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A total of 22 categories are represented throughout the year and every two months areas as diverse as Adaptive Reuse, Transport, Performing Spaces and Waterfront Architecture are judged by our extensive panel of top international experts.
The judging panels themselves create a passionate and thought-provoking debate and for a project to make it through this rigorous process and come out on top is a true test of its creative quality and credibility. You only have to look at the testimonials page to read some of the thoughts of previous winners and shortlisted entrants to see how much it means to them and practices here.
WAN Education Award 2016 Winner
JJW Architects triumphs with South Harbour School project to claim title
We are thrilled to announce JJW Architects as the winner of the WAN Education Award 2016 for their highly articulated project, South Harbour School – Congratulations!
The winner was selected from a shortlist of six high calibre projects that showcased a remarkable and diverse range of the best in international educational design. We were honoured to have a fantastic line up of judges for this award, who had the responsibility of picking a winner. The panel included: Simon Allford Director at Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Sarah Ball Principal at Woods Bagot, Maria Nesdale Education & Culture Practice Area Leader, Senior Associate at Gensler, Keith Papa Architect Director at Building Design Partnership (BDP) and Keith Lilley Director of Estates & Facilities Management at Sheffield University.
Located in Copenhagen, Denmark where the population is currently growing at a fast pace of over 1,000 new citizens a month, the city needed to look at increasing its school facilities. South Harbour School is a new public school with a maritime and public profile, inviting in its neighbours and reaching out to its city, becoming an active and socially sustainable part of its new community. In due time the public will also gain access to classrooms dedicated to specific subjects such as music and cooking classes. Simon expressed his views, saying, “By far the best of the highly articulated schemes, this project engages the landscape and the building in making a new place, in a new piece of city.”
JJW Architects designed South Harbour with the understanding that schools are equally places for the learning process and also for social exchange. Surprises and new experiences are central concepts for the school. On each floor, plans change and the heights of the rooms vary throughout. These scale changes are central to the project where high ceiling open rooms are combined with more intimate, low-ceiling spaces. The school also features a variety of horizontal and vertical connections and spaces. The idea behind this design is to ensure students, teachers and visitors are surprised, challenged and stimulated as they move around indoors and outdoors. The dualities of activity/rest, light/dark, warm/chilly are all part of the concept. South Harbour School provides different spaces and environments to support the children’s learning processes and social abilities. The jury members were unanimously impressed by the use of space. Sarah remarked, “When you look at it, absolutely every single space is being used. I also love how this sits, it’s completely contextual and it has its own identity.” Keith P followed on to say, “I think that the kids would definitely love it, no doubt about it. It’s been done with a really rigorous and intelligent plan that is not in any way wilful, which is incredible. It’s a really clever and wonderful piece of architecture.”
The school also uses a number of technical solutions to aid in creating a good indoor and acoustically controlled environment, keeping the energy consumption at a minimum level. Various studies show that good use of acoustics have a positive impact on the student learning process and wellbeing, therefore acoustics have been one of the major focus areas throughout the project.
Final comments on this project came from Maria who simply said, “This is just so Danish and clever, it’s playful, it’s happy and it looks like a happy space to be. Which I think we can all agree on, schools are meant to be our happiest days after all!”
Congratulations to JJW Architects, South Harbour School a truly worthy winner.
WAN Sport in Architecture 2016 Winner
Project team of Snow Kreilich Architects, Ryan A+E and AECOM claim title with the stunning CHS Field Project.
The project was selected from a shortlist of seven superb projects from around the world that showcased the very best in sports design. We were honoured to have a prestigious jury panel who had the responsibility of selecting a winner. The panel included: Paul Brislin, Director and Architect at Arup, Rasti Bartek, Associate Director at Buro Happold and Michael Taylor, Senior Partner at Hopkins Architects.
The CHS Field Ballpark is conceived first as a park and a public space, and then as a sports venue. Working with the City of Saint Paul and the St. Paul Saints, the design team slipped a 7,000 seat ballpark into a remnant site between an interstate highway, an elevated bridge, a light rail operations facility and the historic Lowertown District. The judges were all impressed with the way in which the project blended with its surroundings, with Paul commenting: “I think in particular its contextual relationship with the city, its curved form, the echoing of the city behind is just beautiful.”
The architecture is low and compact, with the ballpark structures surrounding the seating bowl and playing field. A light suite level structure floats above the grounded seating bowl and masonry concourse amenity buildings. The main entrance frames the termination of Fifth Street, creating an important connection with the city core. Large open volumes at the concourse and the suite level combined with the elevate suite level create a space that is porous to its surroundings and a park that is visible from adjacent spaces. The material palette is restrained, using wood on the underside of the canopy and suite level, combined with dark steel and masonry. The design’s restraint becomes a foil and a framework for the energetic promotions and events for which the ballclub is so well known.
The Judge’s decision to name CHS Field as the winning project was a unanimous one, with Rasti saying: “I love the simplicity of this project, it’s elegant and modern, it’s incredibly simple, that’s what I love about it and the atmosphere must be very very nice.” Michael also had nothing but positive words for the stadium adding: “The more you look at this project the more you realise the understated simplicity of it, with that backdrop is just brilliant, it’s brilliant for the field of play, it’s brilliant for the concourse and it’s brilliant to the City, it ticks all the boxes.”
The ballpark operates as a public space; it offers social engagement opportunities as well as a civic and district identity. The design maximizes the social opportunity of the site. It is accessible physically with a level concourse surrounding the field and seating bowl, and economically with its low ticket prices. Captured spaces off the concourse offer social engagement opportunities as fans walk around the park while enjoying the game. Once the jury had come to the decision, Paul poignantly added that CHS Field feels like a stadium for people.
Congratulations to the project team of Snow Kreilich Architects, Ryan A+E and AECOM, CHS Field is a truly worthy winner.
WAN Performing Spaces Award 2016 Winner
MAD Architects awarded as the winner for their Harbin Opera House
The winner was selected from six inspiring shortlisted projects, each project celebrates and promotes the best in international architecture for performing arts venues. But for our judges, there was one clear winner. On this year’s panel: Gerardo Broissin, founder of Broissin Architects, Chris Cotton, Chief Executive of the Royal Albert Hall, Albert Giralt, Architect for Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Gavin Green, co-founder of Charcoalblue, Raj Patel, Principal at Arup and David Staples, consultant at Theatre Projects.
The Harbin Opera House is the focal point of the Cultural Island in the city of Harbin, featuring two performance venues, a grand theatre that can host over 1,600 patrons and a smaller theatre to accommodate an intimate audience of 400.
The opera house emphasises public interaction and participation with the building, ticketholders and the general public alike can explore the façade’s carved paths and ascend the building. At the peak, visitors discover an open, exterior performance space that serves as an observation platform for visitors to survey the panoramic views of Harbin’s metropolitan skyline and the surrounding wetlands below. Upon descent, visitors return to the expansive public plaza, and are invited to explore the grand lobby space. Chris engaged with the venue’s public interaction, stating: “I love the idea that you can explore the outside, you can actually go on the roof, it’s interesting and it certainly fulfils originality, innovation, form, function and context.”
The main theatre is an inviting element at the heart of the building, insulated within a “snowy” envelope. Clad in a warm wood veneer, the theatre’s mass emulates a singular wooden block gently eroded away by natural forces to reveal layers of rich history. The wooden form features a procession of winding stairways and viewing openings. Within the theatre, the ripples from the main stage, smoothly folds into the walls, while intimate balconies embrace the centre floor seating. The grand theatre is designed acoustically to cater to both Western and Chinese operas.
The architectural procession choreographs a conceptual narrative, transforming visitors into performers. Upon entering the grand lobby, visitors will see large transparent glass walls spanning the grand lobby, visually connecting the curvilinear interior with the swooping façade and exterior plaza.
The venue’s shape has been designed so that it blends into Harbin’s landscape. The height of the entrances have been kept low, while the building stretches the horizontal expanse so it continues into the surrounding landscape. This effect is especially marked during Harbin’s long and cold winter, when the pillowed white aluminium cladding will make the building look like a snowdrift. Albert commented: “From a distance it looks like a mountain which looks appealing.” Gavin agreed, adding: “The external form, the interiors and public spaces look extraordinary, you can see there is a very strong narrative, a highly functional building.”