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Architecture Now: The Final 5 of the 20 Best Works of 2013

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on November 18, 2014 at 06:04 PM

And now we announce the final 5 of our top 20 designs of 2013! The list has extensively covered various fields of architecture, covering gems in the residential, commercial, institutional and even industrial categories. The final 5 include a University Library; a mixed-use development shopping centre in Sweden; a simple factory building in Singapore; an interesting house in Paddington, Australia which works on making the most of left-over spaces at home; and finally a unique office building in Jaipur, India – a post-modern structure with traditional undertones – by Indian starchitect Sanjay Puri!

© Courtesy of Internet Sources

After going throughthe first 15 of the best designs the previous year has seen, including the likes of Park Royal in Pickering, The Shirashu Residence in Japan, the Holistic Women's Opportunity Centre in Rwanda and the famous Blue Planet Aquarium in Denmark - we now head to the final leg of our design countdown. 

University of Aberdeen New Library - Images 2, 3

Aberdeen University's extraordinary new library has put the 'Silver City' back on the architectural map. Chosen in a 2005 architectural competition, the University of Aberdeen New Library in Scotland, UK was designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects. The building replaced the university's former library, which was built in 1965. The heart of the library is its core atrium, spiraling up and connecting the structure's eight stories. The dynamic interior is an engaging juxtaposition to the library's crisp, angular exterior. Consisting of an irregular pattern of insulated panels and high performance glazing, the façade not only allows plenty of daylight to penetrate into the building but also offers a great view over the city of Aberdeen. 

The library functions as a meeting place and a cultural centre for the students of the University as well as the Aberdeen community. The façade of the building shimmers during the day and glows softly at night, creating a luminous landmark – a beacon – for the city of Aberdeen. According to Morten Schmidt, founding partner of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, the new library has even affected the students' everyday behavior, causing an increase in visitors and enhancing the social community of the university.

Emporia Shopping Center, Sweden - Images 4, 5

The Emporia shopping center in Malmö, Sweden is an all-inclusive urban planning project that combines offices, housing, and retail together in a mixed-use development- the idea of the project was to hide inward-looking retail behind a wreath of commercial and residential buildings .  The  shopping centre is the architect's first realized building from a competition-winning master plan of proposed housing and office blocks. A gigantic golden chasm welcomes visitors to this shopping centre in Malmö by Swedish architects Wingårdhs, consisting of three floors of retail arranged along a figure-of-eight plan. Once all the buildings have been completed, the "amber entrance" will be the only section of the shopping centre visible from the surrounding new streets.

The roof of the structure accommodates a large park with a landscape made up of lawns, and terraces, with scope for future development in outdoor dining and spa facilities. The current structure is intended to be expanded too, a center of a larger development. The structure's jewel tone glass enclosures add to the luxury of the Center, and often challenges the norms of shopping centre conventions.

A Simple Factory Building, Singapore - Images 6, 7

Channeling a 1960s aesthetic, Pencil Office's A Simple Factory Building's vintage-inspired façade provides multiple practical benefits in addition to its aesthetic interest in Singapore. The exterior  amplifies natural light, directs natural ventilation, shields the interior from solar radiation, and conceals mechanical equipment. It  does so by utilizing a sophisticated 1.2-meter-deep veil fabricated in lightweight EIFS and a bronze full-height window-wall envelope.

Conceived as a 4 double-story block, a volumetric subtraction is made from the building's centre to create an open courtyard which  helps in maximizing natural lighting and ventilation as discussed, as well as function as a hoist space for lifting goods. A sophisticated trellis screen fabricated in lightweight dryvit and galvanized metal is wrapped continuously as a loop around the front, top and rear facades of the building. The pattern exploits the various views of the building, and at the same time highlights a sense of intimacy, by creating privacy for all its inhabitants. From street level, the resulting façade is an anamorphic pattern which creates an illusion of a taller building, which subtly echoes the client’s ambitions for growth with the Chinese idiom- there is steady progress with each step

The Left-over Space House, Paddington, Australia - Images 8, 9, 10

Cox Rayner Architect's intention of the Left-Over-Space House in Paddington, Australia was to demonstrate what can be achieved with a myriad of left-over space, similar to the awkward space that is left over in inner cities. In this case, the space was a recycled caretaker's cottage. The building has been renovated to accommodate a family house for parents and two kids.  The forward portion is a single level study room for architectural practice, or if later to be used by a new owner, a potential small office. The former cottage is opened up to form a conduit to the rear portion, also comprising the dining space. The site embodies the mantra of making every little bit count- the house is a true testament of what can actually be done with left-over spaces at home. Natural timber and steel have been used as primary materials extensively in the construction of the home. The new house is spread out over the landscape, thus making it the perfect example of seamless indoor-outdoor living.

72 Screens, Jaipur, India - Images 1, 11, 12

Located in the city of Jaipur, India, the abstract, perforated office building serves as a haven from the area's desert climate. The small structure designed by Sanjay Puri, is energy efficient with concrete screens around the building that create an external space for plants to insulate the building from the external heat of the climate. These glass-reinforced concrete screens take their inspiration from the old traditional ‘jali’ screens of the architectural heritage of the region. They are supported by a steel framework with projections that vary from 0.9 to 1.5m. This creates an external periphery space for plants at each level supplementing an extra level of insulation in the process.



This brings an end to our Top 20 designs of 2013, spanning an assortment of styles and architects not only from different countries, but various continents. 

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