Cooled Conservatories at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, has won the World Building of the Year Award at the prestigious World Architecture Festival (WAF) Awards 2012. The project, designed by Wilkinson Eyre, Grant Associates, Atelier One and Atelier Ten, was chosen from over 500 entries. More information and images after the break.
The judging of the WAF Awards took place during the largest global celebration of architecture – the World Architecture Festival, which was held at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore this week. Located in Marina Bay, Gardens by the Bay is a key project in delivering the Singapore Government’s vision of transforming Singapore into a ‘City in a Garden’. At a total of 101 hectares, the Gardens by the Bay project comprises three distinct waterfront gardens – Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central. Sitting in the heart of Bay South Garden, the Cooled Conservatory Complex provides a spectacular, all-weather attraction, comprising a 1.28 hectare cool dry conservatory (the ‘Flower Dome’) and a 0.73 hectare cool moist conservatory (the ‘Cloud Forest’). Each has its own distinct character, but both explore the horticulture of those environments most likely to be affected by climate change.
Both conservatories have a dual system structure of gridshell and arches to permit as much light as possible through to the planted displays within. The gridshell portion is very fragile and is designed to only support its own weight and the weight of the glass. Wind loads are resisted by the arches that are set away from the surface of the envelope and arranged radially in line with the geometry of the gridshell. The commission to design the 54 hectare Bay South garden was won in 2006 by a team led by Grant Associates, including Wilkinson Eyre Architects, Atelier One, Atelier Ten, Land Design and Davis Langdon and Seah. Wilkinson Eyre Architects developed the Cooled Conservatories. This display project was selected to win by the festival’s super-jury, having first coming out on top from a shortlist of 9 entries in the “World’s Best Display” Award, Cooled Conservatories at Gardens by the Bay then went on to claim the World Building of the Year.
Speaking on behalf of the festival’s super-jury Paul Finch, WAF Programme Director, said: “This project was a fine and deserved winner, especially as it was an immensely collaborative effort. It features a series of radical and technical examinations, comprising some truly experimental aspects and lines of enquiry that will be immensely useful to the profession.” This is the 5th year the World Architecture Festival Awards have been presented, and by the end of the awards 35 WAF Awards will have been announced across the three main sections of Completed Buildings, Landscape and Future Projects. Projects entered this year, against a challenging economic climate, reflect the festival’s theme of ‘Rethink and Renew’, highlighting the need for innovative and creative approaches to existing buildings and areas. The theme also questions whether it is time for architecture to rethink whether it is fulfilling its intended role, and if it’s having a significant impact on those who ultimately use the resultant buildings and spaces.
The awards programme will culminate with the announcement of the coveted ‘World Building of the Year’ award, which was selected by the festival’s super-jury. It was chaired by Neil Denari, Principal of NMDA (Neil M. Denari Architects Inc). The highly esteemed international judging panel also included Ben van Berkel, Moshe Safdie, Mok Wei Wei, Jürgen Mayer, Yvonne Farrell and Kenzo Tange. Previous winners of the World Building of the Year Award include Luigi Bocconi University, Milan, designed by Irish practice Grafton Architects (2008), Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre in South Africa, designed by Peter Rich Architects of Johannesburg (2009), MAXXI (National Museum of the 21st Century Arts) in Rome, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (2010), and the Media-TIC building in Barcelona, designed by Cloud 9 (2011).