Striking Concepts: The Architectural Projects Unveiled This Month

Renderings for stunning architectural concepts are forever being unveiled, offering possibilities for the built environment of tomorrow. Here we look at some of the more striking and notable projects to be unveiled in the last few months

Harbin Taiping International Airport Terminal 3

Harbin, China

Architects: MAD Architects

Unveiled in May, MAD Architects’ design for an additional terminal at Harbin Taiping International Airport may look otherworldly, but is rooted in the area’s natural landscape. Famous for the Harbin Ice Festival, the region is known for its snow and ice, which MAD, led by Ma Yansong, have sought to reference in a design that also nods to the future aspirations of air travel. Spanning 3,300ha, the snowflake-like spokes of the scheme are designed to minimise commute times and congestion. It is hoped that the terminal will handle 43 million passengers by 2030.

Image courtesy of MAD Architects

Queensland Performing Arts Center

Brisbane, Australia

Architects: Snøhetta; Blight Rayner Architecture

A joint project between Snøhetta and Blight Rayner Architecture, this $150m theatre design has been selected in an international competition to become the largest performing arts centre in the city of Brisbane. Designed to introduce a modern aesthetic to the neighbourhood while respecting the history of the area, it will form an addition to the 1985 Queensland Culture Centre. Central to the design is the striking glass façade, which will glow at night, providing a view into the bustling foyer. The theatre will host two new studio spaces, providing capacity for an extra 260 performances each year. It is intended to begin construction in 2020 and be completed by 2022.

Image courtesy of Snøhetta and Blight Rayner Architecture


Milan, Italy

Architects: Carlo Ratti Associati

The winner of an international competition for Reinventing Cities, VITAE is half research centre and half urban vineyard. An office building and scientific research centre occupy the scheme’s lower levels, with a 200m-long vineyard sitting atop it, accessible from ground level via a seamless footpath. The project will transform a currently vacant post-industrial lot, also adding a new piazza to provide additional public space. The design draws on biophilic principles, including greenhouses for hydroponic and urban farming, and will include a farm-to-table restaurant on its ground level. Construction is set to begin later this year.

Image courtesy of Carlo Ratti Associati

The Snail

New York City, the US

Architects: Archimatika

Bringing slow living to the fast-paced Manhattan area of New York City, The Snail is a high-rise residential scheme attempting to create a new housing typology in the city. Great focus has been placed on providing a gentle transition from street to home, taking residents from an intimate lobby past multifunctional areas such as a gym, garden, workspace and cigar room, as well as a barber shop that transforms into an evening bar. The 30 apartments also offer 16 different spatial layouts, designed with the intention of attracting a rich tenant mix, including families, young professionals and older city dwellers. Tactile materials also play a core role in this aim, from the terracotta mosaic concrete façade, which sits over a steel frame, to the curved windows and brass-clad entrance space.

East London Baths

London, the UK

Architects: Studio Octopi

Designed for the ongoing Thames Baths project, Studio Octopi’s scheme is intended to be installed on the river along London’s Royal Docks, providing a space to swim in the River Thames – a once popular practice in the city. The design has been unveiled as part of an exhibition on river swimming at the SAM Swiss Architecture Museum in Basel, Switzerland. It reveals the latest efforts in a long-running project to establish the baths, which first saw Thames Baths release plans for the project back in 2014.

Image courtesy of Studio Octopi and Picture Plane