2024 01 17 The Year in Review 20232024 01 17 The Year in Review 2023 12024 01 17 The Year in Review 2023 2

The Year in Review: 2023

17.01.2024 - Publications

The Year in Review serves as our annual recap, providing a comprehensive overview of significant milestones and exciting advancements for Mecanoo. As we embark on 2024, let's take a moment to reflect on key moments that have shaped our journey.

Mecanoo is renowned for its commitment to creating spaces that not only showcase innovative and aesthetically pleasing designs but also prioritise sustainability. From incorporating green technologies to utilising eco-friendly materials, these architectural endeavours strive to align with the Netherlands' dedication to reducing carbon footprints and fostering a greener, more sustainable future.

The world is evolving rapidly, posing complex challenges and offering new opportunities in the quest for sustainable building materials, methods, durability, and energy efficiency. Through a combination of creative processes and a strong commitment to respecting and adhering to evolving environmental laws, Mecanoo plays a vital role in shaping a more sustainable and environmentally conscious architectural landscape, both in the Netherlands and beyond.

In 2023, we upheld the high standards of our projects. This year has proven to be a success for our projects both in the Netherlands and globally. In January Mecanoo completed Villa BW, with a building volume characterised by a double-curved roof coupled with an unmistakable expression of the facade. The monolithic presence of the building volume is accentuated through the sloping roof surfaces and exterior walls. These are covered with tiles of the same continuous material - multicoloured glazed ceramic tiles. The hue of these tiles forms a coherent whole, making a connection and blending the building into the transformative landscape.

In the following month, Mecanoo delivered the first phase of the South Thamesmead and Abbey Wood Housing zone. South Thamesmead includes the very first homes delivered as part of the original regeneration masterplan, making Thamesmead not only the biggest regeneration project in London but one of the biggest in the UK. The Thamesmead masterplan and the new Southmere village are developed in collaboration with Proctor and Matthews Architects. In Manchester, we delivered the Silk Road residential development located in Ancoats, an important landmark in the history of the Industrial Revolution and contains the highest density of Grade II and II* Listed mill Buildings in Manchester.

In March we released the winning design for the development of plot 19 in Buiksloterham, a post-industrial district in Amsterdam-North. SAMPLE, a plan designed by Space&Matter, Mecanoo and ZUS, consists of three circular building blocks, including private sector owner-occupied apartments, middle segment rental and social housing, and commercial space.

Published in April, the Amstel Design District is a future-oriented mixed-use development that aspires to become significant for the whole city of Amsterdam. This scheme for a living and working community includes social housing, mid-rent residential, private sector homes, collective facilities, creative office space, retail and a design museum. The composition of stacked volumes with setbacks responds to the surroundings by shaping the public space between the buildings as pocket parks and plazas.

Jacob’s Pillow announced in May the building plans for the reimagined Doris Duke Theatre by Mecanoo in partnership with New York-based architecture firm Marvel, a flexible theatre on the site of the original Doris Duke Theatre, which was lost to a fire of undetermined cause in November 2020. Jacob’s Pillow seeks to create a future-forward dance theatre as it looks ahead to its second century. The new theatre’s design embraces the Pillow’s diverse history to create an accessible and inclusive space for dialogue, collaboration, and education. The new Doris Duke Theatre will maintain the intimacy of the former studio theatre while incorporating a new digital backbone.

After completing the main canopy of the new Ede-Wageningen Train Station, the current focus is on the main entrance, where progress is being made on retail spaces, indoor bicycle parking, and the clock tower. Once completed, the new roof will consist of 23 triangles of laminated spruce wood beams 27 meters long, 2 meters high and 30 centimetres wide. The new public transport hub is based on an original preliminary design by Mecanoo further developed and implemented by Royal HaskoningDHV.

Situated in the rolling countryside of Luxembourg on the edge of Mondorf-les-Bains, construction started at the new Velodrome and Sports Complex, designed by Mecanoo and Metaform, set to strengthen the community's reputation, known for its thermal baths, as a recreational destination. Still in Luxemburg, the European Investment Bank designed by Mecanoo and Buro Happold started construction. The new building will consist of a sixteen-storey tower and a six-storey podium with three open-air terraces. It was designed as a nearly zero-energy building (NZEB) and complies with strict environmental standards. It also received a BREEAM “Excellent” rating for its design, with a focus on sustainability in terms of energy.

In June, Mecanoo and Meng Architects, in collaboration with LOLA Landscape Architects, have emerged as the winners of a highly competitive international design competition for the Shenzhen Guangming Scientist Valley. This ambitious project aims to establish the first comprehensive national science centre in the Greater Bay Area, attracting researchers and innovative talents from around the world to create a world-leading research and innovation hub.

The newly renovated Heerlen City Hall and the new Municipal Offices had their official opening on August 27th. The design of the City Hall is part of a well-balanced composition with the elegant new Municipal Offices. The buildings radiate a classic, timeless calm within the attractive, green hilly landscape of South Limburg. On the other side of the world, in a groundbreaking initiative, Mecanoo, introduces an innovative social housing project in Kaohsiung, marking a significant milestone as the city's inaugural venture into communal living solutions. This undertaking not only addresses the pressing need for affordable housing but places a unique emphasis on the role of collective spaces in enhancing the quality of life for its citizens.

In the museum typology, Scotland's new Perth Museum is set to open on Easter weekend in March 2024, featuring a rare Jacobite wine glass and Bonnie Prince Charlie's sword on public display for the first time. Designed by Mecanoo, Perth Museum will welcome visitors after a £27 million redevelopment of the former city hall. With a unique programme and collection, the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi will become a scientific research and teaching institution and an educational resource for learning about the evolving story of our planet, aiming to ignite a life-long passion for the natural world in visitors of all ages. As the construction progresses at a fast pace we expect the official opening in 2025.

The iconic Library of Birmingham celebrated its 10th anniversary. Since its grand opening on 3 September 2013, the library has become a symbol of architectural excellence and a beloved cultural hub in the heart of the city. In the Netherlands, The TU Delft Library building celebrated its 25th anniversary. The TU Delft Library is the largest technical-scientific library in The Netherlands. It is not just a building, but also a landscape with the grassed roof lifted at one corner and supported by columns. With inspiring spaces, places to relax and stimulating activities, the library emphasises the fact that the university is embracing the future and that the library is an indispensable link between education and research.

If 2021/22 highlighted the significance of libraries, 2023 brought newfound recognition to the acclaimed Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in D.C. The library received prestigious awards such as the AIA Interior Architecture Award, ARCHITECT Light & Architecture Design Award, and the National Capital Area Council (NCAC) Award. Villa BW has solidified its status as a jury favourite, with accolades from The Chicago Athenaeum, the World Architecture News Awards, and THE PLAN Awards. The Royal Fine Art Commission Trust granted a Building Commendation to One Silk Street, Manchester, at the Building Beauty Awards. To wrap the award list, Mecanoo tops Architizer's 30 Best Architecture Firms in the Netherlands, with a total of 9 A+Awards.

In December, Mecanoo's architectural legacy was unveiled in a stunning new book: 'People Place Purpose Poetry.' During the book launch of this more than 500-page monograph at Pakhuis de Zwijger, Francine Houben and partners guided the audience through the societal challenges faced and Mecanoo's vision of the architect's role. The new monograph showcases Mecanoo’s transformative ability with a surprising range of designs, including the world-famous New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and the futuristic theatre complex in Kaohsiung.

These are just a few highlights that have made 2023 a great triumph for Mecanoo. As we reflect on our successes, we eagerly anticipate the projects and ambitions that 2024 holds. Expect completed projects, new collaborations, and sustained dedication to designing exceptional buildings while creating vibrant spaces for people. 

If you would like to discuss a press enquiry reach out to us at pr@mecanoo.nl