Information specialist Emporis has revealed the winner of this year’s Skyscraper Award. The prestigious event is always a good opportunity to see the world’s best new skyscrapers, and this year is no different. The number one spot has gone to MVRDV’s mountainous Valley in Amsterdam, plus there are nine impressive runners-up ranging from a tower inspired by Beyonce to another with a “kinetic” facade.
Located in Amsterdam’s business center, Valley is a mixed-use project that includes offices, apartments, retail space, and cultural areas. Structurally, it actually consists of three connected towers that reach a maximum height of 100 m (328 ft).
The project’s unusual jagged stone facade was created using a specialist parametric tool developed in collaboration with engineering expert Arup. In addition to lending the towers a unique appearance, this tool has allowed the firms to wield fine control over the exterior, taking into account the amount of daylight inside, structural limitations, and privacy concerns for residents.
“When choosing Valley as their winner, the jury was particularly impressed by the skyscraper’s extraordinary and innovative architectural design,” explained Emporis. “The building’s three peaks seamlessly switch between a sheer glass facade and protruding stone-clad windows and balconies resembling a rocky mountain surface, while the center holds a publicly accessible terraced valley, from which the building owes its name. The building’s craggy look and jutting elements also ensure that no two apartments are the same, creating a variety of completely unique housing units. The 75,000 sq m [almost 810,000 sq ft] project scored further points with the jury for using a plethora of environmentally friendly technologies and the rugged edges of the building will be planted with 13,000 different plants and trees. Over the next few years, Valley will gradually become greener and reach its final appearance.”
Second place goes to the 435-m (1,427-ft)-tall 111 West 57th Street. Designed by SHoP Architects, the incredibly narrow tower – officially the thinnest in the world with a width-to-height ratio of just 1:24 – rises over New York City like a needle.
It features a facade made up of terracotta panels with 22 different sets of contours, which contrast with bronze detailing and a glass curtain wall. Its interior, meanwhile, is made up of housing for the ultra-wealthy – its apartments can cost over US$57 million. Whatever this says about the current state of housing in NYC, the building itself is a genuine engineering marvel.
Third place goes to perhaps the oddest-looking skyscraper out of the entire selection this year, the NV Tower, by A&A Architects. Located in Sofia, Bulgaria, the 106-m (347-ft)-tall building’s design is partly inspired by natural crystals. To reinforce the crystal theme, each floor of the building’s interior is named after its own crystal and designed to match that crystal’s respective colors.
Head to the gallery to see the remaining seven runners-up for this year’s Emporis Skyscraper Award.
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