1. THOMAS HEATHERWICK | Heatherwick Studio

Thomas Heatherwick

Thomas Heatherwick

The English designer Thomas Heatherwick was born in London in 1970.He is the founder of London-based design practice Heatherwick Studio. The Heatherwick Studio has worked with an extensive range of design disciplines, including architecture, engineering, transport and urban planning to furniture, sculpture and product design. Unlike many architecture practices, they don’t have a fixed style and focus on problem-solving. Inspired by organic themes they create 3-dimensional forms exploring the limits of possibility, and creating unconventional and controversial results in the process.

With projects as The Spun, an ergonomic form that works as a chair, whichever way it is rotated, Heatherwick gains a place in the architects to look forward in 2o17. The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art in South Africa is set to be completed in this year. It will be a structure of 42 vertical concrete tubes, containing 80 galleries.

Learning Hub – Courtesy of Thomas Heatherwick studio

Seed Cathedral – Courtesy of Thomas Heatherwick studio

2. KOICHI SUZUNO + SHINYA KUMURO | Torafu Architects

Torafu Architects

Torafu Architects

Founded in 2004 by Koichi Suzuno and Shinya Kamuro, Torafu Architects employs a working approach based on architectural thinking. Works by the duo include a diverse range of products, from architectural design to interior design, exhibition space design, product design, spatial installations and film making.

Emerging particularly in product design, they have created through the years series of furniture and decoration pieces such as the Koloro Desk and the Tree for Everyone. The Koloro-Desk has windows at various locations, opening to give a more open, accessible feel and when closed creating a small private room where no one can disturb you. Lighting and potted plants can be added, and there are windows for displaying the occasional ornament, hooks for bags, and a cord manager allowing PC use.

Koloro Desk. Courtesy of Torafu Architects. Photography: Akihiru Ito

Koloro Desk. Courtesy of Torafu Architects. Photography: Akihiru Ito

Trees for Everyone. Courtesy of Torafu Architects. Photography: Takumi Ota

Trees for Everyone. Courtesy of Torafu Architects. Photography: Takumi Ota

3. JUNYA ISHIGAMI | Junya Ishigami + Associates

Junya Ishigami

Junya Ishigami

Junya Ishigami was born in Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan in 1974. In 2004 he established his own firm Junya Ishigami + Associates in Tokyo, being active both in Japan and abroad. In 2009 he became the youngest architect to win the Architectural Institute of Japan Prize for his project of Kanagawa Institute of Technology.

Ishigami is searching for a new scale of architecture, a new environment that will eliminate the artificial line between nature and buildings. “To embody in architecture that has never been architecture before – I wish to explore this possibility”, he says. Through vague functions and concepts, he is trying to rethink our methods of constructing architecture and explore the limits of rationality. Experimenting with these innovating ideas and also immateriality, he created in 2006 the “Thin Table”. It was a single pre-stressed steel only 3mm of thickness which could only function as a table when objects were placed on it. With this project, he wanted to state that designing an object can be as complex and challenging as designing a building.

In 2017, in Sydney, his latest project Cloud Arch is set to be installed. It is a public artwork, a ribbon of twisted white stainless steel representing the shape of a cloud, meant to be one of the biggest landmarks of the city. Through this art piece, he is exploring the qualities of being “green, global and connected” while he refers to the emerging technology of cloud computing.

Thin Table, Courtesy of Junya Ishigami + Associates

Thin Table (2006), Courtesy of Junya Ishigami + Associates

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Cloud Arch (2014), Courtesy of Junya Ishigami + Associates

4. FABIO GRAMAZIO + MATTHIAS KOHLER | Gramazio & Kohler

Fabio Gramazio + Matthias Kohler

Fabio Gramazio + Matthias Kohler

Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler are two Sweden-based architects, starting collaborating in 2000 with multi-disciplinary interests ranging from computational design and robotic fabrication to material innovation. In 2016 they won the Swiss Technology Award with their project “Mesh Mould”, for their novel approach to building with concrete.

Feeling a deep sympathy between architecture and programming, the pair imagines a kind of architecture that smashes the barriers between the “virtual” and the “actual”. Their interest lies in the combination of data and materials to produce new architectural expression. “We are convinced that deep integration of digital logics into the craft of architecture will change architecture in a dramatic way”. Their work “Pike Loop” was installed in Manhattan in 2009. More than seven thousand bricks aggregate to form an infinite loop that weaves along the pedestrian island. In changing rhythms the loop built on-site with an industrial robot from a movable truck trailer.

Mesh Mould (2012-2014), Courtesy of Gramazio & Kohler

Mesh Mould (2012-2014), Courtesy of Gramazio & Kohler

Pike Loop, Manhattan (2009), Photography: Juventino Mateo

Pike Loop, Manhattan (2009), Photography: Juventino Mateo

5. ALEJANDRO ARAVENA | Elemental S.A.

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Alejandro Aravena

Urban architect Alejandro Aravena was born in Santiago, Chile in 1967. He is the executive director of the firm Elemental S.A. and in 2016 he won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious recognition to architects. Since 2000, he has been a visiting professor at Harvard, with a lot of publications and restless research on urban design and the evolution of cities.

Aravena’s plans extend far from the standard considerations of building and line, into theories of social organization and civic engagement. His philosophy in architecture is to bring the community into the design, to create spaces of lives rather than empty cells. Although his firm also does master planning and private work, it is most famous for its “half a good house” developments. With limited resources, they build the absolute necessary part of a house for a low-income family to live.[2] Over time, the residents extend or develop their property according to their needs and financial state. Two of his famous “half a good house” projects are Quinta Monroy Housing in Iquique (2004) and Monterrey Housing in Monterrey (2010).

uinta Monroy Housing, Iquique, (2004). Photograph by Cristobal Palma

Quinta Monroy Housing, Iquique, (2004). Photograph by Cristobal Palma

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Monterrey Housing, Monterrey, (2010). Photography: Ramiro Ramirez

6. SHIGERU BAN | Shigeru Ban Architects

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Shigeru Ban

Shigeru Ban, born in 1957 is a Pritzker winner Japanese architect, known for his innovative work with paper, particularly recycled cardboard tubes used on emergency shelters to house people after natural disasters. Although his humanitarian buildings are temporary low-cost structures, built after earthquakes, floods or wars, they seem to last longer than necessary and consist developing communities.

In Chengdu, China, an elementary school built as a stop-gap after a 2008 earthquake is still in daily use. And his cardboard church in Kobe, Japan, built for the city’s Catholic community in the aftermath of a 1995 earthquake, was shipped to Taiwan in 2008, where it still stands. “Whether the structure is temporary or permanent is not dependent on what kind of material it is made from. If the structure is loved by the people, it will stay forever.” [3]

Hualin Temporary Elementary School. Photography: Li Jun

Hualin Temporary Elementary School. Photography: Li Jun

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Paper Church, Kobe, Japan. Courtesy of Shigeru Ban Architects

7. MA YANSONG | MAD Architects

Ma Yansong. Photography: Teh Eng Koon

Ma Yansong. Photograph: Teh Eng Koon

Ma Yansong started his journey in architecture in Zaha Hadid’s office. In 2004, he formed his own company, MAD Architects, along with Dang Qun and Yosuke Hayano. MAD Architects is a global architecture firm developing futuristic, organic, technologically advanced designs, being the most innovative and dynamic architecture practice of contemporary China. With proposals to cover Tiananmen Square in thick forest and build a floating city over Ground Zero, no one can accuse him of playing it safe.

He won the competition for Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago, which was the first overseas culture landmark designed by a Chinese architect. Most of MAD’s latest projects follow the conception of “Shanshui City”, creating a new balance among society, the city and the environment through new architectural forms. In 2017 his first build project based on this concept will be launched; Chaoyang Park Plaza in China. It is a complex of skyscrapers, office blocks and public spaces, all designed to resemble mountains, hills and lakes.

Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Chicago. Courtesy of MAD Architects

Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Chicago. Courtesy of MAD Architects

Chaoyang Park Plaza, China. Courtesy of MAD Architects

Chaoyang Park Plaza, China. Courtesy of MAD Architects

8. BJARKE INGELS | Bjarke Ingels Group

Bjarke Ingels. Photography: Steve Benisty

Bjarke Ingels. Photography: Steve Benisty

Bjarke Ingels is a Danish architect known for his innovative, playful, and practical design. He is the founding partner of BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group and creator of many notable works around the world including the 8 House and the Danish Maritime Museum. He is known for buildings that defy traditional architectural conventions and dimensions, ranging from representations of mountains to snowflakes. His designs incorporate sustainable development ideas and sociological concepts, along with sloped lines that are shaped to their surroundings.

In 2017 we are expecting BIG’s new visitor center of Lego, located in Billund, Denmark. The building is designed to look like a stack of the famous plastic bricks rising from the public square and will contain exhibition spaces, cafe,shops, and public roof gardens.

8 House, Copenhagen. Courtesy of BIG

8 House, Copenhagen. Courtesy of BIG

Lego House, Billud, Denmark. Courtesy of BIG

Lego House, Billud, Denmark. Courtesy of BIG

9. SOU FUJIMOTO | Sou Fujimoto Architects

Sou Fujimoto

Sou Fujimoto

Born in Hokkaido in 1971, he graduated from the University of Tokyo in 1994, and established his own office, Sou Fujimoto Architects, in 2000. Noted for delicate light structures and permeable enclosures, Fujimoto designed several private houses, shops and restaurants. Among them is the famous House N, a structure combined by three layered shells  presenting the japanese philosophy of privacy gradation.

“I have always had doubts about streets and houses being separated by a single wall, and wondered that a gradation of rich domain accompanied by various senses of distance between streets and houses might be a possibility, such as: a place inside the house that is fairly near the street; a place that is a bit far from the street, and a place far off the street, in secure privacy”, says the architect.

House N. Courtesy of Sou Fujimoto Architects

House N. Courtesy of Sou Fujimoto Architects

House N. Courtesy of Sou Fujimoto Architects

House N. Courtesy of Sou Fujimoto Architects

10. FERNANDO ROMERO | Fr-ee

Fernando Romero. Courtesy of designboom

Fernando Romero. Courtesy of designboom

Fernando Romero (born 11 October 1971) is a Mexican architect, urban designer, educator and author. In 2011, his company fr·ee (Fernando Romero Enterprise) received international recognition for the design of the new Mexico City International Airport. Romero seeks to capture in his works a contemporary concept through the use of art materials and technology, supported by research from other fields and disciplines. It is commonly referred to by the futuristic and minimalist aesthetic that employs in his works. Moreover, he seeks to integrate sustainable and green walls in his projects.

The Museo Soumaya that he created in 2011 is a six story building covered by 16,000 hexagonal aluminum tiles. The museum has a narrow entrance that opens into a large white gallery. The top floor of the building is opened so that it is illuminated by sunlight during the daytime. In addition to the art galleries, the new building contains a library, restaurant, and an 350-seat auditorium.

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Mexico City’s New Airport. Courtesy of fr-ee

Museo Soumaya. Photography: Rafael Gamo

Museo Soumaya. Photography: Rafael Gamo

DAVID ADJAYE | Adjaye Associates

David Adjaye. Photography: Dominik Gigler

David Adjaye. Photography: Dominik Gigler

David Adjaye  is recognised as a leading architect of his generation. Adjaye was born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents and his influences range from contemporary art, music and science to African art forms and the civic life of cities. In 1994 he set up his first office, where his ingenious use of materials and his sculptural ability established him as an architect with an artist’s sensibility and vision. With offices in London and New York, Adjaye Associates have a huge range of projects such as The Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C.

The last one establishes a strong conceptual resonance with America’s deep and longstanding African heritage. The design rests on three cornerstones: the “corona” shape and form of the building, the extension of the building out into the landscape and the porch.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver. Courtesy of Adjaye Associates

Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver. Courtesy of Adjaye Associates

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Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington D.C. Courtesy of Adjaye Associates

JOHN + PATRICIA PATKAU | Patkau Architects

John & Patricia Patkau

John & Patricia Patkau

Patkau Architects is an architecture and design research studio based in Vancouver, Canada. They explore the richness and diversity of architectural practice, understanding it as a critical cultural act that engages our most fundamental desires and aspirations. In over 35 years of practice, the studio has been responsible for a wide variety of project types, ranging in scale from art installations to major urban buildings.[5]

Patkau Architects designed the Shaw House realizing the narrow site only allowed for spatial expansion out over the water and upward. The main characteristic of this project is the pool over the main entrance with a transparent bottom that creates beautiful water and lighting effects. In the following year, we are expecting of them the new Edmonton Public Library Capilano Branch set to be complete in Canada, serving up to 170,000 visitors annually.

Shaw House. Photography: Benjamin Benschneider

Shaw House. Photography: Benjamin Benschneider

Edmonton Public Library Capilano Branch. Courtesy of Patkau Architects

Edmonton Public Library Capilano Branch. Courtesy of Patkau Architects

References

[1] Wiles W., (2010), Profile: Gramazio & Kohler, Retrieved from http://www.iconeye.com/design/features/item/4478-profile-gramazio-kohler [Accessed 05 January 2017]

[3] Corkill E., (2013), Shigeru Ban: ‘People’s architect’ combines permanence and paper, Retrieved from http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2013/04/07/people/peoples-architect-shigeru-ban-combines-permanence-and-paper/#.WG68bn2T7VI [Accessed 06 January 2017]

[4] Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Project: Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Retrieved from http://www.rpbw.com/project/83/stavros-niarchos-foundation-cultural-center/ [Accessed 06 January 2017]

[5] Patkau Architects, Patkau Architects Firm Description, Retrieved from http://www.patkau.ca/firm.htm [Accessed 06 January 2017]