As we enter a new year and more projects begin following the pandemic, we are starting to see which designs will be shaping our future.
One of the key areas is sustainability, as we work towards achieving net zero emissions. Designing to mimic the surrounding landscape is becoming increasingly popular, which is one of the aims of the Sydney Modern Project. When the project is finished, there will be 70% more trees planted on site. There is also a focus on the history of the area, featuring a gallery dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, and a space built into a decommissioned World War II naval oil tank.
Plant-covered high rises, or “garden skyscrapers” are already popular within Europe, and are gaining traction around the world. One example is the Qorner Tower in Quito, Ecuador, with a Jenga-like configuration which helps create stacked terraces for trees and plants. It will feature a “living wall” as well, populated with native species.
Projects won’t just be focusing on new builds – renovations are another key focus in 2022, such as Berlin’s Kunsthaus Tacheles which is being transformed into the Fotografiska photography museum. This will include a major rooftop extension and an urban plan for the surrounding Am Tacheles neighbourhood.
Experimental design concepts are also still in the spotlight – including a “green neighbourhood in the sky” in Wenzhou, China. Each high rise will be composed of interlocking “frames” delineating the various vertical neighbourhoods, and the shared amenities like gardens and lounges will be found where the frames overlap.
More skyscrapers are set to be built too, with what will be Africa’s tallest building in the New Administrative Capital, Egypt. Despite the modernity, it is actually inspired by the ancient pharaonic obelisks of Luxor, and features an illuminated crown to “convey a sense of strength and stability”.
One of the more poignant projects is the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial in Newtown, Connecticut. This includes a water feature, with a sycamore tree planted in the centre, that will spiral inwards to convey a circular theme, representing how the healing process does not end, but continues and grows.