Do your designs enhance the way we live?

Monday 22 Aug 2011

An appeal

Dear Architect,

This time last year I wrote to you asking for your support. Together with Buro Happold we are showcasing examples of how architecture can enhance the way we live. We want to hear if your new school has reduced its truancy rate, incidents of playground violence or perhaps improved the school's academic ranking, or whether your new healthcare project has increased patient throughput or improved wellbeing.

In short, we want to know how your designs have made a difference. Our aim is to reverse some of the negative comments prevalent in the media at the moment; comments that are devaluing the profession. We are to do this by painting architecture in a positive light, demonstrating to prospective clients and the general public that good design can and does make a difference. Can be Effective.

The response to our plea last year was overwhelming. Architects from all over the world submitted projects for the WAN Effectiveness Awards, highlighting how their buildings have improved life both within the building and in the wider community.

Out of the diverse building types submitted, two were selected as overall winners: a detention centre in New Jersey where the human approach to design reduced violence, and an urban park in Houston which successfully stitched parts of the city together, sparking further development and enabling pedestrian movement in a previously car-dominated city.

If your practice has designed a project that has made a difference, tell us about it and we will make sure our 200,000+ readers get to hear about it. Don't forget, many of our readers are developers and potential clients. This is not about vanity, it's about winning new work.

We realise that measurement can be difficult, but send us what you can - our judges are experienced in evaluating projects so please don't let this put you off.

As we hoped, last year's awards have brought the subject of effectiveness above the parapet. It is now being openly discussed and new sources of data are emerging daily, highlighting how buildings have a direct and measurable impact on those who live and work in them. Data which you will be able to use in future designs. In the UK, a three-part documentary has just been broadcast on mainstream TV illustrating just how important this issue is. Zaha Hadid's BMW factory was cited as an exemplar of how design can break down the barriers between the shop floor and administrative functions and get the whole building working in unison. We need more examples.

Together with Buro Happold, we are continuing this ambitious mission into the second year to celebrate examples of designs that have made a tangible difference to the effectiveness of a building and hence added significant value for the client.

As a reader of WAN, you probably have a vested interest in some aspect of international architecture and we are sure that you may be aware of examples of effective architecture. We hope that you might be able to advise us of any projects that could enhance this initiative, whether designed by your own practice or by others.

Make a difference to your practice and enter the WAN Effectiveness Awards this year. Entry closes on 31st August.

Please contact us at the email below or arrange for details to be sent to us if you know of a building that could become an Ambassador for effective architectural design.

Many thanks in anticipation,

Yours sincerely,


Michael Hammond
Editor in Chief

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