Striking Concepts: The Architectural Projects Unveiled This Month

Beautifully rendered concept images are rarely out of the architectural press, but while they don’t always lead to real-world buildings, they can provide an insight into what’s to come. Here we look at some of the most notable to be unveiled in the last few months

Shanghai Yangtze River Estuary Nature Preserve

Shanghai, China

Architects: Ennead Architects

The winner of an international design competition, Ennead Architects’ design for the Shanghai Yangtze River Estuary Nature Preserve is set to provide a space for education and preservation, supporting the rescue of critically endangered species. Located on an island on the Yangtze River, the building includes an aquarium and research facility alongside spaces for the visiting public. Central to the site, and design, is the need to raise awareness about the impact of pollution, which is reflected in both material choices and green credentials. In addition to featuring a cross-laminated timber structure, the scheme uses geothermal heating and cooling and constructed wetlands for carbon sequestration and biofiltration.

Image courtesy of Ennead Architects

Athletes’ Village

Paris, France

Architects: Dominique Perrault Architecture

Designed to house the athletes that will compete at the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics, Dominique Perrault’s design is intended to transform into a new, permanent community for the French capital after the games are completed. Covering 119,000 square meters, it includes 2,400 housing units alongside public transport connections and access for vehicles. The development merges with existing infrastructure along the adjacent Seine riverbank, and includes considerable parkland to provide a garden city environment.

Image courtesy of Dominique Perrault Architecture

Fusion Arena

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Architects: Populous

Set to be the largest esports arena in the western hemisphere once complete, the Fusion Arena is designed to seat up to 3,500. Designed to host the Philadelphia Fusion esports franchise, the stadium is intended to provide a blueprint for an emerging building typology. And with esports growing rapidly, similar projects are likely to follow. “Fusion Arena represents a watershed moment for the competitive gaming market,” said Brian Mirakian, senior principal at Populous. “We’re taking our 36 years of designing iconic experiences for traditional sports – settings like Yankee Stadium – and applying those same principles of design to the virtual world of gaming.”

Image courtesy of Populous

Waterfront Hotel and Boarding House

Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Architects: Barkow Leibinger

Designed as a prominent focal point for Frankfurt’s East Bay, the Waterfront Hotel sits between two bridges, and features a folded accordion façade to make full use of the panoramic views afforded by the site. The design is also packed with nods to the nautical location. The scheme is designed to resemble a lighthouse in reference to the location’s history, while the corner facing the bay resembles a ship. It also features curtain wall façades that remove the need for structural walls and columns, improving the views for guests.

Image courtesy of Ponnie Images

Dancing Towers

New York, USA

Architects: OMA

Designed for Greenpoint Landing in Brooklyn, Dancing Towers are designed to provide 745 housing units and more than an acre of public space to the New York neighbourhood. Part of a wider project to transform the waterfront from a post-industrial space to a core part of the area, the towers’ striking structure provides a focal point for the space, reacting dynamically to the sun’s movement. “ We have designed two towers—a ziggurat and its inverse—carefully calibrated to one another,” explained Jason Long, partner at OMA. “Defined by the space between them, they frame a new view of Greenpoint and new vista from the neighborhood to Manhattan.”

Image courtesy of OMA