A roundup of the best in architecture from the past decade.
New Year’s Eve 2009 will see the end one of the most politically charged and aesthetically challenging decades in human history. What easier way to make sense of the endless ricochet of event and analysis than with a list?
Our contributors have chosen their top ten creative works of the decade, from artworks to albums, which we will publish on a daily basis.
This list isn’t exhaustive, but it is the best architecture from the last ten years that I’ve actually seen.
Tate Modern by Herzog & de Meuron (London, U.K., 2000)
This building is big and unforgettable. Created from the former Bankside Power Station, it’s also a stunning example of adaptive reuse, illustrating how demolition and starting over from scratch isn’t always the best solution.
The Women’s Library by Wright & Wright Architects (London, U.K., 2000)
Ditto for this splendid new building which re-uses a former bathhouse in East London. It seems fitting that a former site of women’s labour now houses a treasured collection of books on women’s history.
Experience Music Project, Seattle Center by Frank Gehry (Seattle, U.S., 2000)
What I love about this building is not so much the architecture, but the fact that its visitors can pretend to be rock stars. Gehry’s seemingly adhoc architecture makes the experience all the more believable.
Great Court, British Museum by Foster and Partners (London, U.K., 2000)
Prada New York by Office for Metropolitan Architecture (New York City, U.S., 2001)
OMA’s Soho Prada store is the ultimate shopping experience. The big idea is a huge, sloping, zebrawood wave that dips down to the lower level. A circular glass elevator and translucent changing rooms that become opaque remind visitors of the close link between starchitecture, branding, and spectacle.
Seattle Public Library by Office for Metropolitan Architecture (Seattle, U.S., 2004)
The Seattle Public Library is what happens when a talented architect completely rethinks a building type. Imagine how exciting our hospitals could be with this project as a precedent.
de Young Museum by Herzog & de Meuron (San Francisco, U.S., 2005)
The new de Young is like a Maya ruin rising from the trees of Golden Gate Park.
Schulich School of Music, McGill University by Saucier + Perotte (Montréal, Canada, 2005)
It’s black, slick, and a stunning accompaniment to the conservative greystone campus of McGill University.
Bloorview Kids Rehab by Montgomery Sisam Architects/Stantec Architecture (Toronto, Canada, 2006)
Bloorview Kids Rehab is proof that hospital architecture need not be formulaic. Its gently sloping roof keeps Canada’s largest children’s rehab hospital safe, sound, and interesting.
Heide Museum of Modern Art gardens (Melbourne, Australia, 2005-2006)
The building, a former residence, is much too old for this list but the surrounding gardens were redesigned in 2005-06 and accommodate splendid installations by contemporary Australian artists.