Each year the architectural world waits on baited breath for the largest architectural awards in the world to announce the year’s shortlisted projects. The World Architectural Festival consists of an awards programme, conference and exhibition across the many different architectural sectors from civic and community to residential builds the world over. To be held in Berlin, Germany from 16-18 November, the World Architecture Festival received a record number of award entries for the annual event ensuring that choosing this year’s shortlist wasn’t going to be an easy task.
The 2015 World Architecture Awards were held in Singapore and the relocation of the awards to Europe has seen a significant uplift in entries from the continent with the biggest rise in year on year entries coming from the UK and Germany. The truly international shortlist includes architects from 42 nations with projects based across 58 countries and it is UK-based architects which have come out tops this year with the highest number of projects in the shortlist closely followed by Turkey and Australia. All types of buildings are represented in the large shortlist spanning shops & community projects to large commercial developments and landscape projects by many top international practices including Zaha Hadid Architects and Foster + Partners. The industry’s big names are also joined by many small practices not necessarily know outside of their own countries, giving them the opportunity to gain well-earned recognition on an international platform.
There are many exceptional highlights on this year’s shortlist as there has been for every year of the awards and all will battle it out in the live judging sessions in Berlin. Paul Finch, programme director of the festival had this to say on the 2016 entries:
‘This is a very exciting year for us, with a record entry and a very high overall standard. Our move to Berlin, after four successful years in Singapore, has not deterred Asian and Australasian practices from entering the awards, and we have seen big increases from Europe and North America. We look forward to meeting the shortlisted architects in Berlin in November.’
Key highlights of this year’s shortlist include the Bhutan Happiness Centre by 1+1>2 Architects, which is up for the Civic and Community: Completed Buildings Award. A celebration of the country which became the first in the world to measure prosperity in citizens’ happiness levels rather than GDP, it is a place for anyone to visit and share their experiences and philosophies on happiness through meditation and learning how to be happy. Another key design is Zaha Hadid Architects’ project embedded within the summit of Mount Kronplatz 2,275 above sea level at the centre of South Tyrol’s most popular ski resort and holds the Messner Mountain Museum – a celebration of mountaineering.
Jungle House, São Paulo by Studio mk27 is one of the stand-out residential buildings in the House: Completed Buildings category and is located on the Paulista Shore of Brazil. Set amongst dense rainforest with views out to the ocean, it is sure to be one of the most memorable projects at this year’s awards. One of the UK’s top projects is Y:Cube in Mitcham, London by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners which tackled the hot topic of affordable housing options for young people. Addressing a historic failure to build enough homes, the Y:Cubes provide self-contained starter accommodation for young people struggling to gain that first step on the housing ladder or pay the high cost of private rent. Each modular studio unit arrives on site with all services fully incorporated ready to be easily attached to existing facilities or to other Y:Cubes already on site. This particular project fits perfectly with this year’s WAF conference programme surrounding the theme ‘Housing for Everyone’ which will debate the growing understanding of how demographics and global urbanisation are forcing change in the way we think about housing.
The winners of the 2016 World Architecture Festival will be announced during the festival itself at Arena Berlin, Germany between 16-18 November which will welcome over 2000 of the world’s leading architects and designers. Find out more about the festival and its awards, programmes and exhibition on the WAF website.
Top image: World Maritime University, Tornhuset, Malmö, Sweden, by
Terroir & Kim Utzon Architecture – Image courtesy of WAF