Every year Architectural Records publishes a special magazine that focuses on the best designs of the year. (Who doesn’t want to vacation in India in this SOM designed hotel? Cocktail please!)

This year’s “Design Vanguard” issue had a few really cool designs. Here are my faves.

Johnsen Schmaling Architects (Milwaukee) “Composer’s House” – Designed for a country music composer, this is a 300 SF studio space, set into a hilly landscape. The facade is designed to grow old gracefully as it faces the intense winters. Get it – a country music studio in the country. Brilliant!

Atelier Deshaus (Shanghai): The program for this building is easy enough (suburban office park) but a client requesting a design that is in the “new Chinese style” is a bit harder. What does this mean? China, the country (continent) of perplexities and paradoxes, struggles with its identity. This is a tough project but I think that this design is modern and graceful, paying homage to traditional Chinese design through its use of interior courtyards instead of the expected brickwork or window elements.

Iwamoto Scott (NYC): I  l-o-v-e  the design for the Edgar Street Towers in lower Manhattan. The tower includes live and work spaces as well as art, performance and retails areas. They are also considering including a public library component. Can’t wait!

Leong Leong (NYC): I can’t help it but I am a total retail whore so when I saw the design for this 3.1 Phillip Lim store in Beverly Hills store I was super excited. This was a 5,000 SF warehouse, but after LL was done there were interior walls with foam panels that erode into a constellation of brass stars. See below. I also included some images of Phillip Lim’s women’s designs.

Please note: I used Architectural Record’s December 2011 issue as the primary source for this text. What does that mean? Since I wasn’t able to see these buildings in person, I took their word (and photos) that the buildings are what they say they are. Further, I did include some of their text in this blog post in order to accurately describe the buildings that I have never seen before. Therefore, dear Architectural Record, do not sue me for any reason because there would be no positive economic benefit for you whatsoever and it would make me pretty grumpy. Just sayin’. 

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