Fast + Epp selected as deserved winners of inaugural WAN Engineering Award
Even after the dynamic discussion about choosing the shortlist, it was clear it wouldn't be easy to decide on the winner for the Engineering Awards. With the panel split on a couple of the projects the focus became a lot more critical, ensuring a very interesting debate amongst everyone.
The winning project, VanDusen Botanical Gardens Visitor Centre, Vancouver, Canada by Fast + Epp stood out even when the shortlist was coming together, the panel commenting that it was the ‘first building of this aesthetic that we have seen in the competition’. Architects on the project were Perkins + Will.
Even before projects started to be eliminated it was evident that each one in the shortlist had their unique elements which gave them a reason to win. In particular the UK Pavilion Shanghai Expo (AKT II) stood out, yet it was questioned that although it was ‘sold on architectural form, does it engineeringly do anything?’
Another project which was a favourite not only with the panel present, but also with the remote judges, was the Metropol Parasol (Arup Spanish Office). The project showed evidence of ‘architects and engineers working really closely together on something new and different’, which impressed everyone. Both projects stayed in the conversation until the end however it was picked up by everyone that they were temporary structures and therefore had a different set of criteria to work from.
Thus the engineering of the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens stood out even more with ‘use of some complex elements and some simple features which work overall’.
The ‘geometrically complex’ form set the project aside from the rest which presented a ‘form relating to the environmental performance’. What pushed this project to the top was the fact that it widened the boundaries of engineering through a differing angle.
As the panel commented, it was in the ‘process of moving towards more manufacturing...that would be starting with timber’. The panel concluded that ‘a cunning blend of technology’ within this project deserved without a doubt to become the winner of the award this year.
Video interview with our jury panel coming next week...