CULTURE & ARTS
11/17/2015 02:34 pm ET

The Future Of Architecture Isn't As Sci-Fi As We Might Think

But it is sustainable, pays homage to the past, and accommodates for underrepresented communities.
All images in this post courtesy of the World Architecture Festival.

When we think about the future of architecture, it's difficult not to throw ourselves into the realm of wild imagination, pondering which rules of physics we can defy with mind-boggling designs.

But, in reality, the architects working on the borderline between the real and the impossible have much more relevant goals in mind than creating buildings that stretch into the heavens or topple over each other like weightless blocks. Many architects, working throughout Asia and the Middle East in particular, are attempting to solve today's problems -- resource scarcity, overpopulation, decaying infrastructure, poor transportation -- by devising the schools, assisted living centers, museums and residences of tomorrow. The results can be physically fantastical, but most often, it's the problem-solving behind a design that blows our minds.

This month, the World Architecture Festival announced its list of 2015 winners, celebrating 350 finalists across 34 categories. In front of an audience of more than 2,000 architects in Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, experts analyzed and praised an assortment of completed and future designs meant to address issues of sustainability and community development across the globe. While the top award -- the World Building of the Year -- went to the Interlace, a towering residential complex in the host country, a slew of other buildings received their fair share of attention too. 

Check out a visual summary of the buildings, landscapes, homes and stadiums that won accolades this year. And remember, the future of architecture isn't always as sci-fi as we might think.

Singapore

The recently completed housing development will provide 1,040 apartment units of varying sizes in Ole Scheeren, Sin
Interlace by OMA:Buro
The recently completed housing development will provide 1,040 apartment units of varying sizes in Ole Scheeren, Singapore, stacked in hexagonal arrangements around eight courtyards.
A future Neighbourhood Centre and Polyclinic in Punggol, Singapore, with elevated green spaces.
Gardens by the Waterway by MULTIPLY ARCHITECTS
A future Neighbourhood Centre and Polyclinic in Punggol, Singapore, with elevated green spaces.
To address issues surrounding Singapore’s aging population and food scarcity, Home Farm will blend affordable housing w
Home Farm by Spark
To address issues surrounding Singapore’s aging population and food scarcity, Home Farm will blend affordable housing with urban farming. "We designed this concept for Singapore," SPARK Director Stephen Pimbley explained in a statement, "but there is the potential for it to be applied in any location that would support the growth of leafy green vegetables on building facades and rooftops."

Japan

A completed office building in Sapporo, Hokkaido, in Japan that blends natural materials with minimalist style.
HIGO by Nakayama Architects
A completed office building in Sapporo, Hokkaido, in Japan that blends natural materials with minimalist style.

Vietnam

A completed center and agricultural hub meant to serve tourists and the local, historically impoverished community, in a
Cam Thanh Community House by 1 1>2 International Architecture JSC
A completed center and agricultural hub meant to serve tourists and the local, historically impoverished community, in an attempt to connect the old and new quarters of Cam Thanh.
In Ho Chi Minh City, a tribute to Saigon, which includes stacked compartments with varying degrees of exposure to t
Saigon House by a21 Studio
In Ho Chi Minh City, a tribute to Saigon, which includes stacked compartments with varying degrees of exposure to the outdoors.

China

The landscape of the year winner. "Yanweizhou Park showcases a replicable and resilient ecological solution to large-scale fl
Yanweizhou Park by Turenscape
The landscape of the year winner. "Yanweizhou Park showcases a replicable and resilient ecological solution to large-scale flood management," reads a statement for the project. "Sitting at the mouth of three rivers, each over 100 meters wide, the Yanweizhou project uses groundbreaking strategy to create a water-resilient terraced river embankment that is covered with flood adapted native vegetation. The park’s pedestrian paths and pavilions are integrated with the planting terraces, which adapt to seasonal flooding."
"The Courtyard House Plugin is essentially a house within a house," the architects explained in a statement. "It is a prefabr
Courtyard House Plugin by People's Architecture Office
"The Courtyard House Plugin is essentially a house within a house," the architects explained in a statement. "It is a prefabricated modular system designed to bring modern living standards and energy efficiency to buildings that are centuries old while keeping them fully intact."

Brazil

In Brajovic, Italy: "We aimed to combine architecture and scenography in order to provide visitors with an experience that wo
Brazilian Pavilion | Expo Milano 2015 by Studio Arthur Casas & Atelier Marko, commissioned by APEX-Brasil
In Brajovic, Italy: "We aimed to combine architecture and scenography in order to provide visitors with an experience that would transmit Brazilian values and the aspirations of its agriculture and livestock farming according to the theme '€œFeeding the world with solutions,'" the architects explained in a statement. "More than a temporary building, the sensorial immersion includes leisure, high technology information, interaction and learning."

Qatar

Winner in the religion category.
Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies by Mangera Yvars Architects
Winner in the religion category.

India

Offices set to be built in Rajasthan, India.
Reservoir by Sanjay Puri Architects
Offices set to be built in Rajasthan, India.

United States

Located in New York City, the Fulton Center is a transportation hub meant to service 300,000 passengers per day.
Fulton Center by Grimshaw
Located in New York City, the Fulton Center is a transportation hub meant to service 300,000 passengers per day.

Australia

Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects rebuilt the community facility buildings in the town of Warmun after a devest
Walumba Elders Centre by Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects
Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects rebuilt the community facility buildings in the town of Warmun after a devestating flood, including the old Walumba Aged Care centre.
A building set to completed in Sydney, Australia.
Quay Quarter by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp
A building set to completed in Sydney, Australia.

Sweden

A small football stadium in Lidingö, Sweden, and an example of what World Architecture Festival judges deemed a big
Lidingovallen by DinellJohansson
A small football stadium in Lidingö, Sweden, and an example of what World Architecture Festival judges deemed a big impact for a small project.

Spain

The new stadium in Biscay, Spain.
San Mames Stadium by ACXT
The new stadium in Biscay, Spain.

Canada

A residential building to be completed in Vancouver.
Vancouver House by BIG
A residential building to be completed in Vancouver.

Russia

Winner in the Future Masterplanning category.
Development Concept for the Historic Centre of Kaliningrad by Studio 44 Architects
Winner in the Future Masterplanning category.
Located in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Ballet School by Studio 44 Architects
Located in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Croatia

A future house idea in Vis, Croatia, capitalizing on available farm grounds.
Issa Grotto/Hill House by Davor Matekovic/PROARH
A future house idea in Vis, Croatia, capitalizing on available farm grounds.

Also on HuffPost:

PHOTO GALLERY
The Kama Sutra Of Architecture Redefines The Blueprint
CONVERSATIONS