'Less is more', said Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, 'Yes is more', said Bjarke Ingels, 'More is more' said Niki May Young - because this month we have seen the highest number of entries to any of our awards so far. In our current Commercial category WAN has received over 160 entries, bringing the annual total for WAN AWARDS 2009 (so far, with Residential still to come) to over 510. Our increasingly impressive panel, comprising Patrik Schumacher, Will Alsop, Robert Adam and Rafael Vinoly to name a few, has proven irresistible! Even at this stage I can't help but get excited about who will be winning the overall project of the
year award, a prospect which is even more anticipated now that we can reveal that the announcement will be made at the WAN AWARDS 2009 Expo at New London Architecture during the London Architecture Festival. WAN is working with the annual festival, taking pride of place in the UK architectural headquarters to exhibit the finalists and category winners.
Looking through our projects on News Review this week, every one has the potential to be a future award entry but I am most excited by the stunning Yas Hotel which wowed at the brand new Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit this weekend. Abridging the track to create an unrivalled vista for elite spectators to watch the action, the building itself stands as a simply stunning landmark beside the waters of Abu Dhabi. Encased in a glistening, creatively illuminated Gehry Technologies' glass and steel canopy, Asymptote Architecture's hotel design presents itself as a jewel within the deliciously fresh and new circuit.
Providing the Yin to the Yas Hotel's Yang, news came in this week that archaeologists have uncovered a 6th century Saxon settlement under Oxford which includes a sunken featured craft hut known as a Grübenhauser. The news seemed inspiring to me, a potent reminder that what we build today will affect tomorrow. The site was apparently an important focus for
monument building with ring like structures found to represent memorials to important people of the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods.
Across the water in Washington D.C., plans for a modern day memorial are afoot to celebrate civil rights leader Martin Luther King. To be situated in the iconic National Mall, which is home to the Washington Monument, the memorial will feature, among landscaping and other points of interest, a 30 ft tall likeness of Dr. King. Both the discovery of the Saxon remains and the implementation of the plans in Washington D.C. highlight that the often dismissed memorials are actually architectural icons, representing the achievements of today and acting as a looking glass into history for future generations. Arguably, they are more important than any building we have to offer.
Editorial , London
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