Thinking Outside the (White) Box: 8 Sculptural Designs for Cultural Spaces

Celebrate a Decade of Inspirational Design with us! Architizer’s 10th Annual A+Awards program launches this fall — sign up to receive key program updatesand deadline reminders.

Amorphous white silhouettes are on the rise in architectural projects around the world. Their minimal nature stands in stark contrast with the grandeur that their form exudes. Parametric design applications and technologies like 3D printing have made the visualization of these spaces very easy, allowing architects to experiment and play with forms like never before.

The following A+Award winners challenge conventional ideas to craft spaces that have a unique character, experience and visual appeal. These designs change the way we look at circulation and redefine how we see and use basic structural elements like walls and roofs. Projects in this collection not only serve as functional buildings but also as works of art.

Yinchuan Sunac City Exhibition Center by Arch-Age-Design(AAD), Yinchuan, China
Yinchuan Sunac City Exhibition Center by Arch-Age-Design (AAD), Yinchuan, China

Popular Choice, 2021 A+Awards, Commercial – Showrooms

Perched at the edge of Gedi Lake, this minimalist structure is shaped like a crescent moon with a roof that gradually slopes down towards the water. The roof is held up by perforated columns that create the illusion of it being suspended in the air. Glass walls along the inner circumference of the ring help users become one with nature.

Jiunvfneg Bubble Pool and Supporting Facilities on Mount Tai by line+, Tai'an, China

Jiunvfneg Bubble Pool and Supporting Facilities on Mount Tai by line+, Tai'an, China
Jiunvfneg Bubble Pool and Supporting Facilities on Mount Tai by line+, Tai’an, China

Popular Choice, 2021 A+Awards, Hospitality – Spa & Wellness

The bulbous column-free form of the structure is created using special curved steel keels. The overhanging roof with wide openings or glass panels below enables unhindered views of mountains and forests around it. The openings of each white shell are oriented in different directions to create privacy.

Lindt Home of Chocolate by Christ & Gantenbein, Kilchberg, Switzerland

Lindt Home of Chocolate by Christ & Gantenbein, Kilchberg, Switzerland
Images by Walter Mair

Lindt Home of Chocolate by Christ & Gantenbein, Kilchberg, Switzerland

Jury Winner, 2021 A+Awards, Commercial – Mixed Use

The structure allows for a mixed-used space that comprises an exhibition area, R&D facility, production plants, offices and recreational facilities. Its dominant feature is an open atrium with circular projections. A large golden chocolate fountain in the center stands out against the calm white interiors.

The Golden Horn Library by Aytac Architects, Istanbul, Turkey

The Golden Horn Library by Aytac Architects, Istanbul, Turkey
The Golden Horn Library by Aytac Architects, Istanbul, Turkey

Jury Winner, 2021 A+Awards, Institutional – Unbuilt Institutional

The conceptual design is formed to look like a floating Turkish carpet, while also referencing the seven hills of Istanbul. The curved roof is supported by columns that branch out at the top and ribs that go along the roof section. The profile gradually reduces in height to merge into the landscape while also acting as a platform to walk on.

Yanlord Central Lake by HWCD & TIANHUA, Taicang, China

Yanlord Central Lake by HWCD & TIANHUA, Taicang, China
Yanlord Central Lake by HWCD & TIANHUA, Taicang, China

Popular Choice, 2021 A+Awards, Office Building – Low Rise (1-4 Floors)

The design for this structure draws inspiration from the ripples in water. Curved segments at different levels are put together to create a spiral form. The building also features large windows on the side to allow expansive views of the lake around it.

Flow by Kris Lin International Design, Chengdu, China

Flow by Kris Lin International Design, Chengdu, China
Flow by Kris Lin International Design, Chengdu, China

Jury Winner, 2021 A+Awards, Commercial – Showrooms

Staying true to its name, this exhibition space is composed of fluid lines that create and separate various functions. Curved white surfaces and a cleverly concealed staircase are favored over traditional walls to create better circulation and connectivity.

The Cloudscape of Haikou by MAD Architects, Haikou, China

The Cloudscape of Haikou by MAD Architects, Haikou, China
The Cloudscape of Haikou by MAD Architects, Haikou, China

Jury Winner, 2021 A+Awards, Detail – Architecture +Concrete

The nebulous shape of the library was built using fair-faced concrete. The form’s identity is further retained by concealing all the mechanical, engineering and plumbing features within the surfaces. Its sculptural nature creates unique spatial experiences in every nook within.

Celebrate a Decade of Inspirational Design with us! Architizer’s 10th Annual A+Awards program launches this fall — sign up to receive key program updatesand deadline reminders.

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Kenneth Brown