Striking Concepts: The Architectural Projects Unveiled This Month

With construction restarting amid a global rethink of how we live our lives, new architectural projects are being unveiled that inject fresh ideas. We look as some of the most notable to be unveiled this month

Tree-House School

Architect: Valentino Gareri

Designed to posit a new approach to education following the Covid-19 pandemic, Tree-House School is a proposed educational facility that increases connections with nature. It achieves this through interconnected indoor and outdoor spaces, a strong focus on natural materials, primarily wood, and landscaping, including two green roofs that sit atop the interlocking ring structures.

The building also connects community, housing kindergarten, primary and secondary facilities, as well as a community centre, urban plaza and library. The goal is, according to Gareri, to provide “the ability to sustain the new condition where the pandemic put the entire society in”.

Image courtesy of Valentino Gareri Architectural Atelier

Shenzhen Wave

Shenzhen, China

Architect: Büro Ole Scheeren

Designed to provide a new headquarters for ZTE, Shenzhen Wave is intended to provide a symbol of China’s digital future, while responding to the changing workplace demands following the Covid-19 pandemic. Supporting a flexible workplace model, the building is intended to serve as a “living organism”.

Below the floating structure is a vast public space that links the city’s waterfront to the city beyond, including a cultural space that hosts exhibition facilities and a cafeteria, as well as a gym, café and bar. The design, Büro Ole Scheeren says, “reimagines the urban cityscape as an interactive and integrated spatial ecosystem hovering above ground level”.

Image courtesy of Büro Ole Scheeren

Urban Forest

Brisbane, Australia

Architect: Koichi Takada Architects

Set to be the world’s most dense vertical gardens, Urban Forest is a 30-storey mixed-use residential high rise that is currently going through the process of gaining planning approval. Housing 382 apartments and a two-storey garden rooftop, the structure is aiming for the equivalent of LEED Platinum status. It will use sustainable materials, including wood, and will feature solar panels and rainwater and greywater collection. This will be used to water the 20,000 plants that cover the structure, representing 259 native species.

“With the post Covid-19, I think it’s a great opportunity to pause and rethink and not just adapt but shift the paradigm from industrial to natural,” said Koichi Takada of the project. “Concrete, steel, and glass are very hard and solid industrial materials. Let’s call them dead materiality. We need to be embracing more living materiality, living architecture.”

Image courtesy of Koichi Takada Architects

Bergen Masterplan

Bergen, Norway


Taking the form of a 40-hectare regenerative masterplan for the city of Bergen, this project sees a former logistics port and ferry terminal transformed into a zero-emissions district. Placing a strong focus on a community-based sharing economy, climate adaptation and sustainable building materials, the plan joins key locations in the city with public spaces.

The masterplan includes three key areas. The Sea Quarter provides a new home for the Institute for Marine Research, Directorate of Fisheries and the planned Bergen Aquarium. Meanwhile, The Sugarhouse Square provides a new urban space, while Under the Bridge reimagines the space under Puddefjord Bridge as a home for grassroots projects and entrepreneurship.

Image courtesy of Real Polygons for Tredje Natur

Nanjing Dajiaochang Airport

Nanjing, China

Architect: 10 Design

The winner of an international competition to redevelop an old military airport, the structure is designed to provide a new landmark for the city while providing strong connectivity with the area. Designed to “echo the past while reflecting the future”, the structure features three interconnected buildings connected by a sunken street. Providing space for office, retail and cultural facilities, it includes two underground railway stations, with the central corridor positioned directly above the railway tracks.

Sustainability is also a strong focus for the design. The roof features a park alongside solar panels that are designed to cool the structure, while plants are used to provide air purification. There is also extensive use of natural light throughout the structure.

Image courtesy of 10 Design