Architectural marvels set to dazzle in 2022

High-end architecture is set to have a vintage year of new British landmarks, for private and public enjoyment. Here's our expert's pick

From a new Manchester landmark to the Serpentine pavilion, these architectural feats need to be seen

The most desirable new hotel, an exclusive college extension, and a clutch of cultural spaces will all be unveiled this year, proving that the architecture at its highest level isn't just ambitious, but wildly optimistic too. Here are the highlights you won't want to miss...

The exhibition

Let’s start with some good news. You haven’t quite missed the exhibition of photography by Helene Binet at the Royal Academy. It closes on 23 January. Binet has been making exquisite in camera images of some of the world’s most remarkable buildings for 30 years, revealing the character of both architecture and designer. From Le Corbusier’s resonant chapel at La Tourette (1960), shown in superbly saturated colour, to one of Zaha Hadid’s earliest buildings – the sharply angled and slightly dysfunctional Fire Station on the Vitra campus, completed in 1983 – Binet’s take on architecture is singular and sublime. 

Zaha Hadid Architects, Riverside Museum, Glasgow, United Kingdom Credit: Binet

A destination hotel

Paddy McKillen, the co-owner of Claridges and the Connaught, with the Qatari royal family, is no slouch when it comes to commissioning architects. His estate at Chateau La Coste in Provence is peppered with buildings by super star names, including Renzo Piano and Tadeo Ando. Now, hovering over Monte Carlo, his latest venture, the Maybourne Riviera, has been undergoing one of the softest openings the hotel business has ever known. 

Housed in a dazzling new building by the Parisian Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the bright white, liner-ish affair flirts with modernism while being decidedly up-to-date, and shows just what a new luxury hotel can be, if you have €300million to spend and a smart Irish attitude. Neither showy, nor retiring, it is cut into a hillside, with astonishing sea views from every part. A series of individual suites which trickle down the hill will be complete early in 2022. 

Paddy McKillen's latest venture, the Maybourne Riviera

The campus

This new flagship building for the College’s Battersea campus by Herzog & de Meuron should finally open in March. Providing 16,000m2 of new studio, office, workshop and research space in two conjoined buildings, with its fancy textured brick façade and strong bands of clerestory windows, it’s not a million miles away from the Swiss company’s Tate extension. But its pointy roofs, like two witches hats topping off the 4-storey and 8-storey buildings respectively, certainly mark it out as a landmark for the area.

Hitting New York

The London-based life and work couple, Stephanie Macdonald and Tom Emerson of 6a Architects, have dotted their home city with exceptional projects, including the South London Gallery, Juergen Teller’s exemplary photography studio and the JW Anderson store – a synthesis of Soho grit and glamour – which threw its opening party the night before the big lockdown of 2020. But this year their first opening will be in New York: the not-for-profit art space, CARA, is a 4-storey former playing card factory built in 1911. 

The Serpentine pavilion

Theaster Gates, the Chicago-based artist, trained in urban planning and preservation. So although he’s the first non-architect tasked with the creation of the Serpentine Pavilion – the temporary shelter which appears each summer in Kensington Gardens and has previously been designed by architects from Frank Gehry to the Mexican Frida Escobedo – he’s been much occupied in the past with rescuing the more desperate parts, and buildings, of his native city: he shouldn’t be phased by a Royal Park. Gates hasn’t yet given away any ideas about his pavilion, but a look around his exhibition, at the Whitechapel Gallery until 9 January, will provide some upfront insight into his take on materiality, as he explores the meaning and value of ceramics and brick. 

A new Manchester landmark

Conceived as a year-round venue for the city’s now legendary Manchester International Festival, which until now has launched an exceptional line-up of groundbreaking new work each summer, the new Factory building (in the Granada Studios’ area) promises even bigger things. 

The new Factory building designed by Dutch firm OMA Credit: OMA Nov 2019

Designed under the keen eye of Ellen Van Loon, the Dutch firm OMA’s only female partner, but possibly their best, it will offer 13,500 m2 of radically flexible space. Van Loon, who is a keen consumer of theatre, music and dance, but not of “younger” pursuits, put in some serious research. “I’m over 50,” she told me. “So I made my daughters, who were 18 and 21, take me to raves to what happens. A little light show and a DJ…” First slated for 2021, the project might take until 2023 to open.