Breaking Ground: The Architectural Projects Beginning Construction

The point a project breaks ground is a key moment in its journey from shiny concept to workable reality. Here we look at some of the key projects to break ground in recent months

Singapore Institute of Technology


Architects: WOHA

Designed to provide a “campus in a park” experience as an addition to the Singapore Institute of Technology, this project began construction at the start of October. Combining green spaces and traditional learning environments, it is being built in an existing forest, making the existing site a community park while adding both educational and recreational facilities.

The approach, according to WOHA, “re-envisions the future of university campus design”, with connections to nature continued on upper floors “through building openings and a variety of modular windows that are optimized for views and shade according to building orientation”.

Image courtesy of WOHA

Arkansas Arts Center

Little Rock, USA

Architects Studio Gang | SCAPE

Designed as a refurbishment and expansion of the existing arts centre for the city of Little Rock, the Arkansas Arts Center broke ground at the start of October. Featuring a folded roof that connects the entire complex together, the scheme is designed to reference the institute’s history while providing a space that will support its future development. The project will see existing areas renovated and the original 1937 façade exposed, while improving connections to the adjacent MacArthur Park.

“The design for the reimagined Arkansas Arts Center features new and renovated spaces for gathering and community events to create dynamic connections among the state-of-the-art galleries and exhibitions, renovated Museum School, and upgraded Children’s Theatre,” said Studio Gang’s Jeanne Gang. “One of our main goals for the project is to allow the architecture to invite interaction, discovery, creativity, and learning.”

Image courtesy of Studio Gang / SCAPE

Guangzhou International Cultural Center

Guangzhou, China

Architects: FGP Atelier

A 150,000m2 tower rising to 320m, Guangzhou International Cultural Center began construction in September. Designed to combine environmental, technological, engineering and architectural principles, the project is the latest design from FGP Atelier featuring office space, alongside a multi-storey bookstore and a sky lobby. Designed to function as a “tower campus”, the structure is connected to the city’s wider infrastructure through an underground gallery including a metro station. It also features stepped screened terraces to include green spaces in the design.

“The tower’s layout is inspired by the idea that knowledge sharing is an essential element to creating culture and culture is a path to understanding each other and through it we are better able to ascend the barriers between us and grow as human beings,” said FGP Atelier of the design.

Image courtesy of FGP Atelier

Orange County Museum of Art

Costa Mesa, USA

Architects: Morphosis

The new campus for Orange County Museum of Art broke ground in September, seeing the start of construction of the $73m facility. Designed to add an additional 25,000 square feet of exhibition space – an almost 50% increase for the museum – the new campus is located at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. It will also include 10,000 square feet of multipurpose space and a rooftop sculpture space designed to house events, as well as the obligatory administrative offices, gift shop and café.

“The location within the Segerstrom Arts complex, combined with OCMA’s focus on public programming, led us to develop a new architectural idea—a model for museums as part gallery space, part public plaza—which emphasizes their role as urban connective tissue rather than as iconic, stand-alone objects,” said Thom Mayne of Morphosis.

Image courtesy of Morphosis


Montreal, Canada

Architects: Lemay

The result of a partnership between Devimco Immobilier, the Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ and Fiera Real Estate, Maestria is set to be the largest ever mixed-use residential project in the city of Montreal. Consisting of two asymmetrical towers, one 57 storeys and the other 61 storeys, connected by an aerial walkway, it will house 1,750 residential units alongside shops, a public plaza, office units, restaurants and entertainment venues.

“The Maestria towers are inspired by the festivals, and in keeping with the spirit of Montreal’s upbeat pulse,” said Lemay. “The Tower’s silhouette and colour scheme alternately evoke the keys of a piano or two dancers embracing. Public spaces at ground level and connecting with the subway conjure the vibrant rhythms of the Place des Festivals, catering to strollers and festival goers.”

Image courtesy of Lemay