Our world is ever-evolving, both for better and for worse. But, from intelligent housing developments to Texan retreats, here are five structures that have changed the landscape in their part of the world for the good.
Yuhang Opera House, Hangzhou
Found between the city of Hangzhou and the serene shores of East Lake, the Hangzhou Yuhang Opera stands tall in the skyline. At the same time, however, it rises gracefully from the water like a blue whale, whilst taking influence from traditional Chinese water gardens. The building is at the heart of a new cultural hub in Yuhang, a district in Hangzhou, and will encompass a variety of spaces, including a 1400-seat multipurpose auditorium, a 500-seat black box theatre and exhibition center. Find out more here.
Spanning 1.5-hectares, and overlooking the Loire River in Nantes, six new, mixed-use buildings have been completed. Named Polaris, this complex of apartments, restaurants, cafes and bars comes from a collaborative design effort between French architecture firms LAN, Abinal & Ropars and Atelier Stéphane Fernandez. Working together, the buildings echo the famous designs of Auguste Perret and François Hennebique, who formed France’s modern day aesthetic through a pioneering use of reinforced concrete. Find out more here.
The Serpentine Coffee House, London
Great works of architecture don’t have to be expansive gallery spaces or towering skyscrapers. Sometimes, they can be found in a coffee shop. That’s the case for the recently unveiled, and Mizzi Studio designed, Serpentine Coffee House, which provides caffeine fixes for London’s tourists. Nicknamed ‘Stingray’ thanks to its waved canopy roof, the building is a semi-transparent glass pavilion, allowing for natural light to flood inside that is reminiscent of Japanese tea rooms. Find out more here.
Summit House, London
Drenched in pastel pink hues, sleek velvet greens and tabletop topiary, London’s Summit House has re-opened following a refurbishment from The Office Group (TOG) and Stockholm interior designers Note. Founded by Johannes Carlström and Cristiano Pigazzini in 2008 Note have cultivated an unconventional approach to architecture that encompasses products, graphic and identity design. Erected in 1925 the Grade-II listed building will be used as a flexible workspace, set within a former ballroom, events hub and members meeting place, providing soothing respite from the city streets. Find out more here.
Willow House, Terlingua
Nestled within the expansive Texan desert, Willow House is a holiday retreat for those looking for solitude. Amongst the silent landscape found beneath the stars, Willow House is made of a dozen small structures, each enjoying undisturbed views of the surrounding mountains. Uniquely curated artworks hang on the wall of each casita, picked by its proprietor and designer Lauren Werner, while the communal nature of the complex provides opportunity to cook, mix a cocktail and meet fellow adventurers. Find out more here.
Lead image: Henning Larsen, Hangzhou Yuhang Opera House, Philippe Rualt, Afternoon Lake.