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WAN Civic Buildings Award Shortlist/Winner

Monday 15 Sep 2014

Trio of winners for Civic Buildings Award

WAN Civic Buildings Award Shortlist/Winner by WAN AWARDS
WAN Civic Buildings Award Shortlist/Winner by WAN AWARDS WAN Civic Buildings Award Shortlist/Winner by WAN AWARDS WAN Civic Buildings Award Shortlist/Winner by WAN AWARDS WAN Civic Buildings Award Shortlist/Winner by WAN AWARDS WAN Civic Buildings Award Shortlist/Winner by WAN AWARDS WAN Civic Buildings Award Shortlist/Winner by WAN AWARDS
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16/10/14 Rach, Mumbai
I am still shocked by the fact that a jury member is even allowed to submit their / their firm’s project in such an international competition. While I enjoyed going through the submitted entries, the programs, architectural response, over-all diversity and much more, the winning entry of Depend Geology Museum, submitted by a firm co-founded by the jury member, detains my faith in the fairness of these awards.
Verbose terms such as “selecting the best project is always paramount in the judges’ minds”, “negates any potential unfairness” and “transparent process” do not give any concrete information as to how such a rule was not already taken care of in their “robust process” as to not let jury members submit their works. I am sorry to say that riding on other established awards and programs such as mainstream RIBA, AIA, UIA or Pritzker Prize to qualify the efficiency of process only shows lack of confidence and amateur process. It really is a sad final selection, and a rather unacceptable explanation.
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23/09/14 Sabine, Paris
What an ill-informed if not odd position from the jury about studioMilou’s Carreau du temple : “its failure to specify a single function left the judges feeling that, like so many ‘multifunctional’ buildings, it would remain predominantly functionless and vacant, cutting it short of the final shortlist” ?
The notion that some singular function is supposed to be a key factor for good architecture may work well within the English architectural sphere but does not apply to the wider and historical European context. Is WAN not meant to represent international viewpoints?
It is a tradition in France to reuse significant historical buildings, adapting while conserving them without any sole restrictive function. The openness and architectural beauty of the space are, in fact, key to both their popular success and sustainability.
Similar historical venues in Paris (Halle de la Villette, Grand Palais, Petit Palais, Palais de Tokyo) have been hugely successful, booked years in advance, as Le Carreau already is, for multiple functions.
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17/09/14 Michael Hammond, London
In response to the comment below; We can’t comment on individual outcomes but from the many sessions I have chaired, selecting the best project is always paramount in the judges’ minds, they are after all staking their professional reputations on the result.

Conflicts of interest are an inevitable part of any awards programme but it is the process that manages and negates any potential unfairness that determines the integrity of any outcome. The WAN AWARDS have, over the last six years, developed a robust process.

The fact that the projects are international, juries are so diverse, professionally and geographically (generally not even knowing all their fellow jurors) and that developers and students are often in the room, the sessions are all recorded, all come together to deliver a consistently transparent process.

As would be expected from jury panels of this quality, many of our judges sit on other panels including mainstream RIBA, AIA, UIA, we even have a current Pritzker Prize judge. The most common feedback we get from our panels is that our process is well run, professional, and efficient.

Michael Hammond
Editor in Chief at WAN
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17/09/14 Tran Tuan, Los Angeles
Even though Ms. Cara Lee, as co-founder of lee munwiler and as juror, recused herself from the judging of her own project, the Depend Geology Museum, one can't help but raise eyebrows about the impartiality of this award. The judging panel must have some inkling that the project being discussed belongs to a fellow juror.
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2014 WAN Civic Buildings Award shortlist and winners revealed at Amsterdam event 

Last week, the WAN AWARDS hosted an event at the Jo Coenen & Co. Architekten designed Public Library (OBA) in Amsterdam to celebrate six diverse completed and future schemes that had been shortlisted for the 2014 WAN Civic Buildings Award. Each of these handpicked projects had been selected for its architect’s understanding of what it means to be truly ‘civic’, through a rigorous process taking into account scale, context, and justification of form.

Judging the popular category this year was: Stephen Quinlan, Director of Denton Corker Marshall; Cara Lee, Co-Founder of lee + mundwiler architects; and Paul Sandilands, Director of Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands; with Suman Sorg from Sorg and Associates and AECOM’s Peter Zelner judging remotely. 

After hours of deliberation, the judges were in almost unanimous agreement with the shortlist - a selection of architectural works at varying scales, and coherent, appropriate responses to their function and context.

The three shortlisted completed buildings are: King’s Cross Station in London by John McAslan + Partners; Dapeng Geology Museum in Shenzhen by lee + mundwiler; and Aarau’s New Bus Terminal by Vehovar & Jauslin Architects. The shortlisted future schemes are The Central Mosque Prishtina in Kosovo by MADe; Glass Butterfly in Holbaek by Form4 Architecture; and The National Music Centre in Calgary by Allied Works Architecture.

The ‘complex but finely formed’ National Music Centre in Canada straddles two roads linked by a pedestrian bridge. Its street presence captured the interest of Sandilands whilst Lee felt that it successfully ‘materialised the immaterial’ concept of music. The development includes the restoration of the historic King Edward Hotel. This idea of preservation seemed to resonate positively with the panel, who saw the importance of a ‘sympathetic relationship’ between the existing and new to ‘enforce each other’s strengths’ (Lee).

For that reason, even though Le Carreau du Temple was very popular amongst the panel and Suman Sorg appreciated the ‘very sensitive yet modern intrusions’, its failure to specify a single function left the judges feeling that, like so many ‘multifunctional’ buildings, it would remain predominantly functionless and vacant, cutting it short of the final shortlist.

However King’s Cross was a prime example of how the old and new can be bridged to create what Quinlan described as ‘impressive internal spaces’. He was the first to note the architectural feat, ‘the monumental task’ and the accomplishment it was to make Kings Cross station by John McAslan + Partners a significantly improved yet functional station that also brought the existing building to life. 

As the Co-Founder of lee + mundwiler architects, Lee stepped out as Sandilands and Quinlan discussed the Dapeng Geology Museum. Striking images of the Museum in its surrounding environment left Paul feeling as though the form ‘emerged from the ground’. Stephen felt that the concept was visually very clear and noted that ‘[for once] the dramatic forms actually reflect the function of the building’.

Repetition, hierarchy and differentiation were the moto for MADe’s Central Mosque Prishtina in Kosovo. The judges agreed that the design straddled an intriguing paradox between being ‘straightforward and architectonic’, yet also complex and ‘powerful’. 

The judges felt that the Glass Butterfly by Form4 Architecture would make an elegant and calm bus stop. Where Sandilands had been concerned that other entries had not been handled delicately enough, the judges envisioned the Glass Butterfly as being executed with a finesse that was worthy of the shortlist.  

Another civic submission was Aarau’s completed bus station canopy by Vehovar & Jauslin Architects. It was incredibly well received by the panel, who admired the firm for realising the concept of a 'Cloud’ - a favoured subject among architects.

Although there was mild critique about the effectiveness of lighting (which the judges wished would have been more integrated with structure) the panel’s displeasure was overruled by the idea that even the loud clattering of the rain on the membrane roof would be a delightful play on the senses.

During the intimate event at the OBA last week, the City of Amsterdam’s Director of Development Pierre van Rossum revealed the winners of the WAN Civic Building Award 2014.

lee+mundwiler’s Dapeng Geology Museum and Vehovar & Jauslin Architektur AG’s Aarau Bus Terminal were joint winners in the ‘Completed’ category, and MADe took home the ‘Future Schemes’ title for the Central Mosque Prishtina in Kosovo. The selection of the three winning teams was celebrated throughout the evening, culminating with an after-party at the newly-opened Thonet Showroom. 

Congratulations to all winning and shortlisted teams!

Victoria Oshinusi


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