Louvre Abu Dhabi
Jean Nouvel's Louvre Abu Dhabi really is a sight to behold
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Jean Nouvel's Louvre Abu Dhabi really is a sight to behold
Visitors enjoy the exhibits at the Louvre Abu Dhabi
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Visitors enjoy the exhibits at the Louvre Abu Dhabi
The dome is made up of eight separate layers of stainless steel and aluminum mesh, which combine to form a tapestry of 7,850 geometric holes for the sun to filter through
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The dome is made up of eight separate layers of stainless steel and aluminum mesh, which combine to form a tapestry of 7,850 geometric holes for the sun to filter through

Throughout the year, we've chased down the most interesting, innovative and sustainable buildings around the globe. Whether a Lego-shaped visitor's center, a beautiful bamboo sports hall, or a pair of "dancing" skyscrapers that can withstand extreme weather, each one represents architectural excellence. Read on for our selection of the best buildings of 2017.

Check out the gallery to see more photos and information on each of our picks or read on below for the best buildings of 2017, in no particular order.

Lego House – BIG

The Lego House is packed with Lego exhibitions, memorabilia and history
The Lego House is packed with Lego exhibitions, memorabilia and history

The Lego House, also known as Home of the Brick, is the product of a masterful matchup between Danish toymaker Lego and fellow countrymen, the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG).

Lego's new flagship building is located in its hometown of Billund and comprises 21 massive overlapping concrete blocks covered in brightly colored clay tiles to make them look like oversized Lego bricks. Its whimsical appearance belies the serious graft that went into the Lego House, however, and the 23 m (75 ft)-tall building required huge amounts of steel to enable the construction of an expansive central square without any visible columns.

Inside, the Lego House is packed with Lego exhibitions, memorabilia and history, with highlights including a tree made from over six million Lego bricks. Multiple play zones are installed to teach kids different styles of play. It's an ambitious, assured and playful project and has to rate amongst BIG's very best.

Zeitz MOCAA – Heatherwick Studio

Each of the Zeitz MOCAA's carved tubes was capped with a panel of laminated glass to bring daylight into the atrium
Each of the Zeitz MOCAA's carved tubes was capped with a panel of laminated glass to bring daylight into the atrium

Heatherwick Studio has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately following the failure of the ill-conceived Garden Bridge, but the high-profile firm has come back with one of its most successful projects to date with Zeitz MOCAA: a museum built from a 1920s-era Cape Town, South Africa grain silo.

The concrete building originally included a grain grading tower and 42 individual concrete tubes inside. Heatherwick Studio set to work carving a large atrium out of these tubes by cutting away sections to create a grand cathedral-like space, as well as smaller areas to serve as galleries. It really is quite unique and impressive inside.

The exterior sports glazing inspired by the bulging glazed texture of a Venetian lamp and, according to the firm, glows like an oversized lantern at night.

KAPSARC – Zaha Hadid Architects

All of KAPSARC's potable water is recycled and reused on-site and 100 percent of irrigation water is derived from non-potable sources
All of KAPSARC's potable water is recycled and reused on-site and 100 percent of irrigation water is derived from non-potable sources

Zaha Hadid passed away suddenly over a year ago but her firm hasn't missed a beat and continues to produce striking, unusual buildings. The latest of these is KAPSARC (King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre), a non-profit institution tasked with researching more efficient uses of energy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

KAPSARC's sunlight-reflecting bright white facade and hexagonal prismatic honeycomb structure lends it a striking appearance, like an oversized insect in the desert landscape. The project is laid-out so as to shelter the interior from the sun's harshest rays, while remaining open to northern and westerly cooling winds. A large central courtyard is shaded with canopies, though underground passages are still available for the hottest weather.

The prevailing breeze is channeled by "wind catchers" integrated into KAPSARC's roof, while potable water is recycled and reused on-site. A solar power array is installed atop the roof, too.

CTF Finance Centre – KPF

The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre features public transportation links and energy-efficient cooling and heating
The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre features public transportation links and energy-efficient cooling and heating

Fittingly, the country that hosts the Terracotta Army is also home to the world's tallest terracotta-clad tower. Rising to a height of 530 m (1,739 ft) the Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates-designed Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre is a stunning skyscraper that's rated the fifth tallest building in the world.

So why use terracotta? KPF acknowledges its historical use, and also says it's more environmentally-friendly than using aluminum, glass, or steel, as it can be more easily produced at multiple local sites rather than shipped-in from afar. It's also more resistant to corrosion and provides better thermal properties than glass. Its unique appearance doesn't hurt, either.

Around 30,000 people navigate the massive 508,000 sq m (5.4 million sq ft) of floorspace within the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre each day using 95 Hitachi elevators, which are among the world's fastest and travel at 72 km/h (44.7 mph).

La Seine Musicale – Shigeru Ban

La Seine Musicale is located on the Île Seguin, a small island in the middle of the Seine
La Seine Musicale is located on the Île Seguin, a small island in the middle of the Seine

Shigeru Ban is best known for using cheap materials like cardboard to build refugee shelters, but his La Seine Musicale in Paris reminds us that the starchitect is perfectly capable of producing grand, expensive works when the job requires it.

Designed with local architect Jean de Gastines, La Seine Musicale took three years to build and cost €170 m (about US$189 million). It includes a large multipurpose concert hall with exquisite wooden detailing, rehearsal and recording studios, as well as a covered street with retail and restaurant spaces, and more.

While you certainly could argue that the ship shape of the concert hall is a bit overly literal, the glazed egg-shaped auditorium is a really nice piece of design. It's part-covered by a "solar sail" that helps shade the interior from direct sunlight and is clad in solar panels and mounted on rails. Motors move the sail to track the course of the sun each day from east to west and catch the maximum possible rays, reducing the electricity required from the grid.

Bamboo Sports Hall – Chiangmai Life Architects

The Bamboo Sports Hall at Panyaden International School entered use this year
The Bamboo Sports Hall at Panyaden International School entered use this year

Bamboo is a surprisingly tough building material and can be produced sustainably and inexpensively. In the right hands, it can also be used to make beautiful buildings, such as this Bamboo Sports Hall, at Panyaden International School, in Thailand.

The ornate bamboo structure is inspired by the lotus flower and aims to combat the hot and wet climate with open, natural ventilation. The hall measures 15 m (50 ft) wide and tall, and the choice of building material resulted in a 90 percent reduction in the project's carbon footprint, compared to traditional building techniques.

The space is used for basketball, volleyball and badminton, and incorporates three smaller volleyball and badminton courts for practice. It also boasts a stage that can be lifted automatically for school assemblies, while balconies line the court so that parents and spectators can watch.

American Copper Buildings – SHoP Architects

The American Copper Buildings are connected by a sky bridge which includes amenities like a lap pool and hot tub
The American Copper Buildings are connected by a sky bridge which includes amenities like a lap pool and hot tub

SHoP's American Copper Buildings stand out even in skyscraper-packed Manhattan, NYC. Clad in 4.25 million lb (1.9 m kg) of copper that has already begun to patina and will continue to age over time, the twin luxury residential buildings are connected together with a skybridge and lean in a way likened to dancing by the firm.

The American Copper Buildings were completed following Hurricane Sandy. A space originally intended for a penthouse suite was given over to five gas-powered emergency generators that will give residents enough juice to run their fridges and charge mobile devices, etc – and use the elevators – for at least a week following a power outage.

Heating and ventilation systems are also installed far above street-level to lessen the risk of flood water rendering them inoperable.

Apple Park – Foster+Partners

Apple Park is clad in the world’s largest panels of curved glass
Apple Park is clad in the world’s largest panels of curved glass

Though currently in use, Foster+Partners' Apple Park still has an air of mystery about it as there are some finishing touches to be put in place before it's deemed officially complete and unveiled to the world's press. That said, what we do know already speaks to an impressive engineering achievement.

First unveiled back when Steve Jobs was still at Apple's helm, the new campus cost an estimated $5 billion and comprises 75 acres (71 hectares) of land, serving as workplace to over 12,000 employees. The circular office building is clad in the world's largest panels of curved glass and hailed as the world's largest naturally ventilated building by Apple. It's also solar-powered and gets its electricity from a huge 17-megawatt solar panel array. At its center is a large courtyard area.

A significant landscaping effort involved the planting of indigenous (and drought-resistant) plants and trees on the site and the main office building is also joined by a large Visitor Center and the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus. An existing barn dating back to the early 20th century on the site was preserved, too.

Copenhagen International School – C.F. Møller Architects

C. F. Møller Architects arranged the solar panels decoratively in a way inspired by sequins
C. F. Møller Architects arranged the solar panels decoratively in a way inspired by sequins

Solar panels are often considered unattractive additions to a building and hidden away out of sight, but the Copenhagen International School, by C.F. Møller Architects, makes a feature out of them.

The building has an exterior that's almost totally covered in solar panels, producing over half of its required electricity, which is quite an achievement in a Scandinavian country such as Denmark. A total of 12,000 solar panels are affixed to the school's exterior, measuring 6,048 sq m (65,100 sq ft). They're angled individually, and C.F. Møller says they are intended to resemble sequins. They definitely lend the school an attractive and distinctive appearance.

Other sustainable design in the school includes excellent insulation, rainwater harvesting, low-energy windows, and LED lighting.

Louvre Abu Dhabi – Jean Nouvel

The dome is made up of eight separate layers of stainless steel and aluminum mesh, which combine to form a tapestry of 7,850 geometric holes for the sun to filter through
The dome is made up of eight separate layers of stainless steel and aluminum mesh, which combine to form a tapestry of 7,850 geometric holes for the sun to filter through

One of the high points of Pritzker Prize-winning French architect Jean Nouvel's distinguished career, the Louvre Abu Dhabi took over a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars to build. The complex is made up of 55 detached buildings and is conceived as a man-made archipelago, accessible both by land and the surrounding waters that lap against its white surfaces.

The Louvre's architectural centerpiece is a silver dome that weighs the same as the Eiffel Tower (around 7,500 tonnes) and has a diameter of 180 m (590 ft). The structure rests on just four pillars hidden away inside the museum buildings, lending the effect that it is floating.

The dome is made up of eight layers of stainless steel and aluminum mesh, which combine to form a tapestry of 7,850 geometric holes for the sun to filter through, bringing to mind the light-scattering palm trees of the area.

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