Wind and Rain Bridge, China

Design Museum shortlists world’s new architectural wonders for Beazley Designs of the Year

With the Beazley Designs of the Year in its tenth year of running, the architecture category has unveiled many revolutionary ideas that could become commonplace in the future, from buildings that harvest water from the sky to memorials honouring those killed in terrorist attacks.

One nominee is the Warka Water tower, a structure that collects rain and harvests fog and dew from the atmosphere without using any electricity, relying on gravity, condensation and evaporation. This tower that collects drinkable water may yet save the quarter of the world’s population that has no safe drinking water.

Another green inspired nominee is the Plug-In house, built by Mrs Fan to add new functions to her existing house, at 30 times less cost than the typical apartment in Beijing, while having energy efficiency equal to new apartment towers. The panels for it include wiring and plumbing and can be constructed by unskilled workers in a day.

The Lycée Schorge Secondary School in Burkina Faso was also built by local people, from locally sourced materials to create an eco-friendly place. It functions as a marker on the landscape, with nine modules which accommodate a series of classrooms and administration rooms surrounding a public courtyard.

Newly renovated from Barcelona’s abandoned Old Peace and Justice Cooperative Building, The Sala Beckett Theatre and International Drama Centre retained the dimensional characteristics while expanding and adapting the space to accommodate new activities.

In Venice, The famous Il Fondaco Tedeschi has also been remodelled as a contemporary urban department store to stage a diverse range of activities, from shopping to cultural events, social gatherings and everyday life. Constructed in 1228, the building has had many uses in its history, but this is one that avoids nostalgic reconstructions of the past and demystifies the ‘sacred’ image of a historical building.

The architect in charge of the Hegnhuset Memorial and Learning Centre, however, decided to honour the 69 victims of the Norwegian terrorist attacks of 2011 that struck the island of Utøya by renovating the café where 13 of them tragically lost their lives. The architect left the rooms directly affected in the massacre as a cabin building within a pine structure. The panel windows are framed by 69 columns that pay tribute to every fatality, while the outer layer has 495 wooden slats, one for every person on the island that survived the attack.

Created to recognise the importance of the black community in American history and identity, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. has bronze plates, patterned to reference the history of African American craftsmanship, that shade the glass façade behind it. The three-floored, 313,000-square-foot building recognises the minority culture as central in American society.

The Wind and Rain Bridge, constructed to reconnect isolated, rural communities after major flooding in 2014. It draws on the tradition in the area of creating wooden buildings, doing so without using any mechanical fasteners.

Another nominee inspired by local culture, the Calais Builds Project was community infrastructure that architects worked with local migrants to design and build before it was demolished by the French Government. It included a Women’s and Children’s Centre and the Baloo’s Youth Centre, but when they were demolished, the inhabitants were displaced and that section of culture destroyed. Made of cardboard, wood and found materials, Weltstadt - Refugees’ Memories and Futures as Models features models of buildings, for example: homes, schools, offices, workshops and houses of prayer. They are made by people who came to Germany as refugees, reflecting on the lost spaces.

To preserve a disused fire station in Antwerp's docks, the architects of Port House added a glass extension to it. The extension is elevated so as not to conceal one of the fire station’s existing facades, and construction material was transported over water to meet the port’s ecological targets.

In 2015, the Vanke Group started to raise funds to revitalise the environment and conserve the once derelict Five Dragons Temple, originally constructed in the Tang dynasty. This also helps to raise awareness of the oldest surviving Taoist temple.

To perfectly preserve a 300-year-old listed building, the Croft Lodge Studio has been established around it. The new outer shell retains the shape of the existing cottage, and protects it from the elements with its cladding of corrugated iron to reflect the common use of this material in Herefordshire for agricultural buildings.

Winners for each category will be decided by industry experts and by public vote, which will open in October 2017. Award winners will be announced in January 2018, with the winning designs on show at the Design Museum, London, in October 2018.

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