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Tea room in Waterside Buddhist Shrine
Tea room in Waterside Buddhist Shrine | © ARCHSTUDIO
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The World’s Greatest Architectural Projects for 2018

Picture of Amber C. Snider
Home & Design Editor
Updated: 21 August 2018
From a transformed urban grain silo in Denmark to a holistically designed Buddhist shrine in China and a raw concrete concert hall in Mexico, here are the world’s best new architectural projects.

Over 5,000 entries poured in for the 2018 Architizer A+Awards, which highlights the best international architecture and interior spaces. Now in its sixth year, the world’s biggest architecture awards showcases 98 categories, ranging from cultural sites to cutting-edge concepts and private residences.

Yves Béhar, Jeanne Gang and Olafur Eliasson were among the 2018 jury committee, and 400,000 public votes were cast for the Popular Choice Winners. Award-winning structures include BIG’s Lego House in Billund, Denmark; Zaha Hadid Architects’ CityLife Shopping District by in Milan, Italy; and Heatherwick Studio’s Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town, South Africa.

But the competition’s highest honor is the coveted Project of the Year award, which celebrates international projects that demonstrate excellence in the architectural profession.

From Mexico to Denmark and beyond, here are 2018’s Project of the Year award winners.

The Silo by COBE

Located in Copenhagen, Denmark

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The Silo’s exterior | © Rasmus_Hjortshoj

As part of the redevelopment plan for Copenhagen’s North Harbour, COBE architects transformed a former grain silo into a mixed-use building, featuring 38 residential units and public spaces. The 17-story building, dubbed The Silo, is the largest industrial building in the area. The Silo’s exterior was reclad with galvanized steel (which also functions as a climate shield), and designers were able to preserve the raw, untouched interiors of the former grain storage container. The lower and top levels contain public spaces and provide a “multidimensional experience for the various users of the building,” according to founder and creative director of COBE, Dan Stubbergaard. The Silo was officially completed in 2017.

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Interiors of The Silo in Copenhagen, Denmark | © Rasmus Hjortshõj

Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University by Steven Holl Architects

Located in Richmond, Virginia, USA

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Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU’s Markel Center at night | © Iwan Baan / Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

The Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) at Virginia Commonwealth University, designed by Steven Holl Architects, features a clear and etched translucent low-iron glass exterior with weather zinc skin and 10,200 square feet (950 square metres) of exhibition galleries. The open design of the ICA includes glass walls and windows to “create continuity between the interior and exterior spaces,” as well as an outdoor sculpture garden that principal design architect Steven Holl calls the Thinking Field. Design highlights include a 4,000-square-foot (3,700 square metres) gallery and café, 240-seat auditorium, an adaptable learning lab, a publicly accessible terrace, and four green roofs. The ICA building is pending LEED Gold certification.

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View of the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU’s Belvidere Street entrance at dusk | © Iwan Baan / Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

Waterside Buddhist Shrine by ARCHSTUDIO

Located in Tangshan, Hebei, China

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Tea room at Waterside Buddhist Shrine | © ARCHSTUDIO

The design concept for ARCHSTUDIO’s Waterside Buddhist Shrine began with a specific intention: to seamlessly blend the connection between nature and architecture. The goal for the design, according to the architects, was to use space, structure and material to “stimulate human perception, thus helping man and building to find the charm of … and coexist with nature.”

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Seamless integration of natural landscaping within interior space | © ARCHSTUDIO

Situated next to a river in the forest of Hebei, the religious building contains five separate and yet continuous spaces created by two axis. The five areas – an entryway, meditation room, tea room, living room and bathroom – are meant to follow different functions for meditative practice and allow for seamless movement within the interior. Highlights include concrete formwork pieced together with strips of pine, smooth terrazzo floors and integration of the outdoor natural landscape within the interior spaces.

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Tea room in Waterside Buddhist Shrine | © ARCHSTUDIO

Foro Boca Concert Hall by Rojkind Arquitectos

Located in Boca del Río, Veracruz, Mexico

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Foro Boca Concert Hall by Rojkind Arquitectos | © Paul Rivera

Rojkind Arquitectos’ Foro Boca Concert Hall features concrete cubes formed by ripraps in the breakwater of the river and can hold 966 spectators in its main hall. As part of a master plan to revitalize the urban area of Boca del Río, the exterior public space extends the plaza throughout the breakwater area and features a three-story-high vestibule (designed to combine voids and floors to allow access to the interior halls) where performances can be held. The concert hall also hosts after-school programs for low-income children and showcases classical, traditional and popular music in Boca del Río.

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Foro Boca Concert Hall by Rojkind Arquitectos | © Paul Rivera

For a full list of the award winners in all 98 categories, click here.