Four diverse projects highlight the variety in the 2015 Mixed-Use Award
The WAN Mixed-Use Award honours the combination of more than two uses within an architectural development. Whether it is residential with retail, office space with leisure or events space with theatres, as far as the imagination reaches, this award is about the celebration of spaces that come together and work harmoniously.
The Mixed-Use Award 2015 showcased it all, from technically challenging projects, that met their client briefs with an impressive execution, through to the mind-blowing bizarre, leaving our jury panel astounded with the array of multi-use buildings that had been constructed.
For the process of whittling down a shortlist from the 21 long listed projects we were honoured to have a fantastic line up of experienced judges for this year’s award. Our esteemed jury panel included Grant Brooker, Head of Studio Foster + Partners, Teresa Borsuk, Senior Partner Pollard Thomas Edwards and Woman Architect of the Year 2015, as well as Paul Monaghan, Director Allford Hall Monaghan Morris and recent Stirling Prize winner.
After reviewing the variety of projects a final group of four were selected for the Mixed-Use Award shortlist. These are summarised below in no particular order:
Fassler Hall / Dustbowl Lounge and Lanes by Fitzsimmons Architects
This entry was received positively by our entire jury panel, who spoke warmly about this project. Situated in Oklahoma City, inspiration for the complex came from the existing building types common to this area. Teresea said, “When I saw this I liked it. It has that sort of ‘stripped back’ feel about it. For me it optimises this part of Oklahoma.” Simple materials such as concrete frame with masonry make up the bulk of early 20th century buildings in this area, so an economical version was chosen using pre-cast columns, beams and tees. Many of the local buildings have had updates over the years with a quilt work of pattern of different colours and finish variations visible in the brickwork. A subtle nod to this was created using areas of smooth and wire-cut brick in patterns only visible in the correct sunlight. Paul mentioned, “It’s quite clever isn’t it? With Oklahoma’s thriving youth scene you can imagine on a Thursday night this place would be full. I quite like the way that it’s almost like off-the-peg objects. It’s nearly like ‘non-design’ where things haven’t been designed, but standard components put together”. Grant supported Paul’s statement by saying “I like this, it’s quirky. When I saw this I thought – I’d go there – I liked the fact that they have just stripped it off, its all pretty relaxed and low-key.”
Milton Court/The Heron by David Walker Architects
Situated in the City of London, this project had all three judges studying the presentation intently in silent thought. The overall response to Milton Court/The Heron was that not only was this project a wondrous combination of mixed-use, but that it really showcased this category and what rare blends can occur within a project. Grant stated, “It’s a very challenging and really tricky project to do, with a very unusual combination.” Milton Court/The Heron provides performance and teaching facilities for The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, along with a luxury residential tower. The school’s facilities include a 625 seat concert hall, 225 seat theatre, 120 seat studio theatre, along with rehearsal, administrative and teaching spaces. The residential tower provides 295 apartments over 36 storeys.
The jury panel discussed in detail how the theatres had been achieved. The overall impression that was left was how this had been extremely well executed, on a confined site.
Sundbyoster Hall II by Dorte Mandrup Arkiteker
There was enthusiasm surrounding this entry throughout the room while viewing this presentation. There had been discussions on defining what makes a project ‘really mixed-use’. All judges whole-heartedly declared this most certainly covered that criteria, with Paul saying, “It’s very mixed-use”.
Sundbyoster Hall II integrates a grocery store and sports hall as well as housing units in one building located in the district of Amager in Copenhagen, Denmark.
An interesting and unusual combination of uses, the ground floor contains a grocery store and an entrance for the sports hall, parking and apartments. A double-height glass façade on the second floor ensures pedestrians and neighbours a direct view of the activities in the sports hall. Teresa said, “It’s as though they’ve treated the three differently and yet it comes together and really works.”
T-House by Ekar Architects
Another successful selection for this year’s shortlist was the entry T-House, which is located in Nonthaburi, Thailand. A smaller-scaled, mixed-use project, this blends together the boundaries of home and business. Paul said on this entry, “There’s an idea here that is quite elegantly put together. Of all the projects that we’ve seen this shows some real architectural concept, it looks like there is a reason for where every window is where it is. I also like the shapes used.” The T-House has a pure clean appearance with straightforward inside-out functions of open design. This comes from the family’s business, underwear, which is a product needed to be shown focusing on its cutting qualities and fabric rather than its striking patterns which is reflected in the design.
A project that was commended by the jury for its concept outside of the shortlist was Europaplatz Multipurpose Center | House of Religions by Baurt Architects Planners Ltd. in collaboration with Urban Office - Amsterdam. This entry brought about some lively discussion surrounding its idea of bringing together five different religions within a building for commercial, residential and office space. The jury were amazed at the rarity of this particular mix, having never seen this type of combination before. Grant said fervently, “You are unlikely to ever come across a multi-storey, residential and multi-chapel facility, it’s an extraordinary mix. I have never seen anything like this tackled before.” Teresa supported this by saying, “It’s very unusual and I think the idea is wonderful. The mix of uses is fantastic here. They seem to have purposely created this screen so that one religion does not have more importance than the other and that it unifies them.”
WAN AWARDS congratulates all those who have been shortlisted and commended in the Mixed-Use Award 2015. From the four shortlisted entries an overall winner will be announced on January 16th, 2016.