The 2014 World Architecture Festival (WAF) has culminated with A21 studio’s The Chapel being named the Building of the Year. Each winner of the categories from day 1 and day 2 had the opportunity to present their projects in front of WAF’s ‘super-jury’, comprised of Richard Rogers, Rocco Yim, Julie Eizenberg, Enric Ruiz Geli and Peter Rich. Following all of the presentations, the jury selected the Building of the Year. The winners of the Small Project of the Year, Landscape of the Year and Future Project of the Year were also announced today, in addition to two new prizes: The Colour Prize (sponsored by AkzoNobel) and the Wood Excellence Prize (sponsored by American Hardwood Export Council).
Read on after the break for more information on the winning projects…
BUILDING OF THE YEAR: The Chapel / A21 studio (Hochiminh, Vietnam)
The Chapel is a community space in a new urban ward on the outskirt of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. As a result of estate crisis, the surrounding area is lacking communal centers; therefore, the Chapel is designed to be the place for people to participate in activities such as conferences, weddings and exhibitions. The Chapel takes advantage of materials from the owner’s previous projects such as steel frames and metal sheets.
Commending the winning project on behalf of the festival’s super-jury, Paul Finch, WAF Programme Director, said “The judges felt this was a project that embraced history and modernity, and created a dialogue in the process. It has created maximum effect with minimum materials and has produced an unexpected change of pace in its urban context. The opportunity has been taken to recycle and rethink materials and site, and a series of design issues have been addressed which have produced a small project that makes a big statement. Colour and light have been deployed to put people at ease and the architect has found poetry in the mundane.”
SMALL PROJECT OF THE YEAR: THE PINCH / Tianxing Town Government China Department of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong
The Pinch is part of a government led reconstruction effort after an earthquake in September 2012 destroyed the majority of the village houses in Shuanghe village, Yunnan Province, China. Located in the new public plaza, it would serve to activate the community and provide a physical memorial for the earthquake. The design spans across different levels, and acts as a bridge between the rebuilt village and the new plaza.
The jury commended the project, saying “an elegant project that demonstrated research into a material, a building system, making an urban place that has answered a vital need for enclosure, congregation and culture in an earthquake-stricken zone.”
WORLD LANDSCAPE OF THE YEAR: National Arboretum Canberra / Taylor Cullity Lethlean and Tonkin Zulaikha Greer (Canberra, Australia)
The National Arboretum Canberra redefines the meaning of a public garden in the 21st Century. It comprises 100 forests of endangered tree species from around the world on a 250 hectare former fire ravaged site. Growing out of the very real issues of sustainability, biodiversity and public environmental concern, the National Arboretum is a strategy, a program and an ongoing event, not a design chiefly based on aesthetics.
The project was selected by a jury of some of the world's most dynamic architects and designers. It overcame competition from a shortlist of 11 entries. The jury commended the project, saying “Out of the ashes, the grid form nature of the arboretum provides a contrast of the radial garden city nature of Canberra. What separates arboretum from the wetland garden is its uniqueness, its presentation of global landscape heritage and the legacy left for future generations.”
FUTURE PROJECT OF THE YEAR: Art Gallery of Greater Victoria / 5468796 Architecture + number TEN architectural group (Victoria, Canada)
The design team was shortlisted for a competition to envision the future renovation and expansion of the gallery. The competition brief asked that the proposal bring a ‘downtown’ presence to the museum’s suburban location and more vibrancy on the street, all without overwhelming the site or removing the existing trees.
Commending the winning project on behalf of the festival’s super-jury, Paul Finch, WAF Programme Director, said “The jury was unanimous that that the Art Gallery of Victoria is a project that embodies the future – both in terms of creating an intimate yet radical response to its suburban Victorian setting as well as being a beacon of what is to come from its authors.”
WOOD EXCELLENCE PRIZE: Alex Monroe Studio / DSDHA
In 2009 DSDHA were asked to develop a new jewellery studio for designer Alex Monroe in Snowsfields, within the Bermondsey Conservation Area in London, to provide a showcase for Alex’s growing business which was previously based in Iliffe Yard, alongside DSDHA’s architectural studio. The proposal adds a hand-crafted three storey element to the existing Edwardian single-storey shopfront, providing sales, workshop, studio, meeting and dining spaces as well as a roof terrace with views towards London Bridge.
The festival’s jury commended the project, saying “Urban densification is a future necessity. Wood is the answer to problems it brings, thanks to construction speed and prefab efficiency. Architecturally the project fits within its urban surrounding, and becomes a piece of ‘urban furniture’.”
Sponsored by AkzoNobel, who are also Headline Partner of the festival, the prize is the first of its kind to feature on the festival’s awards programme, the only criterion is that colour is an integral part of the exterior of the project.
The project comprises a 200 meter long pair of buildings snaking west to east in a series of brightly coloured streaks that cheer up the often grey skies of Vienna’s Prater district. The building is designed around Cook and Robotham’s strongly held belief (based on many years as University teachers) that a lively and successful college building should have generous and engaging internal spaces that are not just seminar rooms or offices, but places to ‘hang out’ and possibly encourage you to stay around after class: so these are carved out of the interior and slither around in a similar way to the building as a whole.
The judges praised the project, stating that it “demonstrates how learning institutions should be fun and inspiring. This project used colour with energy and total conviction throughout.”