Even in the midst of a global pandemic, people have continued to design and construct some truly amazing architecture over the past year. And 2022 is slated to unveil a number of game-changing structures, too.

Here’s a little taste of what the next year has in store in the world of building design:

Merdeka 118

The Fender Katsalidis-designed Merdeka 118, soon to be the world's second tallest tower.

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Conceived by the Australian design firm Fender Katsalidis, Kuala Lumpur’s Merdeka 118 will soon claim the title of the world’s second tallest tower. When completed, the 118-story edifice will reach 2,227 feet high, complete with a double height observation deck to provide stunning views of Malaysia’s capital city. The inside will house a mix of residential, retail, and hospitality offerings while the exterior is comprised of a geometric prism of windows, all set at angles that mimic traditional Malaysian craft patterns.

University of Illinois Campus Instructional Facility

This 122,000-square-foot educational building is blazing trails for colleges everywhere, mostly in that it’s designed to be completely carbon neutral. With a commitment to full campus net zero carbon operation by 2050, the University of Illinois has pulled out the stops with all-electric construction. Additionally, a ground source heat exchange system buried underground will meet roughly 65 percent of the structure’s energy demand.

The super sustainable University of Illinois Campus Instructional Facility, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

Designed by global architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), the interior features a multi-story staircase with surrounding stadium seating for informal gathering and collaboration. Additionally, there are classrooms of all sizes to accommodate classes of between 24 and 500 students, where subjects revolving around the future of education and its support technologies will be taught.

Abrahamic Family House

The Abrahamic Family House, an Adjaye Associates-designed religious complex comprised of worship centers for Christians, Jews, and Muslims with a shared garden space.

Located on Saadiyat Isalnd in Abu Dhabi, the Abrahamic Family House is the fruit of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity’s work to increase tolerance and interfaith understanding. Shiek Ahmed el-Tayeb was one of the signers, alongside Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, of the February 2019 Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together. This inspired him to commission the project, a religious complex made up of worship centers for Christians, Jews, and Muslims with a shared garden space.

Interior view of the Abrahamic Family House's Christian Worship Center.

Designed by Adjaye Associates, each building is distinctive in its architectural features but stylistically similar enough to produce a unifying effect. Said principal architect Sir David Adjaye, “I want to create a building that starts to dissolve the notion of hierarchical difference – it should represent universality and totality – something higher that enhances the richness of human life.”

The Spiral

The BIG-designed Spiral Tower in New York City, set for completion in 2022.

Perhaps the tallest building going up in Manhattan in 2022, the 1,031-foot-tall Spiral tower is the brainchild of Danish architectural group Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). Its most distinguishing feature is the corkscrew of open-air terraces twisting around the building from top to bottom. Pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced plans back in 2018 to move its world headquarters to the Spiral, while the other floors will be occupied by other global businesses, as well as restaurants and hospitality services.

Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture

Overhead view of the MASS-designed Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture.

In an effort to raise up a generation able to solve their own food scarcity problems, the Howard G. Buffet Foundation is installing a new academic and research campus for the surrounding inhabitants of Gashora, Rwanda. Designed and built by nonprofit MASS Design Group, the Rwanda Institute of Conservation Agriculture (RICA) is located in one of the country’s most drought affected areas, with minimal farmland and a population expected to double in the next 30 years.

A more zoomed-out view of the upcoming Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture building.

The teaching facility will be energy-independent and carbon neutral, thanks largely to its solar farm (the largest in the nation), and 90 percent of the labor and materials will be sourced locally. The structure is arranged in two connected circles that will have space for education, storage, research, and housing for both students and employees.