Text: Meghna Mehta
The World Architecture Festival Awards saw a wide variety of projects being finalized, selected, judged and then awarded in Amsterdam this year. Some of the most remarkable works from around the world took centre stage and were recognized for talent, sensitivity and sheer innovation.
WINNING PROJECTS – The Macro Scale
The award for the World Building of the Year 2018, supported by GROHE was won by WOHA Architects for their project Kampung Admiralty, Singapore. The firm also won the ‘Mixed Use – Completed Buildings’ award for the same project. The judges were impressed with the way the mixed uses were cleverly layered in a “new and innovative way” and lauded the project for dealing with multiple social and societal issues, including aging populations, wellness and healthcare.
The design of the integrated complex maximises land use and builds upon a layered ‘club sandwich’ approach, with a range of commercial, residential and therapeutic spaces amid amenities and community services, topped by extensive green terraces. Paul Finch, Programme Director of WAF commented, “This hybrid building also incorporates a huge amount of greenery (more than 100% of its footprint) in a series of layered levels which have generated welcome biodiversity.”
The award for the Future Project of the Year 2018, supported by ABB & Busch-Jaeger, which celebrates the best of the world’s unbuilt architecture, was given to Medellin River Parks / Botanical Park Masterplan, in Colombia, designed by Sebastian Monsalve + Juan David Hoyos. Combining a strategic, long term masterplan with a forensic attention to experiential quality, the project aims to reconceptualise and regenerate Medellin’s extensive river corridor. The judges mentioned, “by literally building bridges to connect disparate communities, it epitomises how architectural imagination can have an activist dimension, catalysing the social potential of the city.”
Landscape of the Year 2018 was awarded to Batlle i Roig Arquitectura for their ‘Pedestrian Path’ along the ‘Gypsum Mines’ project in Barcelona, Spain. The project aims at creating a set of pedestrian and bicycle itineraries in the form of a green belt on the perimeter of the city. The jury also commended it for its innovative use of materials.
The Glass Future Prize, supported by Guardian Glass, was won by Studio Gang for Tour Montparnasse in Paris, France. Originally developed for the international competition to redesign the French capital’s famous Tour Montparnasse tower, Studio Gang’s design transforms this monolithic skyscraper into a beautiful new landmark.
WINNING PROJECTS – The Micro Scale
The Small Project of the Year 2018 was awarded to Camilo Moraes for Piedras Bayas Beachcamp in the Atacama Desert, Chile. The sustainable and itinerant tourism station is located in the untouched landscape of northern Chile. Judges commended the architects, “an interesting project that made the most by using local techniques and materials and creates a world that is conducive to the environment, whilst also forming a strong architectural definition.”
Yumin Art Nouveau Collection, a permanent glass exhibition in Phoenix Jeju in the South Korean peninsula, was named as the INSIDE World Interior of the Year for 2018. The founder of the Danish practice JAC Studios who conceived the project mentioned, “The architecture of the building designed by Tadao Ando plays a magnificent setting for the exhibition. The new museum is respectful but also challenges the context of the architecture.”
The Amsterdam Prize 2018 WINNER was conferred on Benthem Crouwel Architects, for designing the Metro stations on the North South Line in Amsterdam – two stations above ground and five stations underground, each being unique – the architecture is determined by the different locations and by the space allowed by the Amsterdam city plan.
WINNING PROJECTS – The Diversified
The Use of Colour Prize, supported by Eastman, was awarded to dePaor for their Palais Cinema project in Galway Ireland. The cinema’s interior is illuminated during the day by elegant painted glass windows, and at night the artworks bring lamination and colour to the street. Judges lauded the project as a “beautiful building [which] reveals itself like a magic lantern”, adding that, “colour is completely integrated and critical to the conceptual design and experience of the building.”
The Best Use of Certified Timber Prize, supported by PEFC, was awarded to Tzannes for their International House Sydney project in Australia. The winner’s innovative development of certified timber as a durable, sustainable and commercially viable material was deemed by the festival’s judges as ‘exemplary’.
WAFX Award 2018 supported by GreenCoat, awarded to future projects that identify key ecological and societal challenges, which architects are actively seeking to address over the next ten years was won by Studio Gang, for its Beloit College Powerhouse Project in Wisconsin, USA.
The inaugural Water Research Prize, supported by GROHE, was awarded to an innovative, community led water management system, designed by a team of students from Pontificia Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) and as a result of a wider research programme, Ciudades Auto-Sostenibles Amazónicas (CASA), coordinated by PUCP and UCL’s Development Planning Unit. The design captures, stores, and treats rainwater and inserts it into preexisting water networks.
Architectural Photograph of the Year was won by Pawel Paniczko for his image of the Long Museum West Bund Shanghai, China by Atelier Deshaus. He also won the Portfolio category with his captures of the Harbin Opera House, Harbin, China by MAD Architects.
In this whirlwind of extraordinary architecture and design excellence, the WAF concluded by recognizing the works of practitioners from across the world, acknowledging not only creativity but also an intrinsic measure of innovation.