Big, Bold, and Buzz-Worthy Buildings in 2012
AD spotlights a dozen showstopping architectural projects around the world that people will be talking about this year—and beyond
Zaha Hadid’s signature sexy curves are on full display in the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, a fluid form constructed of glass-reinforced concrete that emerges from the folds of the landscape’s natural topography. This major new venue will play a pivotal role in the redevelopment of the Azerbaijani capital, housing a conference hall with three auditoriums, a library, and a national museum.
Of all the buildings added to the London skyline in the run-up to the Olympics, the most imposing is unquestionably Renzo Piano’s London Bridge Tower, located on the south bank of the Thames, next to the bustling London Bridge transportation hub. At 72 stories and 1,016 feet high, it dwarfs the mostly low buildings around it and will be the tallest building in the European Union. Nicknamed the Shard, because of its façade of tapering glass panels, the tower will contain offices, apartments, a hotel and spa, restaurants, shops, and, at its pointed top, a 15-story public viewing gallery.