The architectural profession can be a slow-moving beast, but for the more adaptable, avant-garde firms out there, a single year can change everything. From Brooklyn-based SO – IL to the Australian Austin Maynard Architects, here are Architizer’s top firms to keep an eye on in 2016:
Artes Amant Gallery, Brooklyn, N.Y.
1. SO – IL
Brooklyn-based studio Solid Objectives — Idenburg Liu, better known as SO — IL, created waves last summer when they revealed a striking, sculptural design for the Artes Amant Gallery in Brooklyn. The avant-garde office describes itself as a “proactive agency that develops ideas in the realm of art, architecture and the city” and its refusal to be defined by conventional means makes it an appealing firm for clients looking for a design that breaks away from architectural norms.
Guggenheim Helsinki (Rendering) via Metalocus
2. Moreau Kusunoki Architectes
June 2015 brought with it a seminal moment for this French-Japanese firm: Moreau Kusunoki Architectes triumphed offer an astonishing 1,714 other competition entrants to design the first Guggenheim Museum in Scandinavia. Notwithstanding further political travails, the Guggenheim Helsinki should rise on the harbor front in the Finnish capital soon and will mark a huge leap forward for a practice founded only four years ago. Watch this space for more cultural gems by Nicolas Moreau and Hiroko Kusunoki.
Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland, Canada
Norwegian firm Saunders Architecture has been making a name for itself across the Atlantic in recent years, completing a striking set of artists’ studios and a dynamic inn on the spectacular Fogo Island, Canada. Having transformed this remote outpost of Newfoundland into a cultural landmark of extraordinary beauty, it will be fascinating to see what Saunders produces in 2016.
Rock It Suda, Gangwon-do, South Korea; via Designboom
4. Moon Hoon
Moon Hoon is the king of playful architecture. The Seoul-based architect has built up a reputation for himself with a vibrant and eclectic style that is infused with a highly mischievous sense of humor. See the golden bullhorns adorning one of his ‘Rock It Suda’ weekend houses. Refusing to conform to a single architectural genre, the only thing predictable about Moon Hoon is his unpredictability. We’re looking forward to more outlandish projects from his studio over the coming year.
Share Houses, Rwanda
Alongside Shigeru Ban, Sharon Davis is fast becoming the go-to architect for humanitarian projects in challenging contexts around the globe. Following the huge success of community-focused complexes such as the Women’s Opportunity Center and Share Houses in Rwanda, Davis is now working on a crucial Community Hospital in post-earthquake Nepal, set for completion in 2017. The architect’s remarkable ability to combine vernacular design with modern building technologies makes her one to watch.
Atelier Bow-Wow enjoyed a fruitful and fun-filled 2015 that included an artful cameo at the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial. The Japanese firm continually defies expectations of what defines an architect’s role within society, and its flexible approach gives it an adaptability that will surely see it go from strength to strength over the coming year. Watch out for more hybrid projects combining art and architecture by Bow-Wow in 2016.
Høse Bridge, Sandefjord, Norway
One of the most exciting young firms to arise in the Nordic north in recent years, Rintala Eggertsson specializes in small vernacular projects with a raw, textured aesthetic. Toward the end of 2015, it shared images of its latest bridge, a much larger variation on its Corten steel and concrete Høse Bridge in Sandefjord, Norway. Watch out for more bold interventions from this firm across Northern Europe in the next 12 months.
Affordable Housing, Mexico
Mexican-based architect Tatiana Bilbao’s sustainable housing concept for her home country garnered extensive publicity when it was exhibited at the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Her firm taps into a growing desire among the architectural community to develop more sustainable, more socially responsive designs for urban environments, a specialism that will take center stage once again at the upcoming Venice Biennale in 2016.
Tower House, Alphington, Australia
The fun-loving, hard-working office of Australian firm Austin Maynard Architects has recently won a plethora of global awards, including a high commendation at last year’s World Architecture Festival for its quirky, shingle-clad Tower House. The firm explores what it calls the “architecture of enthusiasm” — approaching each project with fresh eyes and a healthy dose of experimentation. 2016 will surely bring with it more unusual commissions across Australia and beyond.
Vishaan Chakrabarti; via Architect’s Newspaper
10. PAU — Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism
This practice is so new it has no built projects yet, but its founder — Vishaan Chakrabarti, former partner at SHoP Architects — has big ambitions for the coming year. As Chakrabarti asserted in a recent interview, “cities are the last and best hope for humanity, in terms of climate change, social mobility, getting through our cultural and racial divides.” The founder’s desire for PAU to be a positive influence on the urban landscape on a macro scale — together with a stellar resume that includes both SHoP and SOM — makes Chakrabarti one to keep a close eye on in 2016.