Thinking Outside the (White) Box: 8 Sculptural Designs for Cultural Spaces

These achromatic projects stray from typical partitions, using curved surfaces and smooth finishes to create intrigue, interaction and individuality.

Nidhi Upadhyaya Nidhi Upadhyaya

Architizer's 11th Annual A+Awards is open for entries! With an Extended Entry Deadline of Febuary 24th, 2023, the clock is ticking — get started on your submission today.

Amorphous white silhouettes are on the rise in architectural projects around the world. Their minimal nature stands in stark contrast with the grandeur that their form exudes. Parametric design applications and technologies like 3D printing have made the visualization of these spaces very easy, allowing architects to experiment and play with forms like never before.

The following A+Award winners challenge conventional ideas to craft spaces that have a unique character, experience and visual appeal. These designs change the way we look at circulation and redefine how we see and use basic structural elements like walls and roofs. Projects in this collection not only serve as functional buildings but also as works of art.

Yinchuan Sunac City Exhibition Center by Arch-Age-Design(AAD), Yinchuan, ChinaYinchuan Sunac City Exhibition Center by Arch-Age-Design(AAD), Yinchuan, ChinaYinchuan Sunac City Exhibition Center by Arch-Age-Design (AAD), Yinchuan, China
Popular Choice, 2021 A+Awards, Commercial – Showrooms

Perched at the edge of Gedi Lake, this minimalist structure is shaped like a crescent moon with a roof that gradually slopes down towards the water. The roof is held up by perforated columns that create the illusion of it being suspended in the air. Glass walls along the inner circumference of the ring help users become one with nature.

Jiunvfneg Bubble Pool and Supporting Facilities on Mount Tai by line+, Tai'an, ChinaJiunvfneg Bubble Pool and Supporting Facilities on Mount Tai by line+, Tai'an, ChinaJiunvfneg Bubble Pool and Supporting Facilities on Mount Tai by line+, Tai’an, China
Popular Choice, 2021 A+Awards, Hospitality – Spa & Wellness

The bulbous column-free form of the structure is created using special curved steel keels. The overhanging roof with wide openings or glass panels below enables unhindered views of mountains and forests around it. The openings of each white shell are oriented in different directions to create privacy.

Lindt Home of Chocolate by Christ & Gantenbein, Kilchberg, Switzerland

Lindt Home of Chocolate by Christ & Gantenbein, Kilchberg, Switzerland

Images by Walter Mair

Lindt Home of Chocolate by Christ & Gantenbein, Kilchberg, Switzerland
Jury Winner, 2021 A+Awards, Commercial – Mixed Use

The structure allows for a mixed-used space that comprises an exhibition area, R&D facility, production plants, offices and recreational facilities. Its dominant feature is an open atrium with circular projections. A large golden chocolate fountain in the center stands out against the calm white interiors.

The Golden Horn Library by Aytac Architects, Istanbul, TurkeyThe Golden Horn Library by Aytac Architects, Istanbul, TurkeyThe Golden Horn Library by Aytac Architects, Istanbul, Turkey
Jury Winner, 2021 A+Awards, Institutional – Unbuilt Institutional

The conceptual design is formed to look like a floating Turkish carpet, while also referencing the seven hills of Istanbul. The curved roof is supported by columns that branch out at the top and ribs that go along the roof section. The profile gradually reduces in height to merge into the landscape while also acting as a platform to walk on.

Yanlord Central Lake by HWCD & TIANHUA, Taicang, ChinaYanlord Central Lake by HWCD & TIANHUA, Taicang, ChinaYanlord Central Lake by HWCD & TIANHUA, Taicang, China
Popular Choice, 2021 A+Awards, Office Building – Low Rise (1-4 Floors)

The design for this structure draws inspiration from the ripples in water. Curved segments at different levels are put together to create a spiral form. The building also features large windows on the side to allow expansive views of the lake around it.

Flow by Kris Lin International Design, Chengdu, ChinaFlow by Kris Lin International Design, Chengdu, ChinaFlow by Kris Lin International Design, Chengdu, China
Jury Winner, 2021 A+Awards, Commercial – Showrooms

Staying true to its name, this exhibition space is composed of fluid lines that create and separate various functions. Curved white surfaces and a cleverly concealed staircase are favored over traditional walls to create better circulation and connectivity.

The Cloudscape of Haikou by MAD Architects, Haikou, ChinaThe Cloudscape of Haikou by MAD Architects, Haikou, ChinaThe Cloudscape of Haikou by MAD Architects, Haikou, China
Jury Winner, 2021 A+Awards, Detail – Architecture +Concrete

The nebulous shape of the library was built using fair-faced concrete. The form’s identity is further retained by concealing all the mechanical, engineering and plumbing features within the surfaces. Its sculptural nature creates unique spatial experiences in every nook within.

Architizer's 11th Annual A+Awards is open for entries! With an Extended Entry Deadline of Febuary 24th, 2023, the clock is ticking — get started on your submission today.

Nidhi Upadhyaya Author: Nidhi Upadhyaya
Nidhi Upadhyaya is an architect and journalist from Mumbai, India. When not working, she can be found binging on DIY videos, experimenting with art mediums or making a dent in her large to-read list. She has previously worked as Features Writer for Elle Decor India, Assistant Editor for India Inc, Art Director for the print edition of Bombay Binge and is currently the Editorial Assistant at TED-Ed in New York.
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