From a Jewish education center to an Asian art museum, institutional projects across three continents shed light on history, religion, and culture.
Firms: NArchitekTURA with Imaginga Studio
Project: Oshpitzin Jewish Center, Oswiecim, Poland
Standout: In a city known for the Auschwitz concentration camp, the complex of restored early 20th–century buildings focuses on the multicultural city prewar, particularly in the public square and museum, where copper, bronze, or Cor-Ten panels are sanded, streaked, rusted, or polished, the archaeological effect inspired by the lives, suffering, and achievements of the people represented in the center’s artifacts and archival photography.
Firm: Neri&Hu Design and Research Office
Project: Junshan Cultural Center, Beijing
Standout: What began as a clubhouse and sales facility for a Miyun District residential development has morphed into a destination for lectures, art exhibitions, and private functions, drawing in community members with its veil of wood-patterned aluminum panels, sculpted Venetian plaster ceilings, and geometric cuts carved out to interact with the sky, daylight, courtyard, and gardens.
Firm: Atelier Štepán
Project: Church of Beatified Restituta, Brno, Czech Republic
Standout: Named after early 20th–century martyr Maria Restituta Kafka, who was born a mile away, symbolism abounds here: The circular floor plan represents heaven and eternity, the domed ceiling’s matrix of wooden planks resembles God’s fingerprint, and the rainbow streaming through the upper annular window of 120 foiled glass panels is God himself—but the yellow aperture capping the 100-foot tower nods to Le Corbusier.
Firm: LMN Architects
Project: Seattle Asian Art Museum
Standout: The renovation encompassed restoring the landmarked art deco portion to its original splendor, which entailed cleaning and sealing the historic 1930’s sandstone facade, and constructing a 14,000-square-foot precast-concrete addition, featuring a 2,600-square-foot gallery—large enough to accommodate Do Ho Suh’s 24-foot-diamater Some/One—and extensive glazing cantilevering over and connecting with Volunteer Park.