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The top buildings to open this year

Architecture National
(Courtesy Darren Bradley)
(Courtesy Darren Bradley)

Here we take a look back at what—we think—were there most important buildings to open in 2016. From Mexico to Los Angeles to New York, find the this year’s best builds below. (See the rest of our Year in Review 2016 articles here.)

(Courtesy Jordan Staub)

(Courtesy Jordan Staub)

World Trade Center Transport Hub (The Oculus)
Santiago Calatrava
New York, New York

On March 3, Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transit Hub opened with much anticipation and mixed reviews. AN reached out to New York’s architects, designers, and engineers to hear their thoughts on the structure.

(Courtesy Field Condition)

(Courtesy Field Condition)

Spring Street Salt Shed
WXY and Dattner Architects
New York, New York

Resembling exactly what it holds—a grain of salt (the building will store 5,000 tons of the stuff)—the Salt Shed climbs to 70 feet along the Hudson River where Canal Street and West Street align.

The Met Breuer (restoration)
Beyer Blinder Belle
New York, New York

The Marcel Breuer-designed building was restored and updated by an in-house design team and New York-based Beyer Blinder Belle. The Architect’s Newspaper’s senior editor conducted a Q&A with Jorge Otero-Pailos, Associate Professor and incoming director of the Historic Preservation program at Columbia University GSAPP to discuss the building’s new look.

(Courtesy Rafael Gamo)

(Courtesy Rafael Gamo)

Speed Art Museum
wHY and KNBA
Louisville, Kentucky

After over four years of construction, Kentucky’s oldest and largest art museum reopened. Louisville’s Speed Art Museum is now nearly twice its former size. This year, the North Pavilion was completed as was the remodeling of the interior of its 1927 neoclassical building.

(Courtesy Nic Lehoux)

(Courtesy Nic Lehoux)

Via 57 West
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)
New York, New York

BIG’s first completed building in the U.S. (I know, hard to believe right?) points in the same direction as the Danish architect’s seemingly inevitable trajectory: Up. Tenants began moving into the building this past March; units range from studios to four bedrooms. Bounded by 12th Avenue, West 57th Street, and West 58th Street, the development features a new pedestrian passageway that runs from north to south on the building’s eastern border.

(Courtesy Iwan Baan)

(Courtesy Iwan Baan)

Vagelos Education Center
Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Gensler
New York, New York

The Vagelos Education Center is filled with high-tech classrooms and facilities meant to keep Columbia University’s medical students at their field’s cutting edge. The 100,000-square-foot, 14-story tower—the tallest realized by DS+R—is one of the rare medical school facilities designed as an integral vertical structure.

OE House
Fake Industries Architectural Agonism and Aixopluc
Alforja, Spain

For this two-level dwelling in northeast Spain, located just below Barcelona, the clients wanted to be able to completely close off one “house” and then move to the other “house,” depending on the season and their current needs.

(Courtesy Darren Bradley)

(Courtesy Darren Bradley)

National Museum of African American History and Culture
Adjaye Associates, Freelon Group, Davis Brody Bond, and SmithGroupJJR
Washington, D.C.

Filling the last prominent spot on the National Mall—just east of the Washington Monument—the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) has proven itself a striking addition to the tapestry of monumental architecture at the heart of the nation’s capital. 3,600 bronze-painted aluminum panels clad the museum’s three-tiered structure for what is now a must-see in the city.

Navy Pier
James Corner Field Operations
Chicago, Illinois

Often cited as the most popular tourist destination in Chicago, Navy Pier celebrated its 100th anniversary this year with the completion of Phase 1 of its redevelopment. The 3,300-foot-long pier is one of the largest of its kind in the world.

(Courtesy Torre Reforma)

(Courtesy Torre Reforma)

Torre Reforma
L. Benjamin Romano Arquitectos and Arup
Mexico City, Mexico

New building codes were implemented after the 1985 earthquake that devastated Mexico City and now Mexican architecture practice L. Benjamin Romano Arquitectos (LBRA), working alongside working alongside engineering firm Arup’s New York office, has produced an earthquake-resistant skyscraper designed to last 2,500 years.

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
Machado Silvetti
Sarasota, FL

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, part of a historic 66-acre estate in Sarasota, Florida has received a striking new pavilion designed by Machado Silvetti to house new gallery and multi-purpose lecture space.

(Courtesy Henrik Kam/Courtesy SFMOMA)

(Courtesy Henrik Kam/Courtesy SFMOMA)

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
Snøhetta
San Francisco, California

This 10-story, 235,000-square-foot expansion by Norwegian firm Snohetta is set back from the original SFMOMA Mario Botta-designed structure, adding a funny hat to an already funnily hatted building. The museum opened on May 14 to much aplomb.

Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art
SO-IL and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Davis, California

The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Arts opened in Davis, California on November 13. Its iconic roof structure “channels the intense light of the region into constantly changing shadows and silhouettes that animate one of the museum’s primary gathering spaces, the entrance plaza.”

(Courtesy Iwan Baan)

(Courtesy Iwan Baan)

University of Iowa Visual Arts Building
Steven Holl Architects
Iowa City, Iowa

The new Visual Arts Building for the University of Iowa’s School of Art and Art History, which replaced a 1936 building that was heavily damaged by a flood, provides 126,000 square feet of loft-like studio space for all visual arts disciplines by utilizing both traditional techniques and advanced technologies.

Jerome L. Greene Science Center of Columbia University
Renzo Piano Building Workshop
New York, New York

Described by Piano as a “factory, exploring the secret of the mind, the brain, and behavior,” the science center officially opens in January 2017 but was completed in October this year. Rising to nine stories, the 450,000-square-foot building will be home to Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. Approximately 900 scientists will occupy the facility making use of the flexible teaching facilities available.

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