5 Coolest Urban Innovation & Design Projects of 2018
Urban architecture has brought numerous innovative design projects around the globe that represent stunning architectural masterpieces. The top five designs for 2018 are extraordinary examples that have united nature and architecture, promoting sustainability, botanical diversity and innovation as their main characteristics. While some are award-winning buildings, others are unique design projects that have reimagined our connection with nature.
1. Oasia Hotel Downtown, Singapore
Oasia Hotel Downtown is a mesmerising architectural monument that has brought nature right to the heart of Singapore’s busy Central Business District. This stunning building has won the award for the best tall building in Asia and Australasia, but that’s not the only thing that makes it special. Oasia Hotel Downtown is actually a tropical “living tower”, a prototype of land-use intensification. It’s authentic red aluminium façade is covered with various plant species while its skyscraper is embellished with a lush tropical bower. The building hosts office spaces, hotel and club rooms located on different levels. Each level has a breath-taking sky garden while ground levels feature public areas for recreation. The project was designed and developed by WOHA architects and Far East Organization.
2. The Office of the Future, Dubai
The Office of the Future is another award-winning construction on the list, enjoying the status of the world’s “first fully functional and permanently occupied 3D printed building”. Having won the Award of Excellence, this architectural project is an innovative example of what the future of technology has in store for us. A six-metre-high 3D printer and an additive concrete printing technique were used to create the structure of the building while its intricate façade cladding was made using custom-cut fabricated panels. Currently, the Office of the Future is the headquarters of the Dubai Future Foundation and an exhibition space.
3. A magical immersive botanical installation, Hong Kong
This charming interior design project shows the grandeur of nature in the most magical light. Located at Pacific Place, this botanical installation exhibits plant species from Hong Kong’s jungle in magically illuminated, high-tech capsules. The capsules exhibit botanical features in a truly magical way, enabling visitors to see them perfectly owing to built-in proximity sensors. The installation can be seen from all levels, filling the space with a mesmerising effect.
The process of selecting and curating plants was actually quite exciting and educational since local children had an opportunity to select plant specimens along with renowned botanists and arborists. This magical immersive botanical installation was designed by Studio X, a reputable architecture firm in Hong Kong, that also encouraged exploration, education and environmental awareness by creating a mobile app. This magical project has enabled them to bring the essence of Hong Kong’s jungle right to their urban centre.
4. MULTI, Rottweil
MULTI, the first rope-less elevator has been designed in Rottweil, Germany by German elevator manufacturer Thyssenkrupp, becoming the winner of Innovation Award. Not only is MULTI free from ropes, but it can actually move both vertically and horizontally. This extraordinary elevator is powered by liner motor technology and takes up less space than regular elevators since it requires smaller shafts. What makes it even more special is the fact that it features multiple cabins, resembling a metro system. Furthermore, MULTI’s transport capacity is increased by 50 percent, providing passengers with an empty cabin every 15 to 30 seconds. Another important feature of this rope-less elevator is its energy-efficiency, which reduces the building’s energy consumption while also decreasing the investment costs.
5. Beirut Terraces, Beirut
Nestled in Beirut’s Central District is the astonishing waterfront residential tower – Beirut Terraces. This building is an emblem of high-end living in Lebanon that puts the “vertical village concept” to the forefront. Beirut Terraces feature a unique design that merges the indoor and outdoor living experience. The building features multiple levels with extended terraces, with interior tiling embellishing the exterior areas. Beirut Terraces are also home to diverse plant species, green walls, customised planters and extended perforated slabs that add to its unique appeal. Furthermore, the use of exquisite materials, fine detailing and energy-efficient engineering solutions also characterise this award-winning, best tall building in Middle East and Africa.
The architecture and design scenes have presented numerous stunning projects and buildings that are extraordinary examples of urban innovation. While some bring nature right in the hearts of metropolises, other demonstrate the potentials of technological advancements.