For this year’s WAN Concrete in Architecture Award, judges gathered to decide which of the 19 longlisted projects explored and celebrated concrete across all building types, whether a private residence or public building. The jury reviewed each project focusing on different factors such as innovation, sustainability, originality, form and special quality. They paid a special attention to how the projects incorporate concrete, a highly versatile material, to enhance or integrate with its context and community.
The judging panel included Principal of the international architecture and urban planning office MBA/S, Matthias Bauer, Director of World Concrete Forum Ltd Martin Clarke OBE, Director of the C20 Society and Editor of the C20 magazine Catherine Croft and Paul Zara, Director at Conran and Partners.
First to take a place on the shortlist was Office Building by BLOCHER BLOCHER PARTNERS in Stuttgart, Germany. The roof design, characteristic of the reinforced concrete construction and visible from all side, immediately attracted the jury attention. Paul Zara appreciated the project commenting “The roof is very interesting” and adding that the project was “a nice bold statement for their own architectural practice”. Catherine Croft also thought this project should make the shortlist and explained that she liked “the idea of using concrete for a building that is trying to be contextual and this project manages this”.
Next selected was Snow Kreilich Architects, Inc. with their project MetroTransit Highway 610 & Noble Parkway Park & Ride Facility in Minnesota, United States. The project’s design fuses an abstraction of the surrounding landscape with a high performance, sustainable facility to create a striking statement along the Highway 610 corridor. Catherine Croft liked this project a lot and Matthias Bauer found it “emblematic, multi-faceted, carefully detailed, convincing, and appropriate”.
Another exciting project selected was Lune de Sang Shed 1 submitted by CHROFI in New South Wales, Australia. The design was motivated by a long term vision, the establishment of a rainforest landscape that will take generations to mature. For this purpose, the architects sought materials and structures that would mature over time. They chose concrete because it serves as a universal material that can be read in multiple ways and deployed for both structure and enclosure. The jury were very impressed with this project and Catherine Croft stated that the project was an “elegant workshop”.
Meditarrani 21. Sant Pol de Mar by Estudi Isern Associats in Barcelona, Spain, was also chosen for the shortlist. The project, a single family house defined by the land and its perspectives, held a united vote. The judges all commented on the building’s strength. Paul Zara said “It is not trying to blend in with the environment; it is trying to be bold and expressive. I think this is a lovely project, I do like this.” Matthias Bauer added that the house is “powerful and straightforward for living the cliff”.
Alongside these came NTU Learning Hub by Heaterwick Studio in Jurong District, Singapore. The multi-use building, comprised of fifty-six tutorial rooms, challenges the typical perceptions of concrete. Matthias Bauer made some strong comments, saying that the project was a “Condensed eduscape with a variety of sensitive concrete solutions resulting in a rich urban and interior environment”. Martin Clarke OBE commented on the method of imprinting “I like the idea of commissioning the artist to create a design and then to imprint this to the concrete is a nice idea “.
Last up for the Concrete in Architecture projects shortlist was Niigata City Konan Ward Cultural Center by Chiaki Arai Urban & Architecture Design in Niigata City, Japan. The project’s purpose was to gather the dispersed library, local museum, community centre and add multipurpose theatre for the new ward created from several surrounding towns. The project received praise for its bold design. Martin Clarke stated “This is like concrete in space”. Catherine Croft also thought this project was worthy of the shortlist commenting” This is certainly a very dramatic use of concrete. I would like to visit this building”.
Congratulations to all who made the shortlist in this year's WAN Concrete in Architecture Award. A special thanks to our judges and to those who entered this category. We will announce the winner on the 14th July 2015.