The Year in Review is our annual summary of important highlights and other exciting developments for Mecanoo. With only a few more December days ahead, we look back at some of the defining moments.
To understand any economy or industry, such as architecture and the construction sector we must look at the decisive world events, as they inform and redirect the ambitions and policies for the years to come. If in the past years our collective focus was on COVID-19, in 2022 the world saw a new war in Europe, followed by the energy crisis and the urgent call to fight climate change and environmental degradation as it presents an existential threat to Europe and the World – to this end Europe’s announced the Green Deal with the ambition to be the first climate-neutral continent by becoming a modern, resource-efficient economy.
The world is changing at a rapid pace, and the search for sustainable building materials and methods, durability, energy efficiency presents complex challenges but also new opportunities. Architects, Urban Planners, Landscapers and Interior Architects have a social responsibility, as we can contribute to a better world, more inclusive and future proof.
In 2022, we upheld the high standard of our projects. This year has proven to be a success for our projects both in the Netherlands and globally. In January Mecanoo announced the promotion of Nuno Fontarra, Rick Splinter and Arne Lijbers as new partners. Together with Founding Partner/Creative Director Francine Houben and Design and Research Director/Partner, Dick van Gameren, Mecanoo now consists of five partners.
In March, Abu Dhabi unveiled the design for the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi, which will feature some of the rarest wonders of natural history ever found. The new museum, currently under construction and due to be completed at the end of 2025, will be located in the emirate’s Saadiyat Cultural District alongside Louvre Abu Dhabi and the upcoming Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, which is establishing itself as one of the world’s leading cultural centres.
In South Korea, Mecanoo completed the Heungkuk Tower in Busan, featuring a striking patterned facade wrapped around the building envelope. The tower serves as an office building and sits adjacent to the coastline and close to the city’s high speed rail network. The building’s distinguishing feature is its stark black and fuchsia facade of various linear patterns.
The new Unilever Benelux Headquarters in the heart of Rotterdam on Hofplein, occupies six floors of an existing building from 1960 by architect C.A. Abspoel with an impressive concrete structure. The mix of working, meeting, calling, consultation, presentation and other use and accommodation areas creates a dynamic environment to work in an activity-based manner. A similar approach was applied for the new interior of the World Port Centre Rotterdam. Good accessibility, improved connections to the outside, social interaction and an inviting street level are principles that guided Mecanoo’s renovation.
Mecanoo expands the portfolio with new commissions in the Netherlands and abroad. Closer to home, we will be working on new exciting developments and transformation projects. Mecanoo was selected to renovate and transform the Royal-Rivoli in Heerlen into a cinema hub for the community. In Tilburg, Mecanoo will develop a vision for the TextielMuseum and its surroundings, offering improved functionality for the museum and new textile-related functions. In the city of Alkmaar, De Nieuwe Overdekte (transformation and new-build of an existing Mecanoo project) will deliver a multidisciplinary stage for and throughout the city including spaces with attractive programme, large groups and high-quality exhibitions.
Moving from cultural to residential programme, we are currently finalising the design for the Hoge Wiek Tower in Rotterdam while construction started in the former office building De Ster into an attractive residential building. The Grace high-rise ensemble in The Hague, Brink Tower in Amsterdam and Cartesius Utrecht received planning permission. In December, Mecanoo was selected as the winning concept for a new nature-inclusive residential building at Beatrixpark, Amsterdam Zuidas.
In the US, Jacob’s Pillow selects Mecanoo to reimagine the new Doris Duke Theatre while construction starts at the new European Investment Bank designed by Mecanoo and BuroHappold in Luxembourg.
In Manchester, construction was completed on UK’s largest engineering campus at The University of Manchester with official opening in 2023, and on the north side of the city we delivered One Silk Street, a brand new co-living development. In Scotland, the new Perth City Hall Museum will be delivered in 2023. Meanwhile in Kaohsiung, the old Japanese Station is back to its original location. A great feature of engineering that symbolises a milestone for the current railway project and brings the new Kaohsiung Station closer to completion. Set on the same green corridor master plan, the Kaohsiung Social Housing project will open in 2023.
If 2021 was the library year, 2022 was certainly a year of recognition. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in D.C. and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library in New York received several prestigious awards from Docomomo, IIDA Mid-Atlantic, AIA/ALA Library, ALA/IIDA, SARA|NY among others.
These are just a few of the highlights that have made 2022 a great triumph for Mecanoo. As much as we enjoy looking back, we cannot wait to see what 2023 will have to offer. We expect many projects completing, new collaborations, new projects, and above all to maintain our collective ambition to design and realise exceptional buildings which serve client ambitions while creating vibrant end-user spaces.