Singapore Sports Hub at night; Singapore Sports Hub at night;

Design Book – Beautiful cities

Why should a city be beautiful?

The buildings, skylines, art and public space of a city help to make it memorable. As we show in our Design Book: 50 city stories explored, beautiful spaces improve quality of life for residents, and attract visitors. Well-planned spaces inspire interaction.

The historic elements of a city also form its character. Preserving this heritage while encouraging evolution requires a delicate balance.

Awe-inspiring spaces

As humans, we are drawn to the odd, the unusual, the idiosyncratic. It is not illogical, barmy or stupid. It is essential food for the imagination of us all. ” Thomas Heatherwick Heatherwick Studio Founder

For designer Thomas Heatherwick, oddness and idiosyncracy are part of a city’s beauty.
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One such unusual space is Taipei’s National Taichung Theater. Dubbed the ‘unbuildable building’, it is a new cultural hub for the city and a building that must be seen to be believed. The continuous, curved concrete shell is an ingenious feat of engineering and design. It is a ‘statement‘ building that will inspire locals and attract tourists.

Buildings should both enhance and respond to the wider city. The skyline was a key consideration in our design for the Singapore Sports Hub. The government didn’t just want a world-class sports facility near the city centre; it wanted a building that retained a connection with the city. The horseshoe-shaped venue has an open end, framing a view of the city skyline. An addition to the cityscape itself, the hub is topped by a spectacular moveable ultra-thin roof: the world’s largest freestanding dome.

Beautiful buildings like the Glasgow School of Art’s Reid Building can be inspiring. Working with Steven Holl Architects, we’ve created a light-filled new building that prompts interaction and provides a complementary contrast to the famous neighbouring building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. We think the master of light and space would have approved.

Design Book: 50 city stories explored

Read an electronic version of the Design Book