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Ancient Modernism: 7 Stunning Contemporary Projects Crafted from Stone

Architizer’s A+Awards, the world’s largest awards program for architecture and building products, has a special theme this year — “The Future of Architecture” is aimed at unearthing the most forward-thinking projects around the globe, with a particular focus on architecture that responds to the most urgent issues of our time. The A+Awards is open for entries now, so be sure your firm submits its best projects to be in the running for global recognition this year:

Enter the 8th Annual A+Awards

When considering which materials might shape the future of architecture, one could be forgiven for bypassing stone as a likely candidate. However, this ancient material has experienced a renaissance in recent years, with new and innovative applications cropping up around the world. Thanks to its timeless aesthetic, top structural properties, and ability to be cut and processed in endless ways, stone could yet form the foundation for the future of construction.

For a glimpse at what architects can achieve with stone today — and to imagine what’s to come — explore the following A+Award-winning projects, each of which showcase new construction techniques and applications of stone over the last ten years.

stone Butaro Doctors’ Housing by MASS Design Group, Butaro, Rwanda
2014 Jury Choice Award

MASS worked with the Daniel E. Ponton Fund at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Partners In Health, and the Rwanda Ministry of Health to create serene housing to draw and retain quality doctors. The influx of physicians has cultivated an exchange in new medical expertise, creating a collaborative teaching environment amongst local and foreign professionals who now live and teach together on site. Beyond medical knowledge, the housing was also used as an educational opportunity to develop new construction and craft skills. MASS set up a compressed stabilized earth block (CSEB) fabrication and training workshop on site.

stone stoneGrand Hyatt Playa Del Carmen Hotel by Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
2016 A+ Popular Choice Award, Architecture +Stone

As one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in the Mexican Caribbean, the Hotel Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen is located within a protected mangrove area and near 5th Avenue. Combining the local environment and culture in a modern setting on an irregular site that slopes down to the sea, the hotel features views along a 140-meter beachfront. A series of studies of distribution, land use and protection of the natural area led to the development of an architectural program divided into three blocks.

stone stoneGadsby’s Tavern Ice Well by BELL Architects, Alexandria, VA, United States
2016 A+ Jury Choice Award, Architecture +Stone

Gadsby’s Tavern Ice Well is architecturally significant as one of the few remaining urban ice wells and an important part of Alexandria’s commercial and social history. The sidewalk area was altered to provide views into the well in the 1970’s as part of Bicentennial celebrations. This project focused on preservation of the ice well and tavern building, creating an integrated outdoor exhibit, while addressing structural, storm water, deterioration and public safety concerns of the 1970s alterations. stone


Stone Ribbon by Aamodt / Plumb Architects, Austin, TX, United States
2017 A+ Jury Choice Award, Architecture +Stone

Designed as a cladding system for a residence in Austin, Texas, the stone ribbon seeks to root the home in its context through material presence. A complex and changing aesthetic effect was created through the simple repetition of two types of blocks in an irregular pattern. The appearance of the facades of the house change throughout the day as the sun creates continuously shifting shadow patterns. The cladding was made from locally sourced Leuders Limestone and recalls the striated layers of limestone outcroppings common in the area.

stone stoneChetian Cultural Center by West-line Studio, Guiyang, China
2018 A+ Popular Choice Award, Architecture +Stone

The cultural center is located in the rural Chetian Village (车田村), 30km from Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou province, in South-West China. The village has more than 400 years of history and is famous for its ‘stone houses’ built with local materials. The architecture of the cultural center is strongly characterized by 40cm thick walls, built according to the local traditional methods, using the stone coming from the village’s pit. The strong presence of the stone creates an intimate interior space and was selected to respect the historical masonry traditions of Chetian Village.

stone stoneTemple in Stone and Light by SpaceMatters, Barmer, India
2018 A+ Jury Choice Award, Architecture +Stone

The project was an opportunity to explore and establish contemporary interpretations of traditional typologies and building techniques. Located in the culturally rich area of Rajasthan, the contextual response to the region’s architecture rendered a design which sought to push the boundaries of modern temple architecture without compromising on the symbolic aspects of temple design. The decision to use stone masonry was an attempt to pay homage to the region’s building style and yet provide novelty in a temple of that region.

stone stoneLongs Peak Privies by Colorado Building Workshop / University of Colorado Denver
2019 A+ Jury Choice Award, Architecture +Stone

Long’s Peak, the tallest and most iconic mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park, has become one of the most frequented 14ers in the State of Colorado. To deal with human waste on the trail, the National Park Service (NPS) installed their first backcountry toilets in 1983. Determined to find a better privy design, and a more humane solution of collecting waste, NPS collaborated with Colorado Building Workshop to re-design and construct four new backcountry privies.

Got an amazing stone project of your own completed in the last 3 years? Submit it for a 2020 A+Award to be in the running for international publication by Phaidon, huge online exposure and the iconic A+Awards trophy!

Enter the 8th Annual A+Awards

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