A new dawn for the WAN AWARDS jury

13 Feb 2012

Student influence felt at WAN House of the Year AWARDS 2011 judging in London

Last week, our panel met for the WAN House of the Year AWARDS 2011 judging. The jury included: Sarah Wigglesworth, Director of Sarah Wigglesworth Architects, David Levitt, Chairman of the Housing Group of the RIBA, Philip Marsh, Director at dRMM and our remote judge Tom Kundig, Director at Olson Kundig Architects. For the first time, a Student Guest Judge sat on our jury panel, Matthew Goodwill - an Architecture student from the University of Brighton - taking his place at the WAN House of the Year AWARDS judges’ table.

Judging the housing scheme awards may appear an easier task than, say, larger commercial projects, but after last week’s jury it proved just as challenging for our panel. The longlist included copious amounts of amazing projects and with the collection being so widespread internationally there really was a taste of what the world of architecture has to offer.

The diversity of architectural language and programmatic usage really emphasised how varied and unique small scale housing projects can be. Sometimes the contextual influence of a build really drove the aesthetic or pushed playful interventions; in contrast to this, some of the schemes presented to us had minimal restrictions (i.e. in budget or spatial means) and allowed the architects to produce extravagant and beautiful homes.

After a morning of intense discussion and debates the short list was finally compiled and the list truly reflects a fair and well-balanced judgement on the different types of housing from the longlist of thirty. Tom Kundig sent his noted six from the longlist before the session commenced, of which four ended up in the final shortlist showing the unanimity amongst the panel in their decision.

Tom Kundig was particularly impressed with Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo’s FCN scheme and stated that it has ‘skilful, edited, plan, section and elevations that combine to make a home of many layered experiences and memories’ with ‘beautifully inventive simple moves, literally; that opens and closes the house’.

Two key projects in the shortlist were both noted for their relationship with existing historical buildings: The Stone house and New Mission Hall. Sarah Wigglesworth particularly liked the Stone House, stating that its ‘relationship to the landscape and historical buildings is brilliant’. The Mountain Cabin by Marte.Marte Architekten was also noted for its relationship with its surroundings and the simplicity of the property’s design helping to reduce its impact upon the environment.

The Complex House was described as ‘very modest’ by Phillip Marsh but all the jury immediately liked the design for its playfulness with light, space and the site. Similarly the Dune House was put through because of its playful forms and beautiful interiors.

The Birkegade Hedonistic Penthouses was not thought to be right for the House of the Year Award but it was felt by the panel that the project deserved recognition for its addition to the local community and subsequently it has been given a commendation. The roof terraces provide an innovative community space for the existing tenants which Philip Marsh recognised as ‘very clever’ and David Levitt noted that it ‘provides a huge release for all the residents [...] providing a valuable space’.

Congratulations to the six shortlisted projects and one commended scheme.


Birkegade Hedonistic Penthouses in Copenhagen, Denmark - JDS Architects


Complex House, Nagoya, Japan - Tomohiro Hata Architect and Associates
FCN 2009, Noto, Italy - Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo
Mountain Cabin, Laternser Valley, Austria - Marte.Marte Architekten
New Mission Hall, Plaistow, United Kingdom - Adam Richards Architects
Stone House, Luberon Valley, France - Carl Fredrik Svenstedt Architect
The Dune House, Thorpeness, United Kingdom - Jarmund/Vigsnaes MNAL Architects AS

Matthew Goodwill
Student Guest Judge

Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team