The 2011 WAN AWARDS Effectiveness jury meeting two weeks ago was bursting at the seams with top industry professionals whose passion lies in honouring the effectiveness of building design. Not distracted by the aesthetic qualities of the submissions on the table, our seven experts skilfully whittled down twenty-six impressive entries to a shortlist of six with two commended projects just missing out on a top spot.
A true advocator of building effectiveness - and one of last year’s joint winners - Frank Greene, Principal at Ricci Greene Associates perused the longlist from New York and was highly taken with this year’s winner, Vancouver Convention Centre West by LMN + MCM/DA. He detailed: “The advanced sustainability features have reset the bar for high-performance large-scale developments, and serve as a memorable symbol of the presence of the natural world in the built environment.”
Equally impressed was Larry Speck, Principal of the other 2010 Effectiveness Award-winning practice, PageSoutherlandPage. Speck admitted he was already aware of the project before its submission and was able to bring some firsthand knowledge to the session, relating: “I know this project, and the cool thing it did was it provided public space for a really, really tight fabric of that part of Vancouver, and suddenly there’s all this accessibility to the water that wasn’t there before, it just didn’t happen. And that wasn’t necessary in the programme; that was something that the architects themselves brought to the table.”
This year’s entries were praised across the board for their high standard of design and ability to go beyond the brief to decipher the client - and user’s - fundamental needs and meet them with precision and flair. The architecture practices behind the six shortlisted projects were applauded for their conscious efforts to revitalise entire areas or engage with the community through complex design initiatives, some ‘delivering a new typology within office building’, others ‘completely transforming an area’.
The final word again came from Greene who rounded off with the following statement: “The quality of the submission was extraordinary, and in most cases the graphic and narrative presentations were superb. [WAN] are to be complimented for attracting such a diverse and exemplary group of submissions.” From one winner to another...