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Architectural highlights of 2015

This year saw the completion of several outstanding projects in architecture over the course of the year.
From the new Philharmonic in Paris to a new business school in Sydney, here are some of the more remarkable feats in architecture from the last 12 months.
Shanghai Tower
The Shanghai Tower in China is the new centrepiece of the city's financial district. Designed by Gensler architects, it is 632m high and has 128 storeys, making it the tallest building in China and the second highest building in the world. Only the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is taller.
Architects at Gensler used three strategies in designing the building: asymmetrical form, tapering profile and rounded corners to make the structure resistant to typhoon winds. Although the project was completed earlier this year, it is not yet open to the public.
Paris Philharmonic
The new enormous Paris Philharmonic designed by French architect Jean Nouvel opened its doors in January. The new building is located on the northeast edge of Paris.
It is a 2,400-seat venue and the complex covers 19,600 sq m. Visitors can walk up to the rooftop to get a panoramic view with space for up to 700 people.
The project was controversial throughout its construction. Completion was two years late and three times over budget.
Broad Museum, Los Angeles
Los Angeles got a new contemporary art museum in 2015. The Broad Museum was designed by the Diller Scofidio + Renfro architecture firm in collaboration with Gensler architects.
The building is 36,576 sq m. Designers developed a veil and vault concept. It has three floors of space and showcases over 2,000 works of postwar and contemporary art.
There is no admission fee to visit the museum. It is entirely financed by billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad and his wife Edythe.
Dr Chau Chak Wing Business School, Sydney
Pritzker Prize winning architect Frank Gehry's Dr Chau Chak Wing business school (pic) at the University of Technology in Sydney opened its doors in February. The unique curvy structure was developed using 320,000 specially designed bricks that give the building the appearance of a giant paper bag.
Gehry says the building's structure was inspired by a treehouse, although that may not be obvious to all observers. The UTS Business School project is part of a US$1.2 billion City Campus Master Plan for the university's facilities.
It is named after Australian-Chinese businessman and philanthropist Dr Chau Chak Wing who donated US$20 million to the project.
Harbin Opera House
Harbin, China got a massive new opera house at the end of this year. Designed by Beijing and LA MAD architects, the Harbin Opera is part of the Harbin Cultural Island project, which includes a cultural centre alongside the Opera and covers 259,080 sq m.
The building's structure appears to have been shaped by the wind. The Grand Theatre can seat up to 1,600 visitors while materials used in the construction offer superb acoustics. The building has been completed but is not yet open to the public.

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