Tracking  a year of buildings is a daunting task.

In 2011, the wealth of new, exciting structures was simply overwhelming. Given preparations for the Olympics and Euro 2012, stadiums were sprouting up at rapid pace this year. "Starchitects" unveiled projects with equally frightening speed… most notably Zaha Hadid, who claimed (at long last) her true and lasting legend with a series of stunning buildings. And, most importantly, 2011 saw a continued interest in developing new environmentally friendly techniques and experimenting with new structures.

For year end review, we've simply pulled the coolest structures from around the world. Included are museums and super towers; sporting venues and affordable housing solutions; and a home fit for a Hobbit. Tying it all together, each pick shares an important trend in our contemporary architectural landscape.

The Coolest Buildings of 2011.