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World Architecture in 2010

Architectural Review of 2010 by Adrian Welch & Isabelle Lomholt

post updated 21 June 2021

World Architecture 2010 Review

Looking back over the past year it is clear that major events provided a generous stage for architecture. We had the World Cup in South Africa, then the Shanghai Expo. From August to October we had the Venice Biennale.

Expo Shanghai 2010, China
Expo Shanghai 2010 World Architecture in 2010
photo : Thomas Ott, Mühltal

Venice Biennale, Italy
Venice Biennale 2010
image © Adrian Welch

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE : World’s Tallest Building
Burj Khalifa
photograph : Imre Solt

Major buildings completed in 2010 include the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifah in Dubai and MAXXI by Zaha Hadid Architects in Rome.

MAXXI Rome, Italy – by Zaha Hadid
photo : Roland Halbe

Dynamo Stadium, Moscow, Russia – FIFA 2018 World Cup Venues
Dynamo Stadium Moscow
image © (Designed by) Erick van Egeraat

Finally, at the end of the year we had the announcement of the World Cup venues in Russia and Qatar, unveiling designs for stadiums in those countries.

World Cup Stadiums Qatar – FIFA 2022 World Cup Venues
World Cup Stadium Al Shamal
render © hhvision, Cologne

Key Buildings completed in 2010

Other significant buildings that have opened in the year include:

Masdar Institute Campus, Abu Dhabi, UAE : Foster + Partners
Masdar Institute campus
photo : Nigel Young / Foster + Partners
Compared to a large amount of flashy buildings in UAE these buildings show restraint and respect to the arabic culture. Fosters have been criticised in recent years for too many identikit buildings – simple glassy volumes such as Moor House or More London – but here they eschew glass and metal for more earthy materials and employ texture and filigree within the forms.

Mountains & Opening House, Japan : EASTERN design office
Mountains & Opening House Japan
photo from architects
We have always admired the Japanese propensity for innovation – here is an unusual hill-top house that caught our eye.

Vitra Haus, Germany : Herzog & de Meuron
Vitra Haus showrooms
photograph Iwan Baan, © Vitra
Herzog & de Meuron also have a strong reputation for innovation, notably since their twisted copper cladding of the Signal Box in Basel was completed and silk screen printed glass and concrete at Mulhouse and Eberswalde. Here it is not innovation in facade treatment but a bold play with form. Separate extruded forms are deposited in an informal way, volumes crunching together.

Neues Museum, Germany : David Chipperfield Architects with Julian Harrap
Neues Museum
photograph : Ute Zscharnt
Masterful project, an antidote to the surfeit of wild and wacky projects prevalent in world architecture. Buildings by Chipperfield are generally serious and restrained, in fact projects like the Justice Campus in Barcelona verge on the severe, so he was a good choice for this project, a sensitive reworking of one of Germany’s major museums. A strong contender for the Stirling Prize, it was pipped by Zaha’s MAXXI.

Ravensbourne College building, London : Foreign Office Architects
Ravensbourne College
photo : Morley von Sternberg
Foreign Office Architects through their writing and lectures show a strong interest in tessellation and mathematical generation of pattern – for example their waterfront landscape in Barcelona. This is the most overt expression of this interest so far, reminiscent of Jean Nouvel’s Institut Du Monde Arabe in Paris, albeit without the facade grid and oculus movement.

Lafayette 148, Shantou, Guangdong, China : Studio for Architecture
Lafayette 148
photograph : But-Sou Lai
It is not often you see a building that really surprises you, but this is one. Essentially a massive box with a decorative facade, nothing new in a way, but the punctured brise soleil that ripple across the facades vary in a supple way, beyond the typical random patterning fashionable across the globe. Perhaps the show is skin deep but nevertheless we look forward to the next buildings by the relatively unknown Studio for Architecture with anticipation.

Capital Gate Abu Dhabi, UAE : ‘World’s Furthest Leaning Manmade Tower’
Capital Gate
image from RMJM
Ok, a building that leans a lot! It appeared in the Guinness Book of Records.

Central St Giles London, UK : Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Central St Giles
photo © Nick Weall
Controversial building – a large new form in the centre of London with Renzo Piano trying to reduce bulk by division into facades each at a different angle and height…and colour. The vivid colours are fresh and fun but are violently different to the historic context. With the studio’s Shard tower (to be London’s tallest tower) also under attack London is a place of major work but also of concern for RPBW.

Centre Pompidou-Metz, France : Shigeru Ban, architect
Centre Pompidou-Metz
photo : Roland Halbe
Everyone gets the original Pompidou by Rogers and Piano, whatever its weaknesses it was a bold structure that clearly expressed some novel ideas, making a spectacle of both circulation (the external escalators) and servicing (the external coloured ducts). What can we make of Shigeru Ban’s project for the Pompidou, located near the Belgian border? Many of the studio’s projects have shown breathtaking confidence, especially the Curtain Wall house from 1995 but here the conversation between flowing lattice roof and other elements becomes convoluted.

Evelyn Grace Academy, Brixton, London, UK : Zaha Hadid Architects
Evelyn Grace Academy
photograph © Luke Hayes
Hadid’s warped forms more usually found in arts buildings and private houses here work with the confines of an English school programme, in a deptived community – according to the school pupils an inspirational environment in which to learn.

8 House, Ørestad, Copenhagen, Denmark : BIG, architects
Big House
photograph : Ty Stange
BIG have been rapidly rising to prominence – when we interviewed Bjarke Ingels at the Venice Biennale it was clear the studio was now engaged beyond its core typology of housing. Nevertheless in our view this is where BIG have excelled most, since the VM Mountain Dwellings and indeed right back to the days of PLOT and their Ørestad housing

A house awaiting death, Japan : EASTERN design office
House awaiting death Japan
photograph : Koichi Torimrua
Like the Mountains & Opening House again we have thought-provoking Japanese poetry made concrete, intriguing and honest project.

1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, USA : Herzog & de Meuron
1111 Lincoln Road car park
Nelson Garrido/1111Lincoln Road MBeach1, LLLP
A straightforward commission, the type many studios might not publish, Herzog & de Meuron work their magic to transform a car park into sculpture.

Buildings in 2011

Major Buildings to look out for in 2011 include

Abu Dhabi Louvre Building, UAE : Jean Nouvel
Abu Dhabi Louvre site
photo from the architects
A major commission and a major architects studio, a welcome antidote in the arabic world to the glitzy multitude of recent skyscrapers – as was I M Pei’s recent Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar.

Metropol Parasol, Seville, Spain : J. MAYER H. Architects
Metropol Parasol
image from architect
J. MAYER H. Architects have a reputation for exciting organic forms, notably their stunning Dupli.Casa house from a couple of years ago. Normally they work with steel and concrete, but here the organic forms are softened by the timber lattice. Too early to evaluate fully, we hope to show the completed structures soon.

Guangzhou Opera House, China : Zaha Hadid Architects
Guangzhou Opera House
image from ZHA
Due for publication at the end of Winter, another major Zaha Hadid building

Glasgow Transport Museum, Scotland, UK : Zaha Hadid Architects
Glasgow Transport Museum
picture © webbaviation
Zaha’s first sizable building in her adopted homeland

Architectural Designs

Architecture Context : article by Trevor Tucker. 21 Sep 2010

Design Narrative : article by Lee Miles – 7 Sep 2010

Website: Architecture City Walking Tours

Planetization Architecture : article by Mphethi Morojele – 17 Aug 2010

Sustainable Buildings – Building Issues : article by Adrian Welch

Comments / photos for the Architectural Review of 2010 Article page welcome