Location: Mexico City
Firm: FR-EE Fernando Romero Enterprise, Mexico City
Team: Fernando Romero, with Mauricio Ceballos
A silver swell rising from the ground, this shapely art museum has effectively transformed a former industrial site in the Polanco district on the outskirts of Mexico City into an international showpiece. The six-storey structure, formed by 28 vertical steel columns encircled with seven steel bracings, is clad in hexagonal aluminum modules, evoking fish scales or the floor tiles in a Parisian bistro. Some 6,000 square metres of exhibition space, connected by a series of ramps and brightened by a dramatic skylight, houses billionaire magnate Carlos Slim’s vast collection, including an impressive group of Rodins and other artworks that span six centuries.
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Firm: Sean Godsell Architects, Melbourne
Team: Sean Godsell, with Hayley Franklin
Like thousands of eyes staring back at you, the 17,000 sandblasted glass disks that comprise the eight-storey facade of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Design Hub have ulterior motives. The operable modules pivot on a complex framework to filter the sunlight that enters the building, where students from a variety of disciplines, including fashion and aeronautical engineering, commingle in warehouse-type class-rooms. But the windows are also a testing ground. The school will retrofit or replace them as solar energy technologies advance, boosting the building’s energy efficiency and enabling it to adapt to future sustainability needs.
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Firm: SHoP Architects, New York
Team: Nadine Berger, Christopher Lee, Adam Modesitt and Ayumi Sugiyama of SHoP Architects, and John Cerone and Brian Sweeney of SHoP Construction
It’s remarkable what an inventive facade can do for a building. SHoP Architects rescued the Barclays Center in Brooklyn from a ho-hum fate when the other project architects, sports arena experts Ellerbe Becket, designed it as a big box after Frank Gehry’s original scheme was discarded for its colossal price tag. Wrapped in 11,500 unique metal panels with a pre-weathered finish, the facade’s swooping, nine-metre-high canopy – an otherworldly ring – hovers above the broad civic plaza, which was designed to allow passersby a glimpse into the sunken 18,000-seat arena bowl. Home of the Nets and, beginning in 2015, the Islanders, the Barclays feels as tough and brash as its neighbourhood.