Martha Thorne, dean of the architecture school at IE University in Madrid and executive director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, selects the most groundbreaking structures of the last decade.
Martha Thorne is the dean of the architecture school at IE University in Madrid and has served as the executive director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize—dubbed “the Nobel Prize for Architecture”—since 2005. From a vertical forest rising in a busy metropolis, to a power plant city dwellers can ski down, here are her top picks for the game-changers of the last decade.
Neues Museum by David Chipperfield Architects (2009) – Location: Berlin, Germany
The Neues Museum was originally built between 1841 and 1859, but was extensively damaged in bombings during World War II, leaving it ruined. It reopened in 2009 after being restored and rebuilt by David Chipperfield Architects in collaboration with Julian Harrap Architects.
Thorne picks the Neues Museum for how the project “understands restoration as a process of uncovering the essence of an historic building, respecting it yet giving it a voice. Not only in terms of function, but giving it a voice in terms of contemporary architecture….It [marked] a new way of understanding historic restoration and reuse.”
The High Line by James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Piet Oudolf (2009-2019)- Location: New York, New York
In 2003, the Friends of the High Line hosted an open “ideas competition,” which asked designers and architects how they would transform an “eyesore” of an abandoned, elevated rail line into a public park. They received 720 proposals across 36 countries, with the winning team consisting of landscape architects and urban designers James Corner Field Operations, design studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and planting designer Piet Oudolf.
The most recent spur opened in 2019, and the project is hailed for its reinvention of industrial infrastructure. “It was able to bring open space into an area that was desperately in need of it, in a high-density city, and allow anybody to use that space,” says Thorne.
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