Firm: MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects, Toronto
Beyond its condo-strewn skyline, one of Toronto’s most impressive recent transformations is taking place in Regent Park, a once-notorious housing project that is transitioning into a vibrant mixed-use community. This aquatic centre serves as its heart, inviting in both long-time residents and newcomers. Clad in black zinc panels with a green roof, the low-slung 2,600-square-metre building is generously glazed: a raised, glass-covered spine runs along its axis, and a “dorsal fin” of a skylight brings light into the swim halls and change rooms, with double sliding doors off the main pool area leading sunbathers to the park-side terrace. Inside, the faceted wooden ceilings bring a sense of grandeur to the morning swim.
Location: Valencia, Spain
Firm: Israel Alba, Madrid
Team: Israel Alba with Mónica Domínguez, Zina Petrikova, Laura Rojo and Ines Steuber
Through their thoughtful architecture, the four long, parallel structures that constitute this waste treatment plant achieve the facility’s central tenets: to connect with its environment, and to engage visitors. The sculpted buildings, which process 450,000 tonnes of waste each year, sink at one end into the rising topography and receive ample natural light inside. Visitors can enter via a plaza dotted with local orange trees to tour the plant and learn about energy conservation.
Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Firms: Fernanda Canales and Arquitectura 911sc, Mexico City
Team: Fernanda Canales, Jose Castillo and Saidee Springall
A balustraded mezzanine seen through triple-height glazing hints at this striking cultural centre’s former life as an early 20th-century home. Once inside the concrete volume, visitors are surrounded by soaring bookcases that establish the modern identity of the must-visit bookstore, just one of the new volumes that local firms Fernanda Canales and Arquitectura 911sc wrapped around the old residence in the southern Coyoacán
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Firm: Studio Gang Architects, Chicago
Team: Jeanne Gang with William Emmick, Jay Hoffman, Mark Schendel and Christopher Vant Hoff
Capturing the rhythm of rowing in its exuberant roofline, this boathouse by Studio Gang symbolizes the Chicago River’s evolution into the city’s next recreational frontier. The 2,100-square-metre facility’s zinc-clad volumes are dually oriented, toward each other and toward the river, and their slate-shingled peaks incorporate glazed clerestories. In the interior, finished in warm Douglas fir plywood and black locust wood, one room is entirely devoted to indoor training tanks. Yet this new Chicago icon, with its 4,043-metre-long launch dock, is for everyone, as seen in its generous camp and community programming.
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Firm: Anmahian Winton Architects, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Team: Alex Anmahian and Nick Winton with Joel Lamere, Sydney Schremser and Todd Thiel
Recalling the tobacco barns and covered bridges of New England, this handsome rowing centre on the Charles River is clad in composite wood-resin panels and louvres rendered in subtly varying geometric cuts. They are operable by simple chain pulls to control light and ventilation gain; the mechanism also syncs with the geothermal heating and cooling system to make the boathouse an efficient, comfortable year-round facility. A second, smaller pavilion is clad in glass shingles.
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Firm: KPMB Architects, Toronto
Team: Bruce Kuwabara and Marianne McKenna with Luigi LaRocca, Paulo Rocha and Dave Smythe
A cascade of lustrous volumes, the University of Toronto’s new business school campus has a 400-seat lecture hall cantilevered from its second storey, a bold gesture that telegraphs the facility’s future-forward culture. Clad in tinted glazing and Ductal concrete panels, the remaining spaces house a broad program of offices and research labs, student lounges and study rooms. However, it’s not all business all the time: a twisting atrium staircase with a pink accent brings a tailored flair to the 10-storey main building.