From Kengo Kuma's sound museum to Zaha Hadid Architects' new Chinese cultural and artistic center, 16 surprising and futuristic projects that will see the light next year

What are the cult architectures that will open their doors to the public in 2024? There is the Kengo Kuma sound museum in Seoul, which stimulates the senses through visual elements but also sound, light, wind and perfume; and there is the seat of the National Parliament of Benin which Diébédo Francis Kéré imagined taking inspiration from the Palaver tree, under whose shade Africans usually meet to make decisions in the interest of a community.

Among the projects that will inaugurate in 2024, there is the Athletes' Village designed by Dominique Perrault for the Paris Olympic Games, which will host 15 thousand athletes from 206 nations, and which will be transformed into a new residential neighborhood in 2025; there is Torre Velasca, the famous 'skyscraper with braces' by BBPR built from 1956 to 1958, which will be returned to the city of Milan with its pink-grey facade, and there is the Fornetta by Michele De Lucchi, a house built according to ancient techniques and entirely in wood , without glues or chemical substances, powered by photovoltaic and geothermal energy, "not a simple wooden house", explains Michele De Lucchi, "but an affirmation of what can be done today starting from small-scale construction, which can find all its charm and recover the sweet and serene proportion of small houses. Above all, it makes possible that urban personality that has been lost in the suburbs of many, perhaps all, cities in the world."

A selection - certainly not exhaustive and constantly updated - of the most surprising and futuristic projects that will see the light next year.

The Audeum of Kengo Kuma, Seoul

In March 2024 the Audeum will open, the sound museum of the master Kengo Kuma, in the heart of Seoul. A museum that stimulates all the senses through visual elements but also sound, light, wind and scent.

A structure imagined as a forest that harmonises with nature, a building wrapped in vertical tubes in polished aluminium which, when overlapped, thanks to their reflective surface, produce a beautiful effect similar to the sunlight filtering through the forest, a light that changes with the changing seasons.

Inside, the exhibition rooms are made of 'draped' wood to emphasize the softness and naturalness of the wooden material, enhance the acoustics and reconnect the visitor with nature.

The National Parliament of Benin by Diébédo Francis Kéré, Porto-Novo, Benin

It is a large, monumental work that will be completed at the end of 2024, signed by Diébédo Francis Kéré, the designer, educator and activist originally from Burkina Faso who was awarded the award in 2022 Pritzker, the Nobel Prize for architecture.

With his studio Kéré Architecture, the architect is completing the seat of the National Parliament of the Republic of Benin, in the capital Porto-Novo, in West Africa, taking inspiration from a subject very dear to him and recurring in his projects: the Palaver tree, under whose shadow Africans usually meet to make consensual decisions in the interest of a community.

A manifesto building that aims to express the democratic values and identity of the country, designed like the trunk of a hollow tree inside to promote brightness, circulation of air and people.

The heart of the project is the assembly room, on the ground floor, embellished with a spectacular dynamic ceiling with exposed structural beams that evoke the branches of trees. The maxi work is completed by the public park, which displays the native flora of Benin while providing Porto-Novo with a large recreational space.

La Fornetta by Michele De Lucchi, Lake Maggiore

From maxi public works to a very particular house. It is the Fornetta designed by Michele De Lucchi with his studio Amdl Circle, on Lake Maggiore. A house immersed in nature and made of nature, sun and earth: it is built entirely of wood, without glues or chemical substances, without cement, powered by photovoltaic and geothermal energy.

Made according to ancient techniques and with natural materials, such as the larch walls assembled with beech pegs, the terracruda coverings to give the rooms the right level of humidity, and the 'lunar wood', particularly resistant against fungi and external agents, so called because it is cut during the waning winter moon, when the sap is distributed evenly in the trunk.

“This house is not a simple wooden house”, explains Michele De Lucchi, “but an affirmation of what can be done today starting from small buildings, which can rediscover all its charm and recover the sweet and serene proportion of small houses. Above all, it makes possible that urban personality that has been lost in the suburbs of many, perhaps all, cities in the world".

Velasca Tower by Asti Architetti, Milan

The Velasca Tower, the famous 'skyscraper with braces' by BBPR built from 1956 to 1958, symbol of Milan and the post-war recovery , will be returned to the city in 2024 with its iridescent pink-grey façade, after over two years of planning and approximately three years of works, scientific material analyzes on the plaster, field studies and historical documentary research.

The 106 meter building with 29 floors, two of which are underground, will be composed as follows: on the -1st wellness area, on the first commercial floor , from the second to the sixteenth floors offices, 17-18th floors restaurants, from the 19th upwards residential.

The restyling was signed by Asti Architetti who, in coordination with the owners Hines and with the Soprintendenza of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape (the building has been under protection since 2012) he took care of the renovation and regeneration of the facade and restoration of the common parts and interior finishes, respecting the original spirit of the BBPR.

“The project is characterized by the consideration of the overall image of Velasca”, underlines Paolo Asti, “with the aim of identifying the functions sought by the client, paying particular attention to the definition of the building complex, the typologies and the architectural characteristics of the internal units of offices and homes.

These different aspects had already been studied by the BBPR and developed in all details, in connection with each other.

Each unit is different from the others, both in the offices, in the residences, and in the commercial units on the base floors, reflecting the compositional variety of the facades, the study of the interiors, the distribution, the relationship between interior and exterior, fixed furnishings, finishing materials and colours".

Once the facades have been completed, work is currently being done on the common parts of the interior. Work is also continuing in Piazza Velasca which, once completed, will take on the appearance of a reduced traffic square.

Jinghe New City Culture & Art Center by Zaha Hadid Architects, Xi'ian, China

A sinuous silhouette that echoes the winding valleys carved out by the nearby Jinghe River. It isJinghe New City Culture & Art Centre, the new, futuristic, cultural and artistic center by Zaha Hadid Architects which is rising in Xi'ian, the capital of the Chinese province of Shaanxi, in the Jinghe New City scientific hub which is on the rise for the development of industries focused on new energies and materials , artificial intelligence and aerospace.

The new center defines indoor and outdoor cultural and recreational spaces for its community, including the multimedia library with immersive virtual reality, public reading zones, theater, multipurpose rooms, studios and exhibition galleries.

A complex with gardens, walkways and raised courtyards that unwind like a bridge over an eight-lane highway, and which with its fluid volumes is inserted and intertwined in the urban master plan of the city and becomes an element link connecting the commercial and residential districts with the parks and the river, providing direct access to the new metro station.

The building meets the highest standards of green building, with photovoltaic panels and the collection and reuse of rainwater, and locally produced materials with a high recycled content.

Learown Fuda Square by Massimiliano Fuksas, Shenzhen, China

In Shenzhen, in the dynamic neighborhood of Nanshan North, Learown Fuda Square by Studio Fuksas, a maxi mixed-use complex covering 200 thousand square meters divided into two lots, connected to the upper levels by a walkway system.

Above a 5-storey podium with shops, cinemas and restaurants, there is an office tower, 4 residential buildings with apartments of different types and sizes, a luxury hotel and shops.

The concept of the project is based on the keyword kaleidoscope, from the ancient Greek 'to look at beautiful shapes'.

An evident concept starting from the facade, composed of three-dimensional hexagonal modules in gold-coloured anodized aluminium of different sizes and depths, which create the dynamic sensation of the rotation of the kaleidoscope.

The kaleidoscope façade is a decorative and functional detail: the panels facing in different directions reflect the sunlight and keep the heat out of the building as much as possible, plus the open&close electric windows favor summer ventilation and thermal comfort throughout the year.

Kinderspital Zürich by Herzog & de Meuron, Zurich

The university pediatric hospital, a research and teaching center designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the largest in Switzerland for the care of children and adolescents, with 200 beds.

A hospital architecture which, instead of standing vertically, develops horizontally with a holistic approach, following an urban grid with streets, intersections and squares, where functions or departments correspond to neighborhoods, each floor has a main street and nature penetrates deeply.

A functional architecture expressed in two different layouts, the first public and circular, to facilitate operations and scientific cooperation, the other private to place the emphasis on the individual, on each individual patient and its healing process, with each of the rooms designed like a little house with its own roof, ensuring the privacy of the young patients and their families.

The pediatric hospice of Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Bologna

Beauty can alleviate pain as much as possible. This is why there are more and more organizations and foundations that rely on great designers to imagine functional, innovative hospital architecture that gives comfort and hope. Like the Pediatric Hospice for Palliative Care in Bologna by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, entirely promoted and strongly supported by the Maria Teresa Chiantore Seràgnoli Hospice FoundationOnlus.

A building that lifts from the ground to ideally inhabit a light and bright space, with the eyes of the little residents at treetop height, towards a pervasive and regenerating nature.

The complex is developed in several pavilions connected by light overhead connections to the main central body, with the latter revolving around a garden-patio.

Two satellites on the south-east side host eight mini homes intended to accommodate the families of young patients, who thus have the opportunity to be close to the little ones, but without following the rites and mechanisms of hospitalization; on the opposite side, two intimate and meditative polarities: the chapel and a terrace overlooking the Savena valley connected to the Morgue morgue.

Aquarela by Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Quito, Ecuador

A maxi mixed-use complex which, with its organic shape, stone facades and planted terraces, imitates and fits into the lush Ecuadorian nature.

It is Aquarela, the housing project of Ateliers Jean Nouvel that will inaugurate in April 2024 in Quito, Ecuador.

Nine residential towers from which you have the sensation of living in the mountains, over 130 thousand square meters of which 75 thousand for residential use, 600 units with swimming pool, gym, spa and pet spa, squash court, yoga, barber shop, ice skating, mini golf, music room, bowling and cinema.

A total of 1.5 hectares of vegetation including vertical greenery, terraces and balconies overflowing with plants, walkways and fields, with a selection of native and endemic plants, with the desire to recover the flora and microfauna local, nature which contributes to improving the thermal insulation of the project.

Beijing City Library by Snøhetta, Pechino

It promises to be the largest reading space in the world. It is the new library of the city of Beijing, scheduled for completion at the beginning of 2024, designed by the Norwegian studio Snøhetta.

A place for learning, sharing knowledge, and celebrating the cultural richness of Beijing and China. It will also be the first project with a self-supporting glass façade in China, with its immense 16-metre-high roof supported by columns reminiscent of a ginkgo canopy, a reference to the man-nature relationship typical of Eastern philosophy.

The pillars are not just a structural element, but contain and conceal various functions, from temperature control and acoustic comfort to lighting and rainwater management.

An library-amphitheatre with steps where you can sit, meet, exchange opinions, take a break, read your favorite book, study, in an experience that is clearly different from conventional libraries.

The roof is equipped with integrated photovoltaic construction elements which exploits the excellent exposure to sunlight for the production of renewable energy. The glass is insulating, its height has been reduced on the walls exposed to the east and west to improve energy efficiency, while an active solar shading device has been provided to the south.

Unipol Tower by Mario Cucinella Architects, Milan

The Unipol Tower by Mario Cucinella Architects will also open its doors to the public in 2024, the new headquarters of the UnipolSai group, part of the broader redevelopment project involving Porta Nuova.

A tower with an elliptical shape, which fits sinuously into an already heavily built context, characterized by 23 floors above ground and 3 underground, for a height of almost 120 meters and a total surface area of 31 thousand square metres.

Made of steel, wood and glass, the tower will host commercial spaces, an auditorium with over 270 seats, offices and, on the roof, a panoramic greenhouse-garden with an area for public and cultural events.

A large 75 meter high atrium on the south side of the tower serves as the main access and serves as a climate moderator, capable of exploiting the exposure as an energy opportunity.

The double-skin external envelope insulates the building in winter and limits overheating in summer, and ends in a large steel and glass sail, a characterizing element of the building, which mitigates the action of atmospheric agents and gives the city a new evocative open space.

A building, with solar panels on the facade and a dual system for rainwater collection, which has all the qualities to obtain Leed Platinum certification.

Atrium by Studio Libeskind, New York

“I believe I can speak for our entire team in saying that our goal is to serve the senior community by creating homes that provide a sense of civic pride and create affordable housing so needed in the city of New York".

This is how Daniel Libeskind tells Atrium in Brooklyn, the affordable housing complex for low-income seniors and homeless seniors.

197 residential units on 10 floors, a community structure on the ground floor and more than 3 thousand square meters of space for residents of the Sumner Houses campus in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn.

A residential structure organized as a courtyard building, with corridors looking towards the central greenery.

Bold diagonal lines envelop the building characterized by corners that rise from the ground, creating a 'folding' form that breaks down the volumes at street level. A building that does not isolate itself, but rather opens towards the city, with a transparent entrance in dialogue with the context.

The Athletes' Village by Dominique Perrault, Paris

There is great anticipation for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games 2024 which will be held in Paris from 26 July to 11 August and from 28 August to 8 September respectively. The designer of the Olympic Village is the influential Parisian architect and urban planner Dominique Perrault, head of Dominique Perrault Architecture.

The architect started from the existing: the Seine river, the territory and its resources, the Cité du Cinéma, already the subject of restoration, and Halle Maxwell.

A maxi project, which revolves around the key words heritage, water and soil, intrinsically rooted in the territory, which develops over 51 hectares crossed by the Seine, north of Paris, one and a half kilometers from the Stade de France and the new Olympic swimming pool, distributed between the municipalities of Ile Saint-Denis, Saint-Denis and Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine.

2,400 accommodations are planned to host 15 thousand athletes plus the respective delegations from 206 nations, representing 28 disciplines. A village overflowing with nature, sustainable, connected to the metro lines, a project that does not end with the Olympic experience but which, from 2025, will be transformed into a new residential neighborhood with shops, offices, hotels and green spaces.

Durer1 and Durer2 by Lissoni Casal Ribeiro, Budapest

With a team of over one hundred collaborators between Milan and New York, Lissoni Casal Ribeiro designs the Durer1 and the Durer2, offices and residences in Budapest, in front of the suggestive Liget Park, within one of the most exclusive developing neighborhoods of the Hungarian capital.

Durer1 is a new construction of approximately 50 thousand square meters, and Durer2, a building of approximately 40 thousand square meters that integrates harmoniously with a pre-existing historic structure.

A project that can open new design avenues for real estate development in one of the most dynamic and promising areas of Budapest, while promoting a combination of modernity and history through innovative architecture and respect for the historical context.

Pirelli 35 by Snøhetta and Park Associati, Milan

Two different design approaches to create a generous, permeable and publicly accessible building, which becomes a place of transit and urban mending. It is Pirelli 35, a historic sixties Milanese building, originally designed by Melchiorre Bega, reread in tandem by Snøhetta and Park Associati.

The redevelopment will be one of the new pieces of the Porta Nuova Gioia mosaic, commissioned by Coima. Through targeted interventions, the project enlarges and optimizes the aesthetic and structural qualities of the existing building.

The building is now organized into three 'levels': the ground floor and ninth floor, which are transparent, provide a high degree of accessibility; floors 1 to 8 for offices, the penthouse on the tenth floor is a meeting point with a splendid view of the city.

Used low energy emission or recycled materials, and a large photovoltaic system that powers a water-water heat pump for thermal generation.

Pirelli 35, between via Melchiorre Gioia and via Bordoni, opens the building towards the city, creating a passage between the adjacent areas, like a breach in the wall that previously separated two blocks.

“A building that we conceived as a node”, explains Michele Rossi, founding partner of Park Associati, “a set of passages and places of connection, which gives people the freedom to choose your own path inside and outside.

The most sustainable building is the one that already exists: P35 will become an important example to demonstrate how even a now obsolete building, through a quality design process, can be transformed into an architecture capable of interpreting the future and its demands for sustainability".

“Sometimes you have to demolish, but sometimes you can take the opportunity to rethink buildings from a sustainability point of view, as we did for P35,” adds Kjetil Trædal Thorsen , founding partner of Snøhetta. “We want this to be a low-impact building, with a very specific sustainable footprint.”

The Effekt pavilions in Refshaleøen, Copenhagen

“How can we create flexible pavilions for workshops, exhibitions, studios and offices as part of a new temporary cultural zone in Refshaleøen, a former industrial site in the port of Copenhagen?”

The answer comes from the Danish design and research studio Effekt: low-cost, easily movable mobile pavilions anywhere and implementable with evolving modules and annexations, with high ceilings, spacious areas and laboratory atmosphere, with space for contemplation within a community-oriented architectural concept.

The materials are natural and renewable, the interiors are heated with heat pumps, with a reduced CO2 footprint, estimated at approximately 3.5 kg CO2 per square meter per year.