The Shortlist For The 'Building Of The Year' Awards Showcases Innovation Across The Globe

25 Of The Most Beautiful Buildings Designed Or Created Last Year

From a pool of over 3,000 buildings designed and created in the past year, the folks over at Arch Daily have narrowed down their annual Building of the Year nominations.

The shortlist contains five buildings per category -- which range from houses and housing to educational and healthcare architecture. The competing designs hail from locales as diverse as Chile, Vietnam, Italy, China, Poland and Burundi, imagined by familiar firms like Shigeru Ban Architects, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Kengo Kuma & Associates and Grimshaw Architects. Whether it's an iceberg-inspired apartment complex in Denmark or a region's first library, the stunning creations represent some of the most boundary-pushing, awe-inspiring buildings popping up all over the world in the 21st century.

Below is a preview of 25 of the most impressive buildings in the running. When you're done feasting on the visual wonder that is architecture today, you can vote for your favorite projects here until February 4th, 2015 (read the complete rules).

© Mikkel Frost
The Iceberg / CEBRA + JDS + SeARCH + Louis Paillard Architects (Denmark): "The Iceberg is among the first projects to be finished in an area that on completion will be home to 7,000 inhabitants and provide 12,000 workplaces. Its total site area of 800,000 m2 makes it one of Europe’s largest harbor front city developments."
© Murray Fredericks
One Central Park / Ateliers Jean Nouvel (Australia): "The public park at the heart of the precinct climbs the sides of the floor-to-ceiling glass towers to form a lush 21st century canopy. Using 250 species of Australian flowers and plants, the buds and blooms of the vegetation form a musical composition on the façade. Vines and leafy foliage spring out between floors and provide the perfect frame for Sydney’s skyline."
© Hiroyuki Oki
House for Trees / Vo Trong Nghia Architects (Vietnam): "The aim of the project is to bring green space back into the city, accommodating high-density dwelling with big tropical trees. Five concrete boxes are designed as 'pots' to plant trees on their tops. With thick soil layer, these pots also function as storm-water basins for detention and retention, therefore contribute to reduce the risk of flooding in the city when the idea is multiplied to a large number of houses in the future."
© Javier Callejas Sevilla
The House of the Infinite / Alberto Campo Baeza (Spain): "On a marvelous place like a piece of earthly paradise, at Cádiz, we have built an infinite plane facing the infinite sea, the most radical house we have ever made."
© Hiroyuki Hirai
Nine Bridges Country Club / Shigeru Ban Architects (South Korea): " This is a new clubhouse for a premier golf course located two hours from Seoul by car. It is composed as three buildings: the main clubhouse for regular members, a VIP members area, and accommodations VIP members. Each building is composed of a different structural system and are presented in a modern sense of traditional construction methods in South Korea."
© João Soares
White Wolf Hotel / AND-RÉ (Portugal): "Completed in 2013 and recently open to the public, White Wolf Hotel is a series of buildings intimately related with the surrounding rich natural environment. The built architecture is a realization of the holistic pretensions of the client. The built architecture objects, profoundly integrated in the natural context, provide holistic and spiritual experiences of calm, intimacy, meditation and retreat."
Educational Architecture
© Gremsy
Farming Kindergarten / Vo Trong Nghia Architects (Vietnam): "Farming Kindergarten is a challenge to counter [issues like increased droughts, floods and salinization]. Located next to a big shoe factory, and designed for 500 children of the factory’s workers, the building is conceived as a continuous green roof, providing food and agriculture experience to children, as well as an extensive playground to the sky."
© Nico Saieh
Innovation Center UC – Anacleto Angelini / Alejandro Aravena | ELEMENTAL (Chile): "In 2011, Angelini Group decided to donate the necessary funds to create a center where companies, businesses and more in general, demand, could converge with researchers and state of the art university knowledge creation. The aim was to contribute to the process of transferring know-how, identifying business opportunities, adding value to existing resources or registering patents in order to improve the country’s competitiveness and consequently its development."
© Fernando Guerra | FG + SG
The Building on the Water / Álvaro Siza + Carlos Castanheira (China): "The inauguration of 'The Building On the Water' of the Shihlien Chemical plant in Huai’An City, Jiangsu Province, will be held on August 30, 2014. This will be the first work unveiled in China by celebrated architect and 1992 Pritzker Prize winner Álvaro Siza."
© Michel Denancé
Pathé Foundation / Renzo Piano Building Workshop (France): "The art of inserting a building into an historical city block means engaging in an open, physical dialogue with those already there. Building onto an extant structure also presents an opportunity for a more widespread renovation project, a reclaiming of space."
Interior Architecture
Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates
Shun Shoku Lounge by Guranavi / Kengo Kuma & Associates (Japan): "We piled up pieces of wooden panels to build the interior like topography. Various kinds of food-related items are laid out on this wooden ground. We expected that the chemistry would be just right for eating and the wooden stratum."
© Daici Ano
SISII / Yuko Nagayama & Associates (Japan): "The brand 'sisii' founded in Motomachi, Kobe, and this is a showroom combined with office is comprised of three actions, which are customers watching the cloths, meeting people, and working staffs. My intention is not to categorically divide the spaces, but to loosely connect and disconnect with differences of heights."
Courtesy of Vo Trong Nghia Architects
Green Renovation / Vo Trong Nghia Architects (Vietnam): "Vietnam’s fast development raises many urban problems; less green space, electricity shortages and flooding. The increasing number of motorbikes are causing traffic jams and serious air pollution. 'Greenfall renovation,' a prototypical single house renovation in Hanoi, was designed against this backdrop, returning greenery to the city and encouraging a comfortable living environment to both the resident and the neighbors."
© Piero Ottaviano
The Number 6 / Building (Italy): "The Number 6, the renovation of Palazzo Valperga Galleani, is one of the bestrepresentations of architectural salvage, respect for cultural heritage, technology,elegance and sense of beauty. The restoration and development, carried out by BuildingEngineering, intended to dramatically re-functionalize an important historical andarchitectonic property, that in spite of its disfiguration during the last century that ledto the loss of its original residential aim."
Cultural Architecture
© Simon Menges
Philharmonic Hall Szczecin / Estudio Barozzi Veiga (Poland): "The building emerges from its urban context, influenced by the steeply pitched roofs and the verticality of the city’s residential buildings, by the monumentality of the upright ornaments of its neo-Gothic churches and the heavy volumes of its Classicist buildings, by the towers that dot its entire skyline and the cranes of its port."
Courtesy of BC architects
Library of Muyinga / BC Architects (Burundi): "The first library of Muyinga, part of a future inclusive school for deaf children, in locally sourced compressed earth blocks, built with a participatory approach."
Public Architecture
Courtesy of Grimshaw Architects
Pulkovo International Airport / Grimshaw Architects + Ramboll + Pascall+Watson (Russia): "Grimshaw’s new terminal at Pulkovo International Airport is now officially open to the public. Grimshaw has worked in a team with Ramboll and Pascall + Watson to design the airport, based in St Petersburg, Russia."
Courtesy of Flanagan Lawrence
Acoustic Shells / Flanagan Lawrence (United Kingdom): "Sited in a sunken garden beside the beach in Littlehampton, West Sussex, UK, these 'Acoustic Shells' act as a stage and shelter for the local community. Prompted by a desire to reinvigorate Littlehampton with its gentility of the early 20th century, the shells materially enhance the public open space of the adjacent greensward and satisfy an essential social need that is not provided elsewhere in the area."
Sports Architecture
© Mikkel Frost / CEBRA
StreetDome / CEBRA + Glifberg + Lykke (Denmark): "Danish architecture and design practices CEBRA and Glifberg+Lykke have designed a multi park and cultural centre for street sports on the harbour front of Haderslev in southern Denmark. StreetDome is a vast and unique urban landscape for activity and recreation including a 4.500 square metre skate park, facilities street basket, parkour, boulder climbing, canoe polo etc."
Courtesy of DP Architects
Singapore SportsHub / DPArchitects (Singapore): "In June 2014 Singapore celebrated the opening of Asia’s first integrated sports, leisure, entertainment and lifestyle destination – the Singapore Sports Hub. Located on a stunning, central, 35-hectare waterfront site, Sports Hub provides a unique ecosystem of sporting, retail and leisure spaces, at the pivot between Singapore’s expanding city centre and the wider public community."
Religious Architecture
© Hundven-Clements Photography
Community Church Knarvik / Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter (Norway): "The new Community Church in Knarvik, located on the scenic west-coast of Norway north of Bergen, is built on a privileged site overlooking the cultural landscape and local town centre. The building is carefully adapted to an existing hillside between built and natural environment, providing the church with an inspiring context of the surrounding heath landscape. Its distinctive and innovative character and central location makes it a landmark in the community, to be inviting and inclusive for all people to cultivate their faith throughout the week."
© Iwan Baan
100 Walls Church / CAZA (Philippines): "What should a sacred space look like today? How should it work? Is there such a thing as a contemporary idea of the sacred? In spite of a glut of typological clues we choose an anti-form. We did not want legibility. We sought to reinforce the experience of the search. Religions are defined by their mysteries and the stories of individuals who break through."
Industrial Architecture
© Nico Saieh
Carozzi Production and Research Food Center / GH+A | Guillermo Hevia (Chile): "The Project is born out of the need to rebuild the Carozzi factory, burnt in 2010. It meant a challenge and an opportunity; new social and industrial concepts, innovation, new technologies and company sustainability are expressed in the buildings architecture."
© Iwan Baan
Bombay Sapphire Distillery / Heatherwick Studio (United Kingdom): "The gin-maker Bombay Sapphire commissioned the creation of the company’s first in-house production facility, which will also be open for members of the public to visit. Formerly a water-powered paper mill, the site contained more than forty derelict buildings, many of historical significance, which have been regenerated and restored as part of Heatherwick Studio’s master plan."
Commercial Architecture
© Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee
Markthal Rotterdam / MVRDV (Netherlands): "At a historical location at the Binnenrotte, next to Blaak Station and the largest weekly open air fresh food and hardware market in Rotterdam, the first covered market of the Netherlands was realized."
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