Blur, Expo 02, Yverdon-les-Bains, 2002. This sensational pavilion, which was designed by New York architects Diller + Scofidio, was the star of Switzerland’s Expo 02. A cat’s cradle of tensile steel, 20m high and 100m long, it brooded at the end of a steel-and-glass jetty over Lake Neuchatel. Inside, some 30,000 water jets created clouds through which mesmerised (and damp) visitors could walk, again and again. (From the Guardian)

I have a love/hate relationship with Top 10 lists. I can’t resist reading them, but I am incapable of assembling my own. I think this personal failing is due to the fact that I find it difficult to pull back so far that you can be objective about an entire year. And an entire decade is even more daunting.

So while I cannot provide a comprehensive list of my own, here are a few in the architectural space that seem worth sharing.

In addition to his short list, Philip Kennicott in the Washington Post had a few comments about architecture in the aughts that feels hopeful:

Perhaps the greatest and most encouraging architectural trend was the widespread acceptance of new and green building technologies, and the pervasive use of a common environmental standard to judge sustainability. Near the end of the Aughts, hardly a week passed without the announcement of a new LEED silver or gold or platinum building, proof that sustainable design wasn’t just a fashion, but a bottom-line value recognized by architects and investors alike.

But if you wanted to describe what the buildings of the past decade looked like, you’d be hard-pressed to settle on any particular description. A cool, sleek, almost chilly modernism prevailed among some designers, while others pursued exuberant and dazzling forms. Museums went through a great age of expansion, though as the decade ends, it’s not clear if they may also be in for a new age of overextension hangover. The “starchitect,” a neologism that seemed to define the decade, also became something of a dirty word, as momentum grew for a new kind of modesty and problem-solving, rather than flamboyance and busted budgets.

Kennicott’s list of his favorite buildings from the decade:

Tate Modern in London (Herzog and de Meuron)
Beijing National Stadium (Herzog and de Meuron)
Disney Hall in LA (Frank Gehry)
Seattle Central Library (Rem Koolhaas)
Alice Tully Hall redesign in New York (Diller Scofidio and Renfro)

And his worst: Daniel Libeskind’s addition to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

From the Guardian:

Millennium Dome in London (Richard Rogers Partnership)
Blur, Expo 02, Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland (Diller + Scofidio)
Serpentine Pavilion in London (Toyo Ito and engineer Cecil Balmond)
30 St Mary Axe (“The Gherkin”) in London (Norman Foster)
European Southern Observatory Hotel in Cerro Paranal, Chile (Auer and Weber, with engineers Mayr and Ludescher)
Beijing National Stadium (Herzog and de Meuron)
St Pancras station in London (Alastair Lansley)
Le Viaduc de Millau bridge in Aveyron France (engineer Michel Virlogeux and Norman Foster)
Neues Museum redesign in Berlin (David Chipperfield)
Burj Dubai (Adrian Smith and Bill Baker of Chicago-based SOM)

And the top five buildings according to the London Times:

Neues Museum redesign in Berlin (David Chipperfield)
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles (Rafael Moneo)
The Eden Project in Cornwall (Nicholas Grimshaw)
30 St Mary Axe (“The Gherkin”) in London (Norman Foster)
Casa da Musica in Porto (Rem Koolhaas/OMA)

Interested in a New York-specific list? Curbed NY has assembled a good slide show on their site.

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