No-Fly-Over

The year’s best buildings outside NYC-LA-CHI

Architecture Best of 2017 National

Not every piece of spectacular architecture built this year has been located in the major urban centers. From Utah to Ohio, ambitious institutions have constructed some of the country’s best new architecture. The following projects are a few of our editor’s favorites from this year. (See the rest of our Year in Review 2017 articles here.)

View of the museum’s underside night (Courtesy Brooks + Scarpa)

Southern Utah Museum of Art by Brooks + Scarpa

Cedar City, Utah

The 28,000-square-foot Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA) by Los Angeles-based Brooks + Scarpa looks to the sandstone canyons of nearby Mount Zion National Park for its soft, yet expressive, form. The dipping and arching exterior includes a 120-foot cantilever, covering a 6,000-square-foot public event space. That form also works to reduce solar gain and protect the museum’s artworks, reducing the building’s environmental footprint. Home to contemporary and performing art from southern Utah and the surrounding region, the museum is also an educational resource, providing a site for conservation training for MFA students at Southern Utah University.

Building of the Year Midwest: Kent State Center for Architecture and Environmental Design (Albert Vecerka/Esto)

Building of the Year Midwest: Kent State Center for Architecture and Environmental Design (Albert Vecerka/Esto)

Kent State Center for Architecture and Environmental Design by WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism

Kent, Ohio

Of great interest to most architects, new academic architecture buildings are a rare treat. Designed by New York-based WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism, the Kent State Center for Architecture and Environmental Design was the winner of Building of the Year – Midwest in AN’s 2017 Best of Design Awards. Along with the expected studio spaces, lecture halls, library and classrooms, the building includes a café, gallery, and grand stairways, which activate the north and south facades. Large custom brick fins, made of locally produced iron-spot bricks, ties the building into the surrounding campus, while a larger tiered form makes reference to the scale of neighboring buildings.

The Contemporary Austin, Jones Center, Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects (Leonid Furmansky)

The Contemporary by Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects

Austin, Texas

The Contemporary brings together two of Austin, Texas’s, most important art institutions, Arthouse and the Art Museum of Art. The project is an adaptive reuse of a building that in the past has served as a theater, a department store, and, most recently, a local art center. The redesign specifically allows for large-scale art pieces to be installed in the building, while the large roof terrace provides additional exhibition space. The roof also includes a perforated aluminum canopy, which includes a retractable weather curtain. At 23,800 square feet, the Contemporary is a new center for art in the heart of Downtown Austin.

Innovation Lab and Lamplighter Barn by Marlon Blackwell Architects. (Courtesy Marlon Blackwell Architects)

Innovation Lab and Lamplighter Barn by Marlon Blackwell Architects

North Dallas, Texas

Arkansas-based Marlon Blackwell Architects has been delivering exceptional buildings throughout the middle south for years. This continues with its first North Texas project, an Innovation Lab and Lamplighter Barn. Built on the campus of the North Dallas Lamplighter School, the project is part of the “Igniting Young Minds for a Lifetime of Learning” campaign. The Innovation Lab includes a teaching kitchen, environmental science spaces, a robotics lab, and a woodworking shop. The Lamplighter Barn is replacing the campus’s chicken coop and will define an outdoor pasture for its animals. Most strikingly, the Innovation Lab takes the form of a long sleek building clad in a concealed-fastener, flat-panel copper facade. Over time the project is expected to gain a varied coloration as the copper patinas, based on local weather and sun movements.

Cummins Indy Distribution Headquarters, Deborah Berke Partners (Chris Cooper)

Cummins Headquarters by Deborah Berke Partners

Indianapolis, Indiana

Cummins, makers of diesel engines, is no stranger to quality architecture. The company’s founder is credited with bringing many of the Modernist masterpieces to the small town of Columbus, Indiana, just south of Indianapolis. When it came to building its own headquarters, Cummins turned to New York-based Deborah Berke. The nine-story tower is Berke’s first office design, which is located on the empty site of a former arena. The building includes flexible work spaces, including double height “social hubs,” retail space, with a new urban park at the its base. The highly tuned form and facade of the building integrates vertical fins and horizontal shades to provide environmental control, as well as a carefully considered aesthetic.

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