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2020 is here, and as always, there are more architectural works to be completed. In this article, we will be discussing our top 5 buildings to look forward to this year.

OMA 2020

  1. The Factory by OMA (Manchester, United Kingdom)

The soon-to-be-completed factory is on course to become UK’s pioneer major public building. This architectural masterpiece will be the latest of OMA’s famous collection, including the Netherlands Embassy in Berlin, Portugal’s Casa da Musica, and the Seattle Central Library. OMA competed with the biggest architectural firms worldwide, before winning the race to put forward the new home of the Manchester International Festival (MIF). The building will also double as a concert and arts venue.

Speaking on the project, OMA partner, Ellen van Loon highlighted the large sizes of spaces and the potential configurations. “The venue will give MIF a building that is extremely flexible, constantly changing the interaction between back and front of house, inside and outside, art and public culture, audience and performers. There will really be no venue comparable in its versatility.” The proposed budget of the project stands at over $140 million, and will sit on the site of the former Granada TV Studios.

Among other economic benefits, the project is expected to offer over 1,500 full-time jobs and $1.4 billion boost to Manchester’s economy over the decade-long project timeline. An important detail of the project is its adherence to Manchester city’s post-industrial slump. Van Loon believes that the project will “breathe the raw atmosphere of Manchester’s industrial past, its design aims to preserve the city’s rough edge, as a resistance to the pervasive beautification of inner cities.”


Courtyard Kindergarten by MAD Architects (Beijing, China)

  1. Courtyard Kindergarten by MAD Architects (Beijing, China)

The highlight of this building is the ease at which it blends the designs of the modern and contemporary worlds. MAD architects are currently working on the project – a space that represents the historical environmental composition as well as the modern touch that is characteristic of an outdoor playground.

According to Ma Yansong, the founder of MAD Architects, the kindergarten will not pan out as a theme park or a shelter, instead it represents objectivity and an advanced level of reality that leaves space for boundless imagination. This is evident in the firm’s efforts to ensure that the original courtyard, initially conceived in 1725, is retained in the new scene. The project also includes the restoration of existing buildings for use, alongside a rooftop floating above the school, without getting linked to the streets nearby or the neighborhood.

The playground boasts a capacity of 400 children with freedom to play around the aesthetically refreshing rooftop playground.


Opus by Zaha Hadid Architects (Dubai, U.A.E.)

  1. Opus by Zaha Hadid Architects (Dubai, U.A.E.)

Dubai, more than any other city, has been a point of interest for architects looking to give their advanced architectural prowess a shot. The late Zaha Hadid is one of these crops of architects, going deep into the potential curve of angle. Zaha’s firm – Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) – is expected to finish up a stunning head-turning architecture in a city full of several outstanding architecture.

The building will be called The Opus, comprising a hotel, 12 restaurants, a rooftop bar, and 56,000 square feet of office space. However, the most intriguing part of the whole project is the gaping hole introduced into the middle. This is consistent with the long-term tradition of ZHA to come up with objects with the three main elements – voids, space, and gravity. Although the design appears too good to be meant for this planet, the logical decision and method of ZHA in making it a reality is commendable.

Commenting on the project, Christos Passas, the Project Director explained that ZHA “designed the Opus as two separate towers connected to their base and top where many of the guest amenities and services are located.” According to Christos, “these connections coalesce the two towers into a singular cube with the void at its center.” ZHA hopes to achieve this by detailing “the void’s surface with a combination of glass with varying thickness, bent in different ways and fitted by using several different techniques.”


Qianlong Garden by Selldorf Architects (Beijing, China)

  1. Qianlong Garden by Selldorf Architects (Beijing, China)

Here is the second Beijing project on this list. The Qianlong Garden is clearly historic. The emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) was the first to work on the space in the northeast corner of the Forbidden City. The complex was designed to be part of the Emperor’s retirement complex at the end of his 60-year reign, combining several pavilions, courtyards, and a private retreat. The complex and its components were expected to highlight the cultural inclination of the Chinese empire.

The last twenty years has witnessed remarkable progress in the renovation of the Qianlong Garden. Interestingly, the Forbidden City turns 600 years old this year – the same deadline set for the completion of the proposed design of an Interpretation Center at Qianlong Garden. The project, undertaken by the New York-based Selldorf Architects, is expected to allow the public get through to all the sections of the Garden.

In the words of Annabelle Selldorf, a founding principal of Selldorf Architects, the design of the Interpretation Center is an avenue to “create an immersive experience where people would feel the connection to the courtyard and the unique nature of Qianlong Garden.


  1. UNIC by MAD Architects (Paris)

Paris is synonymous to classical architecture, but something even bigger is about to hit the city when the UNIC building is completed this year. The project, handled by the revered MAD Architects, is a residential structure expected to occupy the verdant setting of Martin Luther King Park. According to Ma Yansong, the Chinese-born virtuoso and leader of he MAD Architects Group, the undulating design reflects the peculiarities of both nature and building.

The unusual height of the 13-storey building will afford homeowners on the top floors to enjoy unimpeded sights of the Eiffel Tower, from the southwestern region of the building. There will also be an adjacent public housing project – as included in the structure, alongside an unhindered access to the biggest metros and bus stops in Paris.