Breaking Ground: The Architectural Projects Beginning Construction

A project’s groundbreaking ceremony is a key step in its journey from idea to reality, often marking the end of years of planning and design work. Here we look at some of the key projects from around the world to break ground in the last few months

Alárò City

Lagos, Nigeria

Architects: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Work began in February on Alárò City, a new masterplan development designed to connect to the Nigerian city of Lagos. Positioned as an economic and cultural hub for the West African region, it includes a new seaport and airport, alongside homes, schools, hotels, offices and entertainment facilities. The project also includes considerable green spaces, including 150ha of parks and other open areas, which are planned to ensure no one is further than five minutes’ walk from such a space. Included in this is six greenways, which are aligned north-to-south to convey stormwater into a lagoon to the city’s north.

Image courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Tainan Xinhua Fruit and Vegetable Market

Tainan, Taiwan

Architects: MVRDV

March saw construction begin on MVRDV’s dramatic design for a wholesale fruit and vegetable market in Taiwan. Designed at a key hub for the country’s supply chain, as well as key business and social destination, the building features a terraced green roof that provides a social space above the ground-floor market area. Comporising a single open structure, the market hosts spaces for the required stalls, while the roof steps down to ground level to allow visitors to climb atop it. “It is completely functional and caters to the needs for auctioning, selling and buying goods, but its terraced roof with its collection of growing products will allow visitors to take in the landscape while escaping from bustle below,” said MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas.

Image courtesy of MVRDV

The Spiral

New York, USA

Architects: Bjarke Ingels Group

February saw work begin on Bjarke Ingels Group’s The Spiral, a 1,031ft tall skyscraper planned for the Manhattan area of New York. Central to its design is what Bjarke Ingels describes as an “ascending ribbon of lively green spaces” that wrap around the building, spiralling upwards. It is designed to host office spaces, with Pfizer dominating the tenancy with 18 floors. “Designed for the people that occupy it, The Spiral ensures that every floor of the tower opens up to the outdoors creating hanging gardens and cascading atria that connect the open floor plates from the ground floor to the summit into a single uninterrupted workspace,” explained Ingels.

Image courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group

Xinhu Hangzhou Prism

Hangzhou, China

Architects: OMA

In March construction began on the Xinhu Hangzhou Prism, the central structure in the in-development Future Tech City, which is designed as an addition to the city of Hangzhou. The Prism itself is a mixed-use, 50,000 sqm scheme, which includes a hotel, retail space, lofts and an atrium-based garden. The striking structure is designed to further the goal of the area as a creative hub, designed to attract younger, tech-savvy workers. It is set for completion in 2020. "The design enables flexible programming and a broad repertoire of communal outdoor spaces, while maintaining a strong visual identity: striking in its form, archetypical yet contemporary,” explained OMA’s Chris van Duijn.

Image courtesy of OMA

LAX Automated People Mover

Los Angeles, USA

Designers: LAX Integrated Express Solution

Designed to combat congestion at Los Angeles International Airport, one of the busiest in the world, the Automated People Mover broke ground in March. Consisting of an elevated train connected to the city’s wider light rail infrastructure, it will improve connections between terminals and increase transport options in and out of the airport. Travelling between six stations, three within the airport and three within the wider city, it is designed to carry 85.1 million passengers every year in electric trains running every two minutes. It is set to open in 2023, and has a budget of $4.9bn.

Image courtesy of LAX