Architecture

The best buildings of 2019

The best buildings of 2019
CopenHill, a Copenhagen project that mixes waste-to-energy-plant and ski slope, is one of our best projects of the year
CopenHill, a Copenhagen project that mixes waste-to-energy-plant and ski slope, is one of our best projects of the year
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CopenHill, a Copenhagen project that mixes waste-to-energy-plant and ski slope, is one of our best projects of the year
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CopenHill, a Copenhagen project that mixes waste-to-energy-plant and ski slope, is one of our best projects of the year
CopenHill's facade is made up of glass and stacked aluminum bricks
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CopenHill's facade is made up of glass and stacked aluminum bricks
CopenHill's hiking trail is home to thousands of bushes, hundreds of trees and various plants and other greenery
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CopenHill's hiking trail is home to thousands of bushes, hundreds of trees and various plants and other greenery
CopenHill has been in the works since BIG won an architecture competition for its design back in 2011
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CopenHill has been in the works since BIG won an architecture competition for its design back in 2011
CopenHill's interior measures 41,000 sq m (roughly 441,000 sq ft)
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CopenHill's interior measures 41,000 sq m (roughly 441,000 sq ft)
The Beijing Daxing International Airport cost a reported 450 billion Yuan (roughly US$63 billion)
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The Beijing Daxing International Airport cost a reported 450 billion Yuan (roughly US$63 billion)
Beijing Daxing International Airport will serve 45 million passengers per year, increasing to 72 million by 2025
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Beijing Daxing International Airport will serve 45 million passengers per year, increasing to 72 million by 2025
Beijing Daxing International Airport's design ensures natural light inside
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Beijing Daxing International Airport's design ensures natural light inside
Beijing Daxing International Airport includes 79 gates
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Beijing Daxing International Airport includes 79 gates
Beijing Daxing International Airport features solar power, which helps reduce the grid-based electricity needs of the huge building
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Beijing Daxing International Airport features solar power, which helps reduce the grid-based electricity needs of the huge building
Beijing Daxing International Airport is laid out so that distances between check-in and gate are minimized
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Beijing Daxing International Airport is laid out so that distances between check-in and gate are minimized
Beijing Daxing International Airport has 700,000 sq m (roughly 7.5 million sq ft) of floorspace
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Beijing Daxing International Airport has 700,000 sq m (roughly 7.5 million sq ft) of floorspace
Beijing Daxing International Airport's interior is about 9 times the size of England's Buckingham Palace or roughly 3.5 times the size of China's Forbidden City
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Beijing Daxing International Airport's interior is about 9 times the size of England's Buckingham Palace or roughly 3.5 times the size of China's Forbidden City
Raffles City Chongqing's horizontal skyscraper, by Moshe Safdie, is officially named the Crystal and measures 300 m (984 ft) in length
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Raffles City Chongqing's horizontal skyscraper, by Moshe Safdie, is officially named the Crystal and measures 300 m (984 ft) in length
Designed by high-profile architect Moshe Safdie, Raffles City Chongqing is meant to resemble a sail
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Designed by high-profile architect Moshe Safdie, Raffles City Chongqing is meant to resemble a sail
Developer CapitaLand refers to Raffles City Chongqing's skybridge as a horizontal skyscraper 
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Developer CapitaLand refers to Raffles City Chongqing's skybridge as a horizontal skyscraper 
Raffles City Chongqing comprises a total of eight skyscrapers, plus the skybridge
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Raffles City Chongqing comprises a total of eight skyscrapers, plus the skybridge
The Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel is installed in a man-made quarry
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The Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel is installed in a man-made quarry
The Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel includes 337 hotel rooms
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The Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel includes 337 hotel rooms
The Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel features an underwater restaurant
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The Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel features an underwater restaurant
The Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel features a glass walkway 
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The Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel features a glass walkway 
The Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel is a five star resort and includes amenities like a spa
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The Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel is a five star resort and includes amenities like a spa
The Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel is located in Songjiang , Shanghai, China
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The Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel is located in Songjiang , Shanghai, China
Singapore's Jewel Changi Airport features the world's tallest indoor waterfall
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Singapore's Jewel Changi Airport features the world's tallest indoor waterfall
Jewel Changi Airport's Manulife Nets in the Canopy Park area are suspended 25 m (82 ft) above ground
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Jewel Changi Airport's Manulife Nets in the Canopy Park area are suspended 25 m (82 ft) above ground
Jewel Changi Airport is slated to receive Green Mark Platinum, due to its energy-efficiency, use of rainwater, shading and natural ventilation systems
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Jewel Changi Airport is slated to receive Green Mark Platinum, due to its energy-efficiency, use of rainwater, shading and natural ventilation systems
Jewel Changi Airport's slides are located within a reflective art installation
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Jewel Changi Airport's slides are located within a reflective art installation
Jewel Changi Airport's glass-and-steel structure spans over 200 m (650 ft) at the roof's widest point
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Jewel Changi Airport's glass-and-steel structure spans over 200 m (650 ft) at the roof's widest point
CITIC Tower (aka China Zun), by KPF, is located in Beijing and reaches a maximum height of 1,732 ft (527 m). It's the 9th-tallest building in the world
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CITIC Tower (aka China Zun), by KPF, is located in Beijing and reaches a maximum height of 1,732 ft (527 m). It's the 9th-tallest building in the world
CITIC Tower's attractive curtain wall flares up and out at its base
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CITIC Tower's attractive curtain wall flares up and out at its base
CITIC Tower's design is inspired by an ancient Chinese ceremonial drinking vessel
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CITIC Tower's design is inspired by an ancient Chinese ceremonial drinking vessel
CITIC Tower's interior measures 437,000 sq m (roughly 4.7 million sq ft)
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CITIC Tower's interior measures 437,000 sq m (roughly 4.7 million sq ft)
CITIC Tower's form widens at its top, which is unusual for a supertall skyscraper, due to the heavy wind loads at such great heights
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CITIC Tower's form widens at its top, which is unusual for a supertall skyscraper, due to the heavy wind loads at such great heights
Under is located in Norway's southernmost tip
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Under is located in Norway's southernmost tip
Europe's first underwater restaurant, appropriately-named Under, was constructed on a barge
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Europe's first underwater restaurant, appropriately-named Under, was constructed on a barge
Under's 1-m (3.2-ft)-thick concrete walls that are designed to withstand a 100-year wave
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Under's 1-m (3.2-ft)-thick concrete walls that are designed to withstand a 100-year wave
Under is located on Norway's southern coast
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Under is located on Norway's southern coast
Under extends 5 m (16.4 ft) downwards beneath the waves
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Under extends 5 m (16.4 ft) downwards beneath the waves
Under measures 34 m (111 ft) long
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Under measures 34 m (111 ft) long
Under's dining area offers views of the sea bed
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Under's dining area offers views of the sea bed
Muted lighting, installed both inside and out on the seabed highlights the marine life around the Under restaurant
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Muted lighting, installed both inside and out on the seabed highlights the marine life around the Under restaurant
The Twist has been over eight years in the making
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The Twist has been over eight years in the making
This image of The Twist won photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu this year's overall Architectural Photography Award prize
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This image of The Twist won photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu this year's overall Architectural Photography Award prize
"The Twist constitutes a tectonic enigma," says BIG's Bjarke Ingels. "As the bridge connects the two riverbanks – a mountain slope and flat forest – it rotates 90 degrees forming a warped, ruled surface"
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"The Twist constitutes a tectonic enigma," says BIG's Bjarke Ingels. "As the bridge connects the two riverbanks – a mountain slope and flat forest – it rotates 90 degrees forming a warped, ruled surface"
The Twist's exterior consists of aluminum panels
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The Twist's exterior consists of aluminum panels
"As you approach The Twist, you start to notice the museum reflecting the trees, the hills and the water below, constantly glimmering and changing its appearance in dialogue with nature," says BIG's David Zahle
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"As you approach The Twist, you start to notice the museum reflecting the trees, the hills and the water below, constantly glimmering and changing its appearance in dialogue with nature," says BIG's David Zahle
The Twist features a full-height glass wall that tapers upwards to form a thin skylight, and offers panoramic views of a nearby pulp mill
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The Twist features a full-height glass wall that tapers upwards to form a thin skylight, and offers panoramic views of a nearby pulp mill
There are three art galleries inside The Twist
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There are three art galleries inside The Twist
The Twist's striking twisting exterior form is repeated inside
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The Twist's striking twisting exterior form is repeated inside
Powerhouse Brattørkaia received a BREEAM Outstanding certification, which is the highest ranking by the green building standard
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Powerhouse Brattørkaia received a BREEAM Outstanding certification, which is the highest ranking by the green building standard
Powerhouse Brattørkaia reaches a maximum height of 39.3 m (129 ft)
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Powerhouse Brattørkaia reaches a maximum height of 39.3 m (129 ft)
Powerhouse Brattørkaia's roof is covered in solar panels
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Powerhouse Brattørkaia's roof is covered in solar panels
Powerhouse Brattørkaia is primarily clad in black aluminum panels
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Powerhouse Brattørkaia is primarily clad in black aluminum panels
Powerhouse Brattørkaia has an oval garden at its center
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Powerhouse Brattørkaia has an oval garden at its center
Powerhouse Brattørkaia's interior is mostly given over to office space
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Powerhouse Brattørkaia's interior is mostly given over to office space
Leeza Soho has been in the works since 2013 and straddles a subway tunnel that runs directly underneath
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Leeza Soho has been in the works since 2013 and straddles a subway tunnel that runs directly underneath
Zaha Hadid Architects' Leeza Soho has won multiple awards for its stunning design and energy efficiency
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Zaha Hadid Architects' Leeza Soho has won multiple awards for its stunning design and energy efficiency
Multiple walkways offer connection between the two halves of the Leeza Soho tower
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Multiple walkways offer connection between the two halves of the Leeza Soho tower
Leeza Soho's atrium is the world’s tallest and measures 194.15 m (637 ft) in height
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Leeza Soho's atrium is the world’s tallest and measures 194.15 m (637 ft) in height
Leeza Soho, by Zaha Hadid Architects, is a stunning skyscraper in Beijing that has won multiple awards for its design and energy efficiency
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Leeza Soho, by Zaha Hadid Architects, is a stunning skyscraper in Beijing that has won multiple awards for its design and energy efficiency
View gallery - 60 images

2019 has been a bumper year for architecture and we've reported on many superb projects ranging in size, style, and budget. From a horizontal skyscraper to a power station with its own ski slope, here's our selection of the 10 most interesting and innovative buildings of the year.

BIG - CopenHill

CopenHill's facade is made up of glass and stacked aluminum bricks
CopenHill's facade is made up of glass and stacked aluminum bricks

CopenHill (aka Amager Bakke), by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), was 11 years in the making, but the wait was certainly worth it. The inspired combination of waste-to-energy power plant and ski slope in Copenhagen, Denmark, showcases the firm's trademark ingenuity and out-of-the-box thinking.

The project consists of the power plant itself, with a large ski slope running from top to bottom on its roof. Other attractions include the world's tallest climbing wall and a hiking and running trail created using 7,000 bushes, 300 pine and willow trees, and other greenery.

Zaha Hadid Architects - Beijing Daxing International Airport

The Beijing Daxing International Airport cost a reported 450 billion Yuan (roughly US$63 billion)
The Beijing Daxing International Airport cost a reported 450 billion Yuan (roughly US$63 billion)

Zaha Hadid Architects' body of work is filled with many weird and wonderful-looking projects, but the alien-like Beijing Daxing International Airport ranks up there as one of its most eye-catching.

Costing a reported 450 billion Yuan (roughly US$63 billion), the interior of the airport is huge. Its floorspace works out at about nine times larger than England's Buckingham Palace and roughly three and a half times the size of China's Forbidden City. It also features some energy-efficient additions, such as solar panels and low-energy heating systems.

Safdie Architects - Raffles City Chongqing

Raffles City Chongqing's horizontal skyscraper, by Moshe Safdie, is officially named the Crystal and measures 300 m (984 ft) in length
Raffles City Chongqing's horizontal skyscraper, by Moshe Safdie, is officially named the Crystal and measures 300 m (984 ft) in length

Moshe Safdie's Raffles City Chongqing in China is an amazing engineering feat that consists of a cluster of eight towers and a huge connecting skybridge dubbed a horizontal skyscraper. It measures 300 m (984 ft) in length and had to be painstakingly hoisted into position in sections.

The project's design is inspired by the sails of ancient Chinese trading boats and its interior hosts office space and plush residential units, as well as art galleries, restaurants, an indoor forest, and swimming pools.

JADE+QA - Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel

The Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel features a glass walkway 
The Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel features a glass walkway 

The brainchild of former Atkins architect Martin Jochman, the Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel certainly lives up to its nickname "groundscraper." The building hugs the cliff face of an 88-m (288-ft)-deep quarry in China and is defined by an eye-catching waterfall-like glass atrium.

Other notable features of this unique project include an underwater restaurant and glass bottomed bridge. As you might expect, its construction was very challenging and involved the emptying of the quarry lake with pumps before replacing it, as well as reinforcing the structure to protect it in the event of an earthquake.

Safdie Architects - Jewel Changi Airport

Jewel Changi Airport's waterfall measures 40 m (131 ft)-tall
Jewel Changi Airport's waterfall measures 40 m (131 ft)-tall

Singapore's Jewel Changi Airport, by Safdie Architects, attempts to provide weary travelers with a more pleasant place to spend time than a typical airport. The impressive building features an indoor park with walking trails, a forest, and the world's largest indoor waterfall.

The waterfall is named the Rain Vortex and is in continuous use, helping to cool the interior. During thunderstorms, rainwater flows at over 10,000 gallons (37,854 liters) per minute, and when it's not raining a pump system keeps the water flowing. Rainwater is also used for building services and irrigation systems.

Kohn Pedersen Fox - Citic Tower

CITIC Tower's design is inspired by an ancient Chinese ceremonial drinking vessel
CITIC Tower's design is inspired by an ancient Chinese ceremonial drinking vessel

Prolific American firm Kohn Pedersen Fox is responsible for many of the world's tallest and most interesting-looking buildings. Its latest supertall skyscraper, CITIC Tower, rises to a height of 528 m (1,732 ft), making it the 10th tallest building worldwide.

The Beijing tower's design is inspired by the zun, which is a ceremonial drinking vessel used in Bronze Age China. Its base has a width of 78 m (255 ft), while its middle section tapers to 54 m (177 ft), before increasing again to 69 m (226 ft) in width at the top.

Snøhetta - Under

Under features a large panoramic acrylic window that allows people to watch the marine life of Norway's southern coast
Under features a large panoramic acrylic window that allows people to watch the marine life of Norway's southern coast

Visitors to Norway can now eat with the fishes thanks to a new underwater restaurant by Snøhetta. Named Under, the building is part-sunk into the sea on the country's rugged southern coast.

Under was built on a barge before being carefully lowered and fixed into position on the sea bed using a huge concrete slab that serves as an anchor. Its thick concrete walls are designed to withstand a "100 year wave" and a large panoramic window frames the view of the sea life for diners.

BIG - The Twist

"As you approach The Twist, you start to notice the museum reflecting the trees, the hills and the water below, constantly glimmering and changing its appearance in dialogue with nature," says BIG's David Zahle
"As you approach The Twist, you start to notice the museum reflecting the trees, the hills and the water below, constantly glimmering and changing its appearance in dialogue with nature," says BIG's David Zahle

Located in the Kistefos Sculpture Park in Jevnaker, outside Oslo, The Twist, by BIG, is a Norwegian museum and bridge that twists a full 90 degrees near its center.

Its exterior consists of aluminum panels that are likened to a stack of books fanning out by the firm. This motif is repeated inside too and it really is a stunning and complex work – little wonder that it was recently the subject of the World Architecture Festival's Architectural Photography Award.

Snøhetta - Powerhouse Brattørkaia

Powerhouse Brattørkaia reaches a maximum height of 39.3 m (129 ft)
Powerhouse Brattørkaia reaches a maximum height of 39.3 m (129 ft)

Hailed by Snøhetta as the world's northernmost energy-positive building, Powerhouse Brattørkaia is clad in black aluminum panels, with a large oval void at its center that hosts a garden. Its interior is mostly given over to office space.

The upper part of the building's facade is covered in 3,000 sq m (roughly 32,000 sq ft) of solar panels, which produce around 500,000 kWh of electricity over a year. This works out as more than twice as much as the building's daily needs, which is no mean feat in such a sun-starved place as Trondheim, Norway.

Leeza Soho - Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid Architects' Leeza Soho has won multiple awards for its stunning design and energy efficiency
Zaha Hadid Architects' Leeza Soho has won multiple awards for its stunning design and energy efficiency

Designed by Zaha Hadid herself before her death, Leeza Soho must rate among the architect's finest-looking buildings. The skyscraper rises to a height of 207 m (679 ft) in Beijing, China, north of the firm's Beijing Daxing International Airport, and boasts the world's largest atrium.

Its interior is split into two halves, with the 194.15-m (637-ft) atrium at its center. The building is on track to receive the LEED Gold green building standard due to its energy-efficient additions, which include rainwater collection and solar panels.

View gallery - 60 images
1 comment
Sambo
Where does the Brattorkaia get its power when the Sun isn't shining?