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Future Building

Five fine examples of pioneering architecture

Nanjing Vertical Forest, China Credit: Stefano Boeri Architects
Vessel, New York City Credit: Forbes Massie
V&A Museum of Design, Dundee Credit: V&A Museum of Design, Dundee
Battersea Power Station Credit: Battersea Power Station
Changi Airport, Singapore Credit: Jewel Changi Airport Development

No longer can new building projects stand alone from the communities in which they are placed. Today’s architects forge pioneering designs that not only look fantastic, but also help to reimagine how their structures can slot seamlessly into their environment via eco-friendly additions and a new level of spatial awareness. From 2018’s forthcoming museums to reimagined airports, here are our picks.


Vessel, New York City

A typically bravura piece of Thomas Heatherwick creativity, Vessel is part sculpture, part destination. Designed for the radically overhauled neighbourhood built atop New York’s Hudson Yards rail lines, Vessel sits in a plaza alongside a cluster of new apartments, offices and cultural buildings. Inspired by the inversion of the deep stepwells of India, Vessel is formed from 154 sets of staircases, intersecting at 80 platforms, crisscrossing each other to form a woven façade of almost 2,500 steps. Visit


V&A Museum of Design, Dundee

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma’s dramatic design features a massively complex structural concrete frame overlaid with concrete ribbons that precisely follow the contours. The end result is a shore-grazing dazzle ship, a series of nautical forms that will someday serve the city’s burgeoning design culture. Visit


Battersea Power Station, London

Several thousand square metres of high-end apartments, retail and office spaces form part of the reimagined power station from Rafael Viñoly. Luckily, the structure is tough enough to withstand the juxtaposition of so much glass and steel. New buildings include works by Foster + Partners, Frank Gehry and more. This year should see the completion of the first couple of phases and work progressing on a new tube (train) stop to join the dots with the rest of the city. Visit


Changi Airport, Singapore

A verdant torus-shaped glasshouse, this new retail-centre extension to Singapore’s Changi Airport goes much further than most terminal refurbs. The work of Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, “Project Jewel” is a central spoke for Changi, sitting between three existing terminals and encompassing a deluge of shopping and dining opportunities across 10 floors, half of which are below ground. The Jewel’s crowning glory is the sprawling jungle-like planting scheme, offering a true oasis from the typical airport ambience, albeit one that’s well serviced by stores and restaurants. Visit


Nanjing Vertical Forest, China

Stefano Boeri is one of a new breed of green architects seeking to literally wrap their creations in nature, rather than simply making them as efficient as possible. The Vertical Forest offers up two towers comprising hotels, offices and business suites, all set atop a large podium. Thanks to generously broad balconies, high floor plates, additional structural support and a clever network of irrigation, the forest will ultimately support around 1,100 trees and thousands more cascading plants and shrubs, helping soak up CO2 and creating a welcome alternative to the glassy corporate tower. Visit

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