The Chinese University of Hong Kong & Kunming University of Science and Technology’s Post-Earthquake Reconstruction Project in Guangming Village has been named the World Building of the Year for 2017 at the finale gala of the World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Berlin.
The project becomes the 10th to hold the title of World Building of the Year. Last year, the award was given to Robert Konieczny + KWK Promes' National Museum in Szczecin - Dialogue Centre Przełomy.
Due to the "high standard of category winners presented in the first two days of WAF", the super jury has also awarded a Director’s Special Award to Superlofts Houthaven in Amsterdam by Marc Koehler Architects.
Winners of the year's Future Project, Landscape, Small Project, Iran Special Prize and Best Use of Colour awards were also announced. Continue after the break to see the winners.
World Building of the Year:
The project was initiated in response to the catastrophic Ludian earthquake in 2014, which destroyed most of the traditional rammed-earth buildings in the village of Guangming. When replacement materials such as brick and concrete proved to be too costly for most of the village’s residents, the architect team developed a new technique of constructing rammed-earth homes that will be more resistant to future seismic activity.
A prototype house built for an elderly couple was completed last year, proving the method could provide a safe, economical, comfortable, and sustainable reconstruction strategy for the village and the wider region of Southwest China.
From the WAF:
The judges believed this to be an extraordinary project in terms of the scope of ambition, exemplified in the addressing of profound problems facing ordinary people. They applauded the re-use of traditional material and construction methods but with the addition of new technology - combining ancient wisdom with modern know-how.
The judges were also impressed by the iterative research process which could be re-applied to anywhere in the world affected by seismic problems and low levels of wealth. “The architects succeeded in translating ‘four walls and a roof’ into something which, through architectural commitment, becomes a project that is much more profound,” WAF Programme Director Paul Finch commented. “This building is a demonstration that architecture is just as relevant in the poorest of communities as it is in the richest.”
Director's Special Award:
Superlofts Houthaven; Amsterdam, Netherlands / Marc Koehler Architects
A new co-housing concept that aims to create a global network of local building co-operatives, judges said the concept is “a game changer - a replicable and transferable model which could extend in terms of scale.”
Future Project of the Year:
Sydney Fish Markets; Sydney, Australia / Allen Jack + Cottier Architects
WAF’s Future Project super jury selected the project for “the great transformation it offers to the area” commending it for its vision beyond the brief.” Its success stems from the engagement and collaboration with politicians, developers and land owners.” The Sydney Fish Market won as the project transforms a world bigger then itself. The architects executed their role in an exemplary and inspiring fashion.
Small Project of the Year:
“A genuine good news story, whereby a community engagement process led to an authentic and high quality result.” The project involved the relocation of NGO Streetlight’s office, orphanage and study centre in the wake of super-typhoon Haiyan.
Landscape of the Year:
The Recovered Archaeological Landscape of Chengtoushan; Lixian County, China / Turenscape
The judges felt that this project reflected a hopeful and creative mixture of archaeological history, rice production and tourism. The landscape project is based around a live 6,500 year-old archaeological site which has been protected by the local government of this rural province. The judges were impressed with the “productive engagement between visitors and farmers who are able to maintain their traditional livelihoods”.
Iran Special Prize for Completed Buildings:
The project topped a shortlist of eight Iranian projects. Completed in 2016, the hospital was praised by judges as “a design that understands and confidently solves the puzzle of a large hospital and reaches a resolution of public spaces, links and views that makes a delightfully coloured and light place of repair and recovery.”
Best Use of Colour:
Fitzroy Crossing Renal Hostel, Australia / Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects
The judges found the use of colour to be “sensitive, elegant and well balanced.” The building provides a long term accommodation facility for Aboriginal people from outlaying communities receiving renal dialysis. The aim of the centre is to humanely support the needs of the residents, who may be self sufficient and independent, or may have a carer living with them. The architecture facilitates a safe environment to wander and gather with occupants, family, friends and the community. Light is filtered through the coloured screens that run along the side of the structure. Judges praised the practice for “a design that uses holistically integrated colour relative to the landscape and the local community. As the project’s main function is healing, the use of colour creates an emotional context that is deeply supportive and nurturing.”
News and project descriptions via WAF.