Breaking Ground: The Architectural Projects Beginning Construction

The moment a project breaks ground is the point where, after years of work, it finally moves from concept to reality. We look at some of the notable projects across the world to break ground in the past few months

130 William

New York, USA

Architects: Adjaye Associates

December saw the announcement that foundational work had started on Adjaye Associates’ New York residential tower 130 William. Featuring a dark concrete façade and arches that create outdoor loggias, the design is intended to echo the lofts that once occupied the surrounding Financial District. “The design for 130 William acknowledges the tower’s location on one of the city’s earliest streets,” said David Adjaye. “Understanding that rich history, I was inspired to craft a building that turns away from the commercial feel of glass and that instead celebrates New York’s heritage of masonry architecture with a distinctive presence in Manhattan’s skyline.” The building is scheduled for completion in spring 2020.

Image courtesy of Lightstone

UAE Pavilion


Architects: Santiago Calatrava

The UAE Pavilion, one of the core centrepieces of the upcoming 2020 Dubai Expo, has broken ground in Dubai. Designed to reflect the shape of a flying falcon, the 15,000 square meter venue will be home to exhibitions reflecting the Expo’s theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. “The UAE Pavilion will undoubtedly be one of the most prominent attractions of Expo 2020, drawing in many millions to witness its futuristic design,” said Expo 2020 chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum at the groundbreaking ceremony. “It will be a wonderful opportunity to share our Emirati culture and achievements while showcasing our ambitious vision for the future. The Pavilion will be an architectural marvel that all seven Emirates can rightly take pride in, both now at the ground-breaking stage, during Expo and in legacy when it will become a lasting icon of our nation.”

Image courtesy of Santiago Calatrava

Louvre Storage Facility

Liévin, France

Architects: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Intended as a conservation and storage facility for the world-renowned Louvre, the Louvre Storage Facility broke ground in December. Designed to house as many as 250,000 works, it will become a world-leading facility once it is completed in summer 2019. Notably, the project is designed to blend into the surrounding area, with a green-topped roof and landscaping by Mutabilis Paysage & Urbanisme masking its presence in the surrounding countryside. “The work done here has enriched our architectural vocabulary,” said lead designer Graham Stirk, senior partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. “The Louvre-Lens building will blend almost completely into the landscape and marry the sloping form of the terrain. The single storey height of the building will also greatly facilitate the movement of the works.”

Image courtesy of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

West Downs Campus

Winchester, UK

Architects: Design Engine

A January groundbreaking ceremony marked the start of construction on the University of Winchester’s West Downs Campus, located on undeveloped land adjacent to the Grade II-listed West Down Centre. Designed to host the university’s computer and digital-focused degree programmes, the centre will include a 250-seat auditorium, courtyard garden and library. “We are thrilled to see our West Downs scheme move one step closer to fruition,” said Richard Jobson, founding director of Design Engine Architects. “This is our fifth major project for the University of Winchester and we look forward to working closely with the client team and main contractor Osborne to deliver a landmark building.”

Image courtesy of Design Engine

Shepherd Opera House and Music Center

Houston, USA

Architect: Allan Greenberg Architect

December saw the official groundbreaking ceremony performed for the Shepherd Opera House and Music Center, a new addition to Rice University's Houston campus. Designed to be in keeping with the university’s existing buildings, as with much of Greenberg’s previous work, it features a classicist aesthetic both in style and material choice. “The unique feature of my building at Rice is that rather than just use the same materials as the older buildings, which a lot of buildings there do, I try to expand the vocabulary of the traditional Rice buildings,” explains Greenberg. “It's a sort of byzantine vocabulary of form.”

Image courtesy of Allan Greenberg Architect