Amsterdam – The Valley, a geology-inspired, plant-covered high-rise development, has been named the world’s best new skyscraper by the Emporis Awards. The striking 75,000-square-meter building sits in Amsterdam’s Zuidas neighbourhood, with a blended design allowing for offices, shops, catering, cultural facilities and apartments in one development. The Valley’s green spaces are publicly accessible, created by developer MVRDV as a suitable response to a post-Covid world.
The pandemic's influence has raised awareness of the 'unhuman' design of metropolitan areas, with urban inhabitants now increasingly seeking spaces that prioritise wellbeing and nature. The building's smooth, mirrored exterior blends in with the area’s business district, while landscape architect Piet Oudolf designed it to host 13,500 young plants and shrubs, and 271 trees, as part of a matrix that considers temperature and other ecological factors, placing the natural world at the heart of the design process.
Valley represents a shift in values and a growing movement in the architecture world away from sterile, individualised spaces to collective living developments that are inclusive and adapt to the fluidity of modern life.
Businesses will need to plan for changing urban environments; think about how retail spaces can adapt to blended living and become cultural hubs for localised communities