World Architecture Festival 2018: Who Took the Big Prizes?

The 11th annual World Architecture Festival took place in Amsterdam from November 28 to November 30, 2018. Among the winners, Studio Gang took home two overall wins, and WOHA scooped the coveted World Building of the Year Award. The World Architecture Festival is the largest event of its kind in the world, unique in that it’s the only event where all shortlisters in each category present their projects live, to an audience of peers.

WAF Winners 2018

Over 35 awards and prizes were awarded in 2018, including a new prize— the World Architecture Festival Research Water Programme Prize, awarded for the best initiative in issues relating to water in the built environment. Along with the more than 30 category winners, there are also the overall winners who take home the highest honours, including the best building of the year, the best completed landscape, and the best future project.

World Building of the Year, supported by GROHE: WOHA Architects – Kampung Admiralty, Singapore

The winner of the World Architecture Festivals most prestigious award, the World Building of the Year, is a large mixed-use development in Singapore, designed by WOHA Architects, also based in Singapore. The Kampung Admiralty provides a wide range of residential and commercial spaces, along with public facilities and services. The multi-level terraced roofs are adorned with extensive green spaces, incorporating more than 100% of the footprint of the building in new plantings. The project gained particular praise from the judging panel for its focus on delivering public benefits, including services for an ageing population, as well housing and other essential amenities.

World Architecture Festival World Building of the Year, supported by GROHE: WOHA Architects – Kampung Admiralty, Singapore
World Architecture Festival World Building of the Year, supported by GROHE: WOHA Architects – Kampung Admiralty, Singapore

Future Project of the Year, supported by ABB and Busch-Jaegar: Sebastian Monsalve and Juan Davi Hoyos – Medellin River Parks/Botannical Park Master Plan, Medellin, Colombia

The city of Medellin in Colombia is bisected by a river that effectively divides the city, exacerbated by the network of large national road routes that create further divisions, environmentally and socially as well as physically. The proposed solution is truly inspired—a project that would bury sections of road adjacent to the river to create new parks, restore river access to city residents, promote and preserve the river ecosystem, and create some unity between the two halves of the city.

The judging panel called it a

“beautifully designed and practical proposal with a breathtaking vision that will transform the city”

While in some categories it’s difficult to choose between several outstanding entries in a single category, in this case the Medellin River Parks project was the clear winner in the Future Project category.

Future Project of the Year, supported by ABB and Busch-Jaegar: Sebastian Monsalve and Juan Davi Hoyos – Medellin River Parks/Botannical Park Master Plan, Medellin, Colombia
Future Project of the Year, supported by ABB and Busch-Jaegar: Sebastian Monsalve and Juan Davi Hoyos – Medellin River Parks/Botannical Park Master Plan, Medellin, Colombia

Small Project of the Year: Camilo Moraes – Piedras Bayas Beachcamp, Atacama Desert, Chile

Conceived as a sustainable tourism station, the Piedras Bayas Beachcamp is located in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, a pristine landscape in the desert’s coastal region. The camp consists of three geometric domes situated around 50 meters apart, and a central services building, along a stretch of beach. By creating a design with several small buildings rather than one large one, the project provides a useful service without dominating or significantly changing the local landscape.

Use of Colour Prize, supported by Eastman: dePaor – Palas Cinema, Galway, Ireland

The Palas Cinema in Galway, Ireland is a 7-storey building which comprises a 3-screen cinema, with a restaurant and bar on the ground floor. By day, the building is impressive enough, but the exterior comes alive at night, as the painted glass windows glow with warm shades of red, orange, and yellow. Inside, there’s a gorgeous interplay of colour and light, created by the painted windows and interior decor. The judges’ comments were effusive, praising the

“beautiful building which reveals itself like a lantern”, and further noting that “colour is completely integrated and critical to the conceptual design and experience of the building.”

World Architecture Festival Use of Colour Prize, supported by Eastman: dePaor – Palas Cinema, Galway, Ireland
World Architecture Festival Use of Colour Prize, supported by Eastman: dePaor – Palas Cinema, Galway, Ireland

The Amsterdam Prize: Benthem Crouwel Architects – North-South Metro Line, Amsterdam, Netherlands

This new prize category was created to acknowledge building projects in the World Architecture Festival’s host city. In 2018, the project chosen for this honour was the extensive North-South Metro Line project, a subway system 22 years in the making, which includes a total of 7 stations. Structurally strong, and with easily-navigated spaces that are airy and open, giving a sense of underground streets that feel like an extension of the city above. The 7 stations are each distinct in appearance, but share enough similarities of design and material use that the overall effect is one of harmony and cohesion.

Glass Future Prize, supported by Guardian Glass: Studio Gang – Tour Montparnasse, Paris, France

Studio Gang’s winning design was completed for L’Ensemble Immobilier’s international competition to redesign Tour Montparnasse. The new design is a towering glass facade, wind-driven with a dynamic shading system, flanked by cascading garden terraces, and featuring a transparent lobby that helps to bring the outdoors inside. The interior is redesigned with 50 floors of work and office space, restaurants, a hotel, cafes, indoor gardens, and retail space, and also serves as a transit hub for various modes of public transport.

World Architecture Festival Glass Future Prize, supported by Guardian Glass: Studio Gang – Tour Montparnasse, Paris, France
World Architecture Festival Glass Future Prize, supported by Guardian Glass: Studio Gang – Tour Montparnasse, Paris, France

Landscape of the Year: Battile i Roig Arcquitectura – Gypsum Mines pedestrian path, Barcelona, Spain

This project was developed to enhance the Igualada Green Ring, a network of pedestrian and cycle paths that are being extended to form a green belt around the city of Barcelona. The long-term project will create a series of parks and semi-urban spaces by transforming existing spaces that are underused or currently unusable. As part of this project, the Cami de les Guixeres—a former mine track—was redeveloped into an 800-metre stretch of scenic walking path that will eventually be extended to 1.65 kilometres. The project includes a number of green components, including luminescent concrete that stores solar energy during the day, which is released at night to light the path.

Use of Certified Timber Prize, supported by the Programme for Endorsement for Forest Certification (PEFC): Tzanne – International House Sydney, Sydney, Australia

International House is constructed entirely from engineered timber, and at 7 storeys, is the world’s tallest all-timber commercial building. This level of timber use means a low carbon outcome, and with most timber prefabricated, building waste was reduced by 25%, too. The clear glass facade makes the building eye-catching from the outside, and the warm timber interior looks just as good inside. It’s equipped with rooftop-photovoltaic panels, and the building also uses modern heat-exchange technology, together with the adjacent harbour, to maintain a comfortable temperature.

WAFX Award, supported by Greencoat©: Studio Gang – Beloit College Powerhouse, Wisconsin, USA

The Beloit Collage Powerhouse project transforms a former power plant into a recreation and student union facility. This “old model of energy” will be replaced with a new model that supports the health and welfare of Beloit College Students, and of the local environment. Located between the college campus and the Rock River, the completed project will not only repurpose a former industrial space, but will also enhance the riverfront and the community’s connection to it.

WAFX Award, supported by Greencoat©: Studio Gang – Beloit College Powerhouse, Wisconsin, USA
WAFX Award, supported by Greencoat©: Studio Gang – Beloit College Powerhouse, Wisconsin, USA

World Architecture Festival Research Programme Water Prize, supported by GROHE: PUCP and UCL’s Development Planning Unit – Ciudades Auto-Sostenibles Amazonicas (CASA)

The first recipients of this new prize category are a team of students from Peru’s Pontifica Catholic University of Peru. The project is a community-led water management system, designed to overcome challenges that are specific to water and sewage systems in the Peruvian Amazon, where just 31% of the population as access to potable water. The system comprises a series of tubes that capture, treat, and store rainwater, and is designed to take up less space than a conventional water treatment system. The simple but effective design can easily be integrated into an existing building, and can also be expanded to accommodate a growing community.

INSIDE World Interior of the Year, supported by Miele: JAC Studios – Yumin Art Nouveau Collection, Phoenix Jeju, South Korea

The Yumin Art Nouveau Collection is a permanent exhibition of glass objects located at the Genius Loci building on Phoenix Island in a South Korean coastal town called Seopjikoji. The building, which is by designer Tadao Ando, is simple, with clean lines and dark, exposed concrete. It serves as a moody but elegant backdrop for Art Nouveau glass objects that are light, bright, and delicate. For the judging panel, this entry was notable for its “crafted sensitivity to both the building and the Galle glass to which the museum is dedicated.”

INSIDE World Interior of the Year, supported by Miele: JAC Studios – Yumin Art Nouveau Collection, Phoenix Jeju, South Korea
INSIDE World Interior of the Year, supported by Miele: JAC Studios – Yumin Art Nouveau Collection, Phoenix Jeju, South Korea