Buildings in 2012, Architecture of the Year, Critics Choices, Global Property Design Review

Architecture of 2012 : Buildings of the Year List

post updated 16 August 2023

Critics Selection of Key Architectural Projects from around the World: New Built Environment

Major Architecture from 2012

e-architect have selected some key buildings and designs from 2012.

Our parameters? Architecture of 2012 that stimulates, buildings that question, designs that show innovation.

We aren’t saying these are the ‘best’ buildings of 2012, merely a selection of ones that have moved us.

Buildings of 2012 : key architectural developments, including designs from earlier in the year

We have asked a panel of judges in December 2012 to pick out the key buildings of the year but we’re deliberately not considering the complex task of selecting ‘winners’.

Having served on many architectural juries I am not shy of doing this, but over the last 12 years I’ve consciously steered our websites away from that aspect of architecture, we don’t run awards, of course we have to report architectural news and that means reporting on architecture awards. In terms of ‘moving global architecture on’ it is obvious our readers will have a myriad of takes on this.

We haven’t picked a fixed number of projects, like a top ten, we’ve picked what we feel is right.

Adrian Welch, e-architect editor

6 Jan 2013 + 19 + 18 Dec 2012 – Here are the views of our selected architectural critics:

Building Selection by Architect Nigel Henbury

– Nigel Henbury, England

Central China TV Building, Beijing, China
Design: OMA Architects
Central China TV building - Architecture of 2012
image : OMA

My admiration to all buildings and projects listed, but the one for me is OMA’s Central China TV building. Appropriate for a megacity, mega-client and the culture shortly to become the world’s largest economy. Massive but fragile, contemporary but retro, accommodating but polarising, freedom of expression (in the structure) but a brooding, manipulative nerve centre…..

Building Selection by Architect Alan Dunlop

– Professor Alan Dunlop, Scotland / China

Somerville College Student Accommodation, Oxford, England
Design: Niall McLaughlin Architects
Architecture of 2012 - Student Accommodation Somerville College
photo : Nick Kane

My Building of the Year is Niall McLaughlin’s student accommodation at Somerville College Oxford. Expertly scaled and detailed. Warm and tactile, absolutely contemporary but sensitive to its location and its historic campus setting. The bay seating areas are very well crafted and redolent of Kahn at Exeter Library and the Salk. A frankly, brilliant project.

Buildings Selection by Milos Stipcic

– Milos Stipcic, Spain

Proposed work:

Al ain Stadium, UAE

The Rock Stadium, Al Ain, UAE
Design: MZ Architects
Al Ain Stadium Building
image from LA

Good example of architectural mimicry, concealing as design strategy, contextuality, simplicity and sustainability. It seems as a large-scale building in harmony with nature.

Built work:

Sacred Museum and the Plaza of Spain in Adeje, Spain

Plaza of Spain in Adeje, WAF New & Old win
Design: Menis Arquitectos SLP
Plaza España in Adeje
photograph ® Simona Rota

Simple and contemporary, well fitted into natural and urban context, this project enhance civic use of public space without unappropriated waste of public money: timeless principals, organic value and honesty.

Buildings Selection by Architecture Tutor Karolina Szynalska

– Karolina Szynalska, UK

I am afraid to say that most of the celebrated buildings bring little new… They express economic status, wealth or cultural ambitions – typologically predictable. They exploit the contemporary building techniques, but do not search for new ones.

Architecture is an art of spaces, not details or ornaments. And what is striking in the selection – most of the buildings are designed in a spirit of formalism that comply with contemporary (but inevitably ephemeral) fashion…

Many buildings do not necessarily create any public space in or around. Their access is often restricted; and they are often only available via online photographs with a blue sky in the background…

This is not a criticism as such (the selected buildings are very pretty), but if asked about the choice of a building of the year, I am mindful of selecting examples that express something universally positive – something beyond interest of architects, clients, banks, and governments.

What stands out are

(1) the Porosity Block by Steven Holl and

Sliced Porosity Block, Chengdu, China
Design: Steven Holl Architects
Sliced Porosity Block
image : Steven Holl Architects

(2) the Serpentine Pavilion by Herzog & de Meuron & Ai Weiwei.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012, London
Design: Herzog & de Meuron & Ai Weiwei
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012 London design
image © Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei

The first development apart from introducing new hybrid typology, it provides public space at its centre; it shows how an architect can challenge and improve developers’ initial visions.
The beautiful little pavilion in the Hyde Park can be seen as a political statement relating to Ai Weiwei’s arrest in 2011. It drawn our attention to issues of political tensions, freedom and globalization. It is sophisticated (but not pretentious).

The both buildings are public and publicly accessible.

Comments on our Architecture of 2012 selections are welcome.

Architecture of 2011

Architecture of 2013

World Architecture Design

Key Architects Links

Zaha Hadid

Herzog de Meuron

Frank Gehry

Architectural Walking Tours

International Architectural Designs

Key Architectural Links

New Houses

Modern Architecture

Contemporary Architecture

Modern Houses

Comments / photos for the Buildings of 2012 page welcome