A Norman Foster master plan has transformed the decaying German industrial port of Duisburg into a vibrant neighborhood. “The point of building apartment buildings like NF1, creating public space and revitalizing the neighborhood, is to persuade [young professionals] to stay—and new businesses to come. We are using architecture to encourage the kind of economic restructuring that will keep Duisburg alive,” says Rolf Fehr, managing director of the Duisburg Inner Harbor Development Company, which is responsible for Cox’s penthouse and for the entire 89-hectare Inner Harbor redevelopment site.
Craving not just a home but a proper piece of architecture, a handful of design- and business-savvy Dutch families banded together, hired an architect, and set about forming the community that would net them the houses of their dreams. Dubbed Villa van Vijven, the strikingly sculptural bright orange building, reclining in the flat Dutch landscape, accommodates five families under a single, stylish roof. But step into any one of its five apartments and you are convinced that you've entered an independent piece of architecture entirely.
With the help of DSH Architects, a pair of intrepid Angelenos restored (and gently updated) Rudolph Schindler’s iconic Bubeshko Apartments. From the street, however, the Bubeshko Apartments haven’t changed much in the 74 years since they were constructed. Owner Joe DeMarie hopes to connect the giant planters to an irrigation system to produce the hanging-gardens effect Schindler envisioned.
In the Dolomite mountains, an angular copper-clad apartment building echoes the topography of its site. In profile, the domicile has the prototypical gable, but from all other angles it takes on the look of abstracted folding planes that express the steep site, says architect Ulla Hell of Plasma Studio.
In León, Mexico, Adrián López Menduett sought to create an architecturally adventurous apartment building. After he bought a parcel in the Piletas neighborhood, the city made plans to construct a road across part of his land, trimming the buildable area to just under 2,300 square feet—about a third of the original footprint. This neccessitated a vertically oriented design. The result is La Aduana, an eight-unit apartment building made from 36 shipping containers.
An apartment overlooking the High Line in New York City captures views of a constantly changing urban landscape. Architect Neil Denari of Los Angeles uses the word prism to describe his glass-and-stainless-steel condominium that rises, with a quite unexpected profile, right over the High Line in Chelsea. Graphic at a distance and geometric up close, HL23 is creative, daring, and at once fully serious and a bit playful—making it pitch-perfect for a couple who are likewise creative, daring, serious, and playful.
Set atop a 1908 warehouse in the Courtenay Precinct of Wellington, New Zealand, the three apartments by Architecture Workshop glow like lanterns at dusk, signaling a new day for this once-seedy neighborhood. A view of the exterior illustrates how the apartments function as a series of intercutting glass boxes that overlay and lock into each other.
Seeking to harmoniously integrate a modern aesthetic into the varied architectural vernaculars of Mumbai, India, the Brooklyn-based firm Khanna Schultz conceptualized a stacked, seven-unit apartment building for a developer, one that incorporates traditional elements with contemporary approaches. The perforated aluminum cladding surrounds the lower-level public area, which contains the pools and gym for the tenants.
Edge Studio's apartment building with its glass-and-steel facade is a glowing example of the urban renaissance that's gripping Steel City. The 947 Liberty Lofts, in downtown Pittsburgh’s Penn-Liberty Historic District, is one of developer Eve Picker’s efforts to bring the city core back to life. A 20-foot setback leaves room for an outdoor café that bustles at lunchtime.
In Ørestad—Copenhagen’s tiny but buzzing new hub of urban development—a mountain rises from the flatlands. No ordinary geological behemoth, this sloping peak is a feat of residential engineering from celebrated Danish architects Bjarke Ingels Group. The Mountain Dwellings stand as a beacon for architectural possibility and stylish multifamily living in a dense, design-savvy city.
The VM Houses (the two buildings on the right) opened in Ørestad in 2005, with the Mountain Dwellings (left) following in 2008. Up next in the neighborhood: The firm's BIG House (or Figure Eight building) is scheduled to be completed in 2010.
Helmut Jahn’s dynamic new housing facility brings green design and a new outlook on life to the Windy City. The Schiff Residences are permanent supportive-housing, with onsite case managers and other voluntary services. All of the 96 units are single-occupancy studio apartments. The building’s stark but well-windowed exterior is clad with ridged sheets of stainless steel. The building is also known as “the train” because its sleek, aerodynamic styling makes it look like a railcar passing through the neighborhood.
North Star Rising—the four story brick housing project designed by the Slovak architectural firm Nice Architects—is stylish down to its reinforced concrete floor slabs. Situated in Senec, a suburb of Bratislava and a popular summer destination, North Star Rising is a starkly iconic building. Jutting up into the sky, its nearly triangular design realizes the architectural possibilities of a somewhat oddly-shaped urban lot.