AN INCREDIBLE YEAR FOR ARCHITECTURE

In 2016, the best architects rethought everything. They transformed familiar building types like skyscrapers, offices, and museums. They resurrected once-neglected materials like brick and plywood. They tweaked expected features like skylights and balconies. And they found novel ways to fuse structures with their surroundings, carving out new public spaces, inserting contemporary forms into historic fabrics, and merging buildings with landscapes. Some of the very best designs were sequels—extensions to existing structures, reuses of historic buildings, or painstaking renovations. And structures that are often ignored or overlooked—salt sheds, filtration plants, and the like—finally got some love. Here, in no particular order, are 25 projects of note from the past year. Part 2 of 2.

Author: Sam Lubell

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Santiago Calatrava, World Trade Center Oculus, New York


New York’s new transportation hub doubles as one of the world’s most architectural malls. The structure’s spacious, gleaming-white interior is supported by massive steel ribs, which afford glimpses of surrounding skyscrapers. History will determine whether it was worth the $4-billion price tag, but in the meantime, there’s no denying it’s a mesmerizing addition to Lower Manhattan.

Photography: Alan Karchmer

OMA, Pierre Lassonde Pavilion, Quebec


For the Musée National Des Beaux-Arts du Quebec’s newest building, OMA stacked three volumes of decreasing size, ascending from the Parc des Champs-de-Bataille to the rest of the city. In this way the structure is as much a bridge as it is a series of galleries.

Photography: Iwan Baan

WOHA, Oasia Hotel, Singapore


This combination hotel/residence/office building pulls quadruple-duty as a haven for birds and insects. Red aluminum mesh envelopes the building and intermingles with green plants and brightly colored flowers that provide shelter for the animals. Inside, large, exposed green spaces—WOHA calls them sky gardens—are a nice touch for humans, too.

Patrick Bingham-Hall

Grimshaw and Ken Smith, Croton Filtration Plant, New York


Most water filtration plants are eye sores. But New York’s newest treatment facility is buried deep in the ground and topped with a nine-acre driving range. Water elements surrounding the facility look good while enhancing security and capturing runoff.

Croton Water Treatment Plant

Herzog & DeMeuron, Tate Modern Switch House, London


This 10-story building, on the site of a power station switch house, provides the Tate Modern with 60 percent more space. The pyramid-shaped tower is clad in intricate brickwork that folds dramatically as it rises. Inside, volumes vary widely, from intimate, small-scale environments to dramatic top-lit spaces.

Photography: Iwan Baan

Alban Bassuet, Oehme, van Sweden & Associates, Tippet Rise Art Center, Fishtail, Montana


This magical new arts complex is nestled into the breathtaking Montana foothills (aka the middle of nowhere), and mingles rustic-style classical music venues with surreal, oversized sculptures

Photography: Iwan Baan

Knight Architecture, Yale Center For British Art, New Haven, Connecticut


Perhaps most famous for its cylindrical, cement staircase, the Yale Center for British Art is an astonishing example of Louis Kahn’s gift for eliciting visceral emotion through volume, light, and materials. A team led by Knight Architecture brought it back to life, updating its outdated systems, carefully restoring original materials and configurations, and leaving some poetic wear and tear.

Richard Caspole

Steven Holl, Ex of In House, Rhinebeck


Architect Steven Holl designed this house to evoke the landscape on which it sits. The building’s wood-clad, spherical rooms, which lend it a hollowed-out appearance, recall the boulders that populate the surrounding nature reserve.

Photography: Iwan Baan

SOM, US Air Force Academy Center For Character and Leadership Development, Colorado Springs


Highlighted by a pyramidal, 105-foot-tall-skylight, the glass-enclosed structure contains offices, a library, collaboration rooms, and other spaces on several terraced levels. It’s a proper companion to SOM’s 1962 Cadet Chapel, a triangular building marked by 17 glass and aluminum spires, and one of the country’s most iconic buildings.

David Lena

Hollwich Kushner and KSS, Pennovation Center, Philadelphia


This Philadelphia business center looks like a warehouse mated with a spaceship (in a good way). Designed by Hollwich Kushner and KSS, the structure combines crystalline forms of steel and glass with a three-story brick-and-concrete industrial building across the Schuylkill River from the University of Pennsylvania.

Monica Schipper/Getty Images/The Bryant

WJE Engineers & Architects, Rose Reading Room Renovation, New York


The New York Public Library’s historic Rose Reading Room is one of the city’s grandest architectural gems. In October, it reopened following a two year restoration. The renovation repaired cracks, reinforced structure, restored the building’s iconic plaster rosettes, fixed damaged murals, and improved lighting. It’s a magnificent touch-up job that you might not notice while reveling in the gorgeous, 52-foot-tall space.

Max Touhey

Archi-Tectonics, InScape, New York


Forget cheap cushions and gym-like tantra rooms, this next-level meditation studio in Manhattan’s Flatiron district is more tricked out than most boutique hotels. Don’t forget to check out the ceilings: One features a floating, web-like rope installation by artist Tini Courtney, another a spiraling, woven pattern of bamboo.

Frederick Charles