The architect is – necessarily – a visionary capable of seeing into the future. In the spirit of architecture's fortune telling abilities, we've put together a list of our favorite contemporary designs that shed light on the future of our visual world
1. Hypnotic Bridges. The impressive, undulating design, destined to function as a pedestrian footbridge over the Dragon King Harbour River in China, is the product of NEXT Architects. The bridge design involves three individual, swirling lanes hovering over the picturesque landscape of Changsha. The rendering won an international competition associated with a new public park in the area last year, and the project is currently under construction. “The construction with the intersecting connections is based on the principal of the Möbius ring,” states Michel Schreinemachers on the NEXT website. “On the other hand it refers to a Chinese knot that comes from an ancient decorative Chinese folk art,” John van de Water adds.
2. Indoor Parks. In November of 2013, the Strelka Institute announced the winner of a two-stage international competition to design Zaryadye Park, Moscow's first new public park in over 50 years. The winner was Diller Scofidio + Renfro (in collaboration with Hargreaves Associates and Citymakers), who proposed this particularly stunning design based on a theory of 'Wild Urbanism,' or the concept of a 'hybrid landscape where the natural and the built cohabit to create a new public space.' The park will feature four landscape typologies – tundra, steppe, forest and wetland, integrating
augmented micro-climates that will enable the park to function as a public
space throughout Russia’s extreme winters.
3. Invisible Architecture. Invisible architecture is the calling card of science fiction design, and we're happy to report that architects of today are on the case. Of course, there's South Korea's in-the-works, LED-clad Infinity Tower. But there's also the shorter, less flashy structure designed by New York-based architecture firm stpmj. The parallelogram-shaped barn would be made of wood and sheeted with mirror film, at a cost of $5,000. The idea is to 'blur the perceptual boundary' between object and setting, according to a statement sent by the architects to The Huffington Post earlier this year. We have to say we're impressed with architects' ability to push the boundaries of what invisible really means.
4. Sweaters for Skyscrapers. Dubai's Burj Khalifa is widely known as the world's tallest building, measuring in at a whopping 2,716.5 feet and 160 stories. The structure itself is mesmerizing, but what's even more intriguing is a think tank's bizarre proposal to cover the towering skyscraper in a giant fabric casing made of reflective material. We learned about the project, dubbed EXO-BURJ, in 2014. The strange, sock-like covering would wrap around the entire building, from spire to ground level, in a 'super-lightweight, reflective and semi-transparent fabric material,' according to a description by the Dubai-based think tank, OP-EN. The temporary 'sweater' would reflect the expansive urban scenes around it, turning the Burj Khalifa into a massive mirror in the vein of Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
5. Floating Pools. It's hard not to love this New York design project from Family and PlayLab, which plans to bring a giant filtration system to the murky waters between Manhattan and Brooklyn. The project would take the shape of a 164-foot long floating pool set to take shape in 2016 – if all funding efforts go as planned. If there are swimming pools in our future, let them look like this. In a statement released at the end of 2013, pool masterminds Archie Lee Coates IV, Dong-Ping Wong and Jeff Franklin announced they are beginning construction on Float Lab, an experimental version of the planned 164-foot +POOL.