For Architectural Digest, by Nick Mafi.
For much of modern history, skyscrapers were merely very tall structures with wholly uniform façades. Yet over time architects began to manipulate the exteriors, sometimes removing entire sections altogether. Not only do buildings with holes in them offer city dwellers bold new forms to admire from the outside, but tenants within can enjoy sources of light that more traditional skyscrapers preclude. From an OMA-designed science center in Hamburg to a tower by Zaha Hadid in Dubai, AD looks at the most daring examples of buildings that celebrate the void.
CCTV Tower (Beijing)
Designed in 2008 by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren, the CCTV Tower in Beijing has become an icon in the city's bustling business district.
Grande Arche de la Défense (Paris)
Opened on July 14, 1989, the bicentennial of the French Revolution, the Grande Arche de la Défense in Paris was built as a 20th-century version of the Arc de Triomphe — a structure that’s symbolic of the country’s military strength. Standing 360 feet tall, the building was designed by the Danish architect Johan Otto von Spreckelsen, after he won an international competition.
World Financial Center (Shanghai)
Described by the the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat as "nothing short of genius," the World Financial Center in Shanghai rises 1,614 feet. The building, designed by New York–based firm KPF, includes office and retail space, as well as a Park Hyatt hotel.
Marina 106 (Dubai)
Designed by UAE-based National Engineering Bureau and set to be completed in 2019, Dubai’s Marina 106 will be a luxury residential skyscraper that stretches 1,460 feet into the sky. The tower features a long vertical line on two of its sides, guiding the eye up toward larges holes at the top of the structure.
Guangzhou Circle (Guangzhou, China)
Standing some 452 feet tall, the Guangzhou Circle is one of the bolder buildings in the world. The doughnut-shaped structure was designed by the Italian architect Joseph di Pasquale and sits on the banks of the Zhujiang River in southeastern China.
The Gate of the East (Suzhou, China)
The 990-foot-high Gate of the East is the tallest structure in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou. Designed by London-based firm RMJM and completed in 2014, the building was meant to symbolize a gateway to the city, welcoming people to a new and modern China.
The Mirador (Madrid)
Designed by Dutch firm MVRDV, the Mirador in Madrid is a collection of several types of units stacked together into a modular form. The residential structure includes a garden for its occupants and boasts splendid views of the nearby Guadarrama Mountains.
Hamburg Science Center (Hamburg)
Designed by venerable architecture firm OMA, the as-yet-unrealized Hamburg Science Center would be constructed of ten modular blocks.
Opus Office Tower (Dubai)
Designed by the late Zaha Hadid, the Opus Office Tower in Dubai will house apartment units and a hotel when the structure is completed later this decade. The holistic building includes the signature curves that made the Iraqi-born architect one of the most recognized in the world.
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