It is no exaggeration to say that 2016 has been a year unlike any other in recent memory. Characterized by tension, tenacity and occasional tragedy, the past 12 months have been predictable only in their unpredictability — and those constant twists and turns extended to the architectural profession, with moments of inspiration intertwined with controversy throughout.
Incorporating the most significant events of 2016 within the industry, this quiz is designed to help you reflect on what has been another notable year for architects. Clicking on an answer will reveal whether you got a question correct or not, and bring up the next question — there are 10 in total. Grab a pen and note down your points total as you go — at the end, an assessment of your architectural knowledge will be unveiled. Good luck and happy holidays!
1. In January, Alejandro Aravena was awarded the 2016 Pritzker Architecture Prize. What is the name of his architecture firm, based in Santiago, Chile?
A) CONCEPTS (Incorrect, 0 points)
B) ELEMENTAL (Correct, 1 point)
In 2001, Aravena became Executive Director of ELEMENTAL, which is described as a “Do Tank” as opposed to a think tank. The firm specializes in projects pertaining to public interest and social impact, with Aravena’s “half house” affordable housing development receiving many plaudits from critics. Read more about that innovative project here.
C) DETAIL (Incorrect, 0 points)
D) IMPACT (Incorrect, 0 points)
2. In March, a major new architecture exhibition opened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York — “A Japanese Constellation” showcased the stunning drawings and models of some of Japan’s most important contemporary architects. Which architect designed Grace Farms, a model of which was displayed at MoMA's show?
A) Toyo Ito (Incorrect, 0 points)
B) Sou Fujimoto (Incorrect, 0 points)
C) Akihisa Hirata (Incorrect, 0 points)
D) Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (Correct, 1 point)
Sejima and Nishizawa — known collectively as SANAA — designed the sinuous Grace Farms, a community center in Connecticut. A series of pavilions for arts and recreational activities are united by a single, wafer-thin roof that meanders down the hillside. To discover more about this graceful project, click here.
3. On March 31st, British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid sadly passed away at the age of 65. One of her peers paid tribute to her with the following words: “Zaha was a pioneer, and she was a star in the firmament of ideas and of poetry. And once a star goes out, there is really no one to replace it. She was unique.” The question is — who said it?
A) Bjarke Ingels (Incorrect, 0 points)
B) Daniel Libeskind (Correct, 1 point)
It was Daniel Libeskind, who reflected on Hadid’s extraordinary legacy as part of a powerful tribute video including contributions by fellow architects Foster, Ingels, Schumacher, Amanda Levete and Richard Rogers. For the full story, click here.
C) Lord Norman Foster (Incorrect, 0 points)
D) Patrik Schumacher (Incorrect, 0 points)
4. He won a Pritzker Prize back in 1983, has a career-spanning seven decades, and has designed some of the world's most iconic buildings. But what landmark birthday did legendary architect I.M. Pei celebrate in April this year?
A) 90 (Incorrect, 0 points)
B) 95 (Incorrect, 0 points)
C) 99 (Correct, 1 point)
I.M. Pei turned 99 years old in 2016. While Pei officially retired in 1990, the firm he founded in 1955 continues today as Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. To explore some of I.M. Pei’s most well known buildings, click here.
D) 101 (Incorrect, 0 points)
5. On June 10th, the 16th Serpentine Pavilion opened to the public in London, with another star architect’s design following structures by Zaha Hadid, Oscar Niemeyer and Frank Gehry in previous years. Who designed the 2016 pavilion?
Inspired by the video game Minecraft, Bjarke Ingels of BIG conceived an “unzipped wall of bricks”, a sweeping arrangement of fiberglass boxes that allows light to stream through to the pavilion’s interior. You can read more about the project here.
D) Sou Fujimoto (Incorrect, 0 points)
6. At the end of June, an architecture firm was officially selected to design the Obama Presidential Library. Of 140 proposals, which practice came out victorious?
A) Renzo Piano Building Workshop (Incorrect, 0 points)
B) Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (Correct, 1 point)
Tod Williams and Billie Tsien secured one of this year’s most important cultural commissions, with the Obama Foundation praising the duo’s “commitment to explore the best ways of creating an innovative center for action that inspires communities and individuals to take on our biggest challenges.” Read the full story here.
C) Diller Scofidio + Renfro (Incorrect, 0 points)
D) Adjaye Associates (Incorrect, 0 points)
7. July this year saw 17 significant buildings added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Which iconic architect designed them all?
A) Frank Lloyd Wright (Incorrect, 0 points)
B) Mies van der Rohe (Incorrect, 0 points)
C) Le Corbusier (Correct, 1 point)
These newly protected landmarks were the work Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, with listed projects spanning an incredible seven countries and five decades of his practice. Among the selections were the Complexe du Capitole in Chandigarh, India, Unité d’habitation in Marseille, France, and the Notre-Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France. Read more on the story here.
D) Louis Kahn (Incorrect, 0 points)
8. Caruso St. John’s Newport Street Gallery scooped the RIBA Stirling Prize in October this year. Which artist’s works was it specially designed for?
A) Damien Hirst (Correct, 1 point)
The gallery, defined by striking brick façades and a distinctive sawtooth roof, houses the works of popular British artist Damien Hirst. It was third time lucky for Caruso St. John, with the firm having been shortlisted for the prize in 2000 and 2006. Read the full story and see more images of the project here.
B) Peter Blake (Incorrect, 0 points)
C) Tracy Emin (Incorrect, 0 points)
D) Antony Gormley (Incorrect, 0 points)
9. In early December, Michael Green Architects and DLR celebrated the completion of the United States’ largest building constructed from which structural material?
A) Concrete (Incorrect, 0 points)
B) Wood (Correct, 1 point)
Constructed in Minneapolis, T3 is the largest mass timber structure in the United States. The project entails 224,000 square feet of office space and includes 3,600cubic meters of exposed timber beams, columns and floor slabs. Take in more beautiful images of the project here.
C) Steel (Incorrect, 0 points)
D) Stone (Incorrect, 0 points)
10. Towards the end of this year, Dezeen revealed their inaugural “Hot List,” charting the top 400 most talked about architecture firms, brands and design events of the past year. Which architecture practice came out on top of the pile?
A) BIG (Incorrect, 0 points)
B) OMA (Incorrect, 0 points)
C) Studio Gang (Incorrect, 0 points)
Zaha Hadid Architects was the most discussed firm of the year, largely due to the sad passing of its founding principal, news that shocked the profession. BIG came in second place, while other architects in the top 10 included Herzog & de Meuron, Kengo Kuma and Peter Zumthor. Check out the full story here.
How did you do?
1 to 3 points
Oh dear — you need to brush up on your knowledge of architecture in 2016, so you can be the king or queen of building trivia at next year's work party. Scroll back up the page and click on each of the hyperlinks to read up on what you missed or misremembered!
4 to 6 points
A solid effort! It's hard to keep track of everything that occurred during this frenetic year, so well done for remembering a good portion of it. However, you know you can do better — Read up on the stories you missed above, and come back stronger next year!
7 to 9 points
You are an expert in the realm of design, and you have an excellent memory for all things architectural. However, you are undoubtedly a perfectionist, so make sure you go back and read about the stories that passed you by this year — you can and will get 10/10 next time!
You are a certified architectural fountain of knowledge! Congratulations, and make sure to keep up with architectural news on Architizer in the coming 12 months so that you can crush next year's quiz, too!
Want to start over so you can get 10/10? Click here.