Say Goodbye to Boring Commercial Architecture — Hello Urban Zones of the Future

When you imagine the cities of the future, all sorts of fantastic images come to mind. Bubble shapes and glass facades. Gleaming towers made from some undiscovered metal. Skyscrapers that have been reabsorbed into the jungle.

Some of these sci-fi images are not that far from the truth. And they aren’t that far in the future. Even now, the faces of commercial zones across the world are changing, albeit slowly.

Forget the drab and dingy public buildings and industrial sectors that haunt the commercial landscape. The cityscapes of the future are here. And they seem to have a few things in common. They are shiny. They are green. They bring the outside inside and encourage movement and activity. Best of all, they blend into the natural landscape as if they grew out of its belly.

PARKROYAL on Pickering

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The PARKROYAL on Pickering business hotel interrupts Singapore’s monotone skyline with vibrant flora and organic forms.

Conceived as part of the “green city” vision of WOHA, the project team incorporated curving sky-gardens dripping with greenery between guest rooms.

The gardens merge with an adjoining park to create flow from street to structure, connecting Hong Lim Park and the apartments of Chinatown.

West Kowloon Express Rail Terminus


The West Kowloon Express Rail Terminus  will connect Honk Kong to other major cities by high-speed railway.
Designed by Andrew Bromberg of Aedas in collaboration with Aecom,  the terminal incorporates both communal and topographical features. The terminal itself boasts a view of Victoria Harbor and the Honk Kong skyline. A civic plaza complete with an ampitheater will embrace the West Kowloon Cultural District.
The rooftop sculpture garden provides a seamless way for pedestrians to cross from one commercial landmark to another.


Paris media group





The Active Hive Media Building

This former garage in Paris is reborn as the “active hive” of a media group. Designed by rh+ Architecture, the structure is both eye-catching and energy-efficient.

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The skin of the building is made of 855 m2 of photovoltaic panels. Skylights, patios, and outdoor terraces allow natural light to permeate the space. A geothermal heat pump and double-flow ventilation is suggested, resulting in a building with almost 75% energy self-sufficiency.

Aldar Headquarters

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Modeled after the simple integrity of a clam shell, the Aldar Headquarters building in Abu Dubhai is both beautiful and complex.

The semisphere, designed by MZ Architects, is composed of two convex faces bonded by a ribbon of indented glazing.

Aldar HQ is also eco-friendly, featuring natural lighting and efficient water systems. The vacuum waste collection system inhales trash and transports it to a recycling station.

Kuwait Cobra TowerCobra_Building

The amazingly futuristic Kuwait Cobra Tower is a concept design by CDI Gulf International. So far the design only exists on paper, so to speak.

According to a press release by PR Newswire, the firm is involved in a joint venture to develop oil, gas, chemical, power, water, and infrastructure projects in Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

Shan-shui City

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The “city of mountains and water” is a city of the future planned for Guiyang, capital of the Guizhou province in China.

“My idea is to insert communication spots based on landscape and weave together these individual parts, architecture and nature, in this large-scale mixed-use building,” said Ma Yansong of MAD architects at an architectural conversation hosted by Designboom during the 2012 Beijing Design Week.

The city concept includes layered parks, plunging waterfalls, and interconnected bridges.

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