Wonders of the World 2006

Michael Ficeto/Hearst Corporation

Hearst Building

New York
Foster & Partners

Hearst Corp.'s new 46-story headquarters is a wonder of green building. The structure's grid-like frame required 20% less steel than would be used for a similar conventional perimeter frame. Sensors control lighting, dimming, or turning off interior electric lights when natural light is available. For most of the year, a state-of-the-art HVAC system uses outdoor air for cooling and ventilation. As a result, the energy used and carbon dioxide emissions are slashed to 22% less than an average office building of comparable size in New York. 

 Wonders of the World 2006

Apple Store (Fifth Avenue)

New York
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson's

Just as Apple strives to outdo itself with every product release, each new retail space seems to overshadow the last. The store that opened this year on Fifth Avenue—a 32-foot-tall glass cube that beckons consumers down a glass staircase to a subterranean computer heaven—ups the ante on its predecessors. And, of course, it comes with genius service and a well-engineered retail experience—lots of hands-on stations, for instance—to leave the typical big-box retail experience in the dust.

 Tom Bonner

Glenn House

Santa Monica, Calif.
Ray Kappe

It waters itself. It powers itself. This ultra-energy-efficient house is the first home in the country to be given "platinum" status in the U.S. Green Building Council's influential LEED rating system.

Katsuhisa Kida

National Assembly for Wales

Cardiff, Wales
Richard Rogers

The Senedd—the National Assembly's new home—is remarkable on several levels: Constructed of local, renewable materials and employing natural ventilation s
ystems, it earns high points for sustainability. And in an era in which government buildings (new and old) are increasingly being designed and renovated according to the bulwark aesthetic, the Senedd's glass walls emphasize transparency.

San Francisco Federal Building

San Francisco

A model of green building, the 18-story home for federal workers was the first office tower in the U.S. to eliminate air-conditioning, at least over 70% of its area. It accomplishes this through a computer-controlled skin, developed with engineers at Ove Arup, that actively adjusts to weather changes. Its narrow floor plate allows for natural ventilation, while metal sunscreens shade the floor-to-ceiling windows. But most striking are its bold design and social agenda: Skip-stop elevators, sky gardens, and open stairs will foster interaction among employees, with the idea of creating a healthy office environment and a healthy culture.

Big Dig House

Lexington, Mass.
Single Speed Design

At first glance, the Big Dig House could be any well-designed modernist home. The wonder of the house is that it was inspired by Boston's Big Dig—and designed as a way to make use of the concrete and steel discarded from the city's massive infrastructure project.

Wembley Stadium

HOK Sport and Foster & Partners

With 90,000 seats, the new Wembley Stadium will be the largest soccer arena in the world. The signature 98.3-foot-tall twin towers of the original Wembley, built for the British Empire Exhibition in 1924, are being replaced with a dramatic 436-foot arch that will support 5,000 tons of the 7,000-ton movable roof. This structural solution eliminates the need for pillars that could obscure visitors' views. (With a span of 315 meters, the arch will be the longest single-span roof structure in the world and will be visible from all parts of London.)

 Jeff Goldberg/Esto

Howard Hughes Medical Institute—Janelia Farm Complex

Ashburn, Va.
Rafael Vinoly

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has long given grants to individual scientists working at universities around the country. But convinced that some of the biggest scientific problems of our era will only be solved by small, multidisciplinary teams, the institute created the Janelia Farm Complex, a 760,000-square-foot facility designed to support cutting-edge science. A researcher's paradise, the facility includes apartments for visiting researchers, conference space, and a 1,000-foot-long laboratory building that, if stood on end, would be as tall as an 85-story tower.


Donghai Bridge

Shanghai/Yangshan, China
China Zhongtie Major Bridge Engineering Group, Shanghai No. 2 Engineering Co., Shanghai Urban Construction Group

A key phase in the development of the world's largest deep-sea port was completed when China's first cross-sea bridge—the 20-mile, six-lane Donghai Bridge—was officially opened in December, 2005 (O.K., we're cheating a bit). Stretching across the East China Sea, the graceful cable-stay structure connects Shanghai to Yangshan Island, set to become China's first free-trade port (and the world's largest container port) upon its completion in 2010. To provide a safer driving route in the typhoons and high waves known to hit the region, Donghai Bridge is designed in an S-shape. The structure, reported by Shanghai Daily to have cost $1.2 billion, will hold its title of China's—and the world's—longest over-sea bridge for only a couple of years, though. In 2008, the nearby 22-mile Hangzhou Bay Transoceanic Bridge will earn that superlative.

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