Watch This Space: 8 New Buildings for 2020

A round-the-world architecture tour to kick off the new decade

Dec 18, 2019 · 6 min read

2020 has the makings of a banner year for architecture. Buildings anticipated for years — decades even — will become part of the daily experience for thousands of city dwellers and commuters. Construction will begin on a cutting-edge workplace renovation in Milan, and cranes and scaffolding will come down to reveal bold new buildings from New York to San Francisco. Here’s a glimpse of the highlights.

Moynihan Train Hall and Penn Station

New York City

Moynihan Train Hall, from rendering to reality. Left: © Empire State Development, courtesy SOM | Methanoia. Right: © NYS Department of Economic Development

The conversion of McKim, Mead & White’s 1913 James A. Farley Post Office into a 21st-century train station has been decades in the making — and SOM has led the design vision every step of the way. Construction is expected to be completed this year on what will become one of New York City’s great public spaces, with a spectacular glass skylight resting on the building’s original steel trusses.

More than an architectural marvel, Moynihan Train Hall will transform the travel experience for hundreds of thousands of commuters each day. Expanded platforms and concourses link the train hall to the larger Penn Station complex, and state-of-the-art wayfinding helps travelers navigate the expanded transportation hub.

Ongoing work at Penn Station also includes a dramatic new entrance pavilion that will turn the existing Long Island Rail Road concourse into an inviting, light-filled space.

Design by SOM | Image courtesy Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office

Manhattan West

New York City

The long-awaited opening of Moynihan Train Hall comes at a pivotal moment: it will become the gateway to a transformed West Side. Directly across from the new station, the complete redevelopment of two city blocks is underway. The Manhattan West development will bring office, hotel, retail, dining, and two acres of open space to the burgeoning district. All of it is built on a platform covering active rail lines leading to Penn Station.

Photo © Lucas Blair Simpson | SOM

The development’s tallest building, One Manhattan West, officially opened in October 2019. The coming year will see the completion of new plazas and public spaces, which are a key component of SOM’s master plan for the district. Designed in collaboration with landscape architect James Corner Field Operations, these spaces will create an engaging pedestrian experience that extends West 32nd Street toward the new developments that are reshaping the West Side, including Hudson Yards.

330 North Green Street


Image © SOM

A transformative new office development is coming to Fulton Market, one of the fastest-growing districts in Chicago’s West Loop. Construction begins soon on 330 North Green Street, a 17-story glass and steel building with a design that evokes the best of Chicago’s modernist architectural tradition.

The design is carefully calibrated with the surrounding area: a setback at 40 feet above the street aligns with the roofs of nearby historic warehouse structures. The setback creates one of the new building’s distinctive features, a large gathering space dubbed “The Porch.” Designed for year-round use in Chicago’s varied climate, this community terrace incorporates retractable doors, large industrial fans, and fireplace areas. Offering expansive city views, it’s sure to become a perennial meeting place, bringing the energy of the street into the skyline.

Image © SOM

Corso Italia 23

Milan, Italy

At the heart of one of Europe’s most vibrant cities, a modernist office complex is about to get a second life. Originally designed by Gio Ponti, Piero Portaluppi, and Antonio Fornaroli as the Milan headquarters of Allianz S.p.A., the 45,000-square-meter complex at Corso Italia 23 will be transformed into a dynamic multi-tenant office campus that represents the future of the workplace.

Image © SOM

SOM designed the renovation to bring the buildings that comprise the campus up to the highest sustainability standards, and to provide the flexible spaces and amenities sought by today’s companies — all while maintaining the spirit of the original architects’ vision. Construction is due to begin this year.

Image © SOM

500 Folsom

San Francisco

Image © Cesar Rubio

More than a decade ago, SOM began working with the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency to create a master plan for a dense urban district surrounding the Salesforce Transit Center, which opened in 2018. Today, new buildings such as 500 Folsom are emblems of the area’s transformation into a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood.

The 42-story tower rises in a series of stacked volumes, with open balconies and a facade design that gives a sense of porosity. It brings 456 market-rate units, 114 affordable units, and a variety of amenities to the district. With ground-level retail spaces and a series of passageways that contribute to a vibrant streetscape, the building is expected to be complete in February.

National Museum of the United States Army

Fort Belvoir, Virginia

Photo courtesy National Museum of the United States Army

The National Museum of the United States Army will be the first national museum to tell the story of America’s oldest military service, from its earliest days as the colonial militia to its present-day status at the world’s most powerful ground force. Designed to serve as the Army’s symbolic front door, the museum will become a center for education and inspiration, and a cultural institution of national significance. Spanning 84 acres across the Fort Belvoir Military Installation in Virginia, the complex will be composed of a pavilioned main building for exhibits and special events, a quiet memorial garden, a parade field and grandstand, and an Army Trail with interpretive stations. The museum is due to open its doors in June 2020.

Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank Headquarters

Shenzhen, China

Image © Charles Harris | SOM

This 150-meter-tall building in Bao’an, Shenzhen, sets a benchmark for innovative and sustainable design. The mixed-use tower features a dramatic steel diagrid structure, drawing upon SOM’s tradition of integrating architectural design and structural engineering. The structure is pulled away from the facade to allow for flexible and column-free interior spaces, while also providing solar shading.

Inside, vertical atria extend the full height of the tower to create a dynamic, interconnected workplace with stunning views. Features such as operable windows and natural ventilation support wellness and improve the building’s energy performance. It’s due to open in summer 2020.

Garden Terminal, Kempegowda International Airport

Bengaluru, India

Image © SOM

Bengaluru has emerged as a world capital for technological innovation. Soon, its airport will be equipped with a new terminal that sets a standard for the future of airport design. Terminal 2 creates a landscaped, serene transportation experience, drawing inspiration from Bengaluru’s “Garden City” heritage.

A vast, three-story “forest belt” is visible throughout the terminal. Outside, an expansive garden is threaded with walkways and pavilions. Beyond enriching the travel experience, the gardens will help to purify indoor air and contribute to the building’s sustainable design. With the first phase of construction due to be complete by March 2021, eventually the terminal is anticipated to serve 25 million passengers per year.



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