With every New Year comes new architectural trends, and 2013 was no exception. But good architecture isn’t about following trends – it’s about innovation. These featured modern designs have managed to break the mould and stand out in one of the world’s most competitive industries.

Google Office of Zurich

Google Office of Zurich

Google are always at the forefront of innovation within the technology sector, and their new Zurich office – which was developed by Camenzind Evolution – demonstrates how far the company is willing to go to please their workers. This 12,000 square meter building, with its colourful décor, slides, pool tables and fitness center, may look more like a giant play area than an office, but it’s paved the way for some of the most important ideas and inventions of the year.

Albizia House

Albizia House

Albizia House was designed by Metropole and uses natural materials to create a home that blends perfectly in its forest surroundings. All of the living areas and bedrooms have panoramic views if the countryside; however, one of the most intriguing aspects of this building is the use of water. The house contains a 25 meter lap pool, which has a glass panel so it can be seen from the cinema room. In addition, the exterior contains a shallow pond which reflects the entire building in a Taj Mahal-like manner.

The Barn

The Barn

As times change, many architects neglect history and ignore local traditions; however, Mark Neuner’s team took the opposite approach. Before they started designing The Barn, they decided to research the history of the area in order to create something modern, yet true to the past. After studying the Kitzbühel environment, the team eventually decided that a barn approach would be the most relevant.

Unilever Offices

Unilever Offices

Unilever’s offices in Schaffhausen define the company’s image perfectly. With all of the bright bold colours and mismatched shapes, it breaks all the common rules of architecture and interior design; however, it creates a unique sense of identity that most companies fail to achieve. The property was designed by Zurich and Berlin based Camenzind Evolution.

ME London Hotel

ME London Hotel

The ME London is a five star hotel situated in Covent Garden. The modern, yet avant-garde design by Forster and Partners contains two New York themed restaurants, a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city skyline, and a meeting room with a capacity of 300. The faux leather walls and obelisk roof gablets may be a different approach for Forster, but it certainly holds its own against the surroundings and has attracted a great deal of attention throughout the industry.

Modern Home

Modern Home

The Modern Home by Gardner Mohr Architects clearly takes some inspiration from the East. The Zen garden, shoji styled walls, bonsai accents and use of materials in dark neutrals, gives the building a Japanese aura, which is both relaxing and pleasing on the eye. One of the standout features of the Modern Home is the abundance of squares. Everything from the kitchen counters to the living room furniture is built around right angles, allowing it all to slot into place and provide a cleaning looking and spacious environment.

Technology is changing the world of architecture at a significant rate. With design software from ArtiCAD, architects and interior designers can clearly visualize their creations before they start any of the legwork.

The computerization of the design process has helped architects envision new ways of utilizing and shaping materials; and the simulation of these designs not only provides security, but allows virtually anyone to challenge the industry.