Only the brave...

Friday 21 Oct 2011

Both juries commend bravery of 2011 WAN AWARDS Urban Design winners

For the first time in WAN AWARD history, this year’s Urban Design jury sessions were held in adjoining rooms on the same day, adding to the enthusiasm and competition between our professional judges. Despite being separated by a (acoustically secure) dividing wall, both juries appeared to select their chosen winners for similar reasons - bravery in design and artistic conceptualisation.

The unbuilt jury was immediately enraptured by Code: arkitektur as’s halo-shaped viewing platform teetering on the edge of Vøringsfossen waterfalls in Eidfjord, Norway, Clive Dutton, Executive Director for Regeneration, Planning and Property at the London Borough of Newham exclaiming: “For me this is the winner - it’s the best by a country mile because it is so different and has a real wow factor to it. Not different in a crass way, but it’s imaginative.”

On the other side of the wall the completed jury was less decisive in their verdict, reducing the concise shortlist to two competing schemes. After much indecision it was concluded that Office of Architecture in Barcelona’s psychedelic Benidorm Waterfront scheme should take this year’s title with Martha Schwarz, Principal of Martha Schwartz Partners Ltd, declaring: “This is brilliant - this is one of the best things ever built - ever! In my humble opinion...”

One thing both panels could agree on was the level of bravery displayed by this year’s successful applicants. Both Code: arkitektur as and Office of Architecture in Barcelona were commended for their courageous design approaches and the governing forces in each of the building locations applauded for their open-mindedness.

Unbuilt juror Neil Porter of Gustafson Porter referred to the Norweigan Fosseslynga project as ‘an amazing piece of sculptural intrusion into the landscape, very bold and brave’. He continued: “It’s lovely to think that they are not so protective about their landscape that they can’t see something like this adding to it. I think we [in the UK] often get perhaps a bit too protective.”

Similar sentiments were echoed by the completed panel, Martha Schwarz concluding that ‘the city should be commended for taking such a risk. I mean can you imagine these guys showing up with this kind of thing?’ The concept certainly resonated with Chris Wilkinson of Wilkinson Eyre, who admitted: “I remember seeing a model of it quite a few years ago at the biennale - it looked really good but to see it built is very exciting.”

Congratulations to both winning practices!

Key Facts

Urban design

Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team
  • Town Planning Manager | Housebuilder in Surrey | 3+ years' PQE

    Are you a Town Planner with some commercial experience under your belt (consultancy or developer)? Would you like to work for a regional housebuild...
    • Lewis Davey
    • Surrey - near M25/M23 junction
  • Principal Planning Consultant (Policy)

    This is a career opportunity for somebody looking to play a key role in the delivery of an effective and efficient planning policy service.
    • Capita
    • Manchester/Salford (North West) or Breckland or North Tyneside or Barnet (North London)
  • Planning Officers

    Work as key members of the Councils development management service providing pre-application advice, dealing with applications and appeals.
    • Chiltern and South Bucks Council
    • Amersham, Buckinghamshire
  • Enforcement Officer - Hertfordshire

    A Local Authority in Hertfordshire are looking for an Enforcement Officer to assist them with a backlog of cases for an initial contract of 3-6 months
    • Oyster Partnership
    • Hertfordshire
  • Planning Officer

    Do you want to work for a Planning Authority in a superb world-class location, that also has an outstanding record of achievement?
    • Plymouth City Council
    • Plymouth, Devon