After much deliberation of the shortlist, this year’s winner for the built residential buildings is the unusual, dual-faceted Milanofiori Residential Complex in Milan by OBR Open Building Research S.r.l. Selected as the winning project by both remote judges and almost all of our onsite jurors, it was in fact the most celebrated scheme overall, having received solely positive comments.
The jury was looking for intelligent, elegant and effective buildings and the Milanofiori Residential Complex excelled at every mark. Tanya Kalinina of McAdam Architects noted that ‘it is just really well designed’, leading the conversation onto how the small details of the scheme had been paid just attention. Milanofiori Residential Complex is the perfect example of the vibrant relationship between architecture and nature: an intervention between man and the surrounding environment. It has been designed exquisitely with two opposing façades in recognition of its urban surroundings: one facing the street and another more organic facade towards the park.
Details such as balconies and private interior gardens overlooking the larger public gardens are what make outstanding, winning projects. The site is quite big, but not cluttered with too much housing, so the small footprint of the top floors was highly applauded. Piers Gough concluded: “This one absolutely walks it for me; I mean this is the best by a mile.”
The winner of the unbuilt category - by unanimous vote - was Beirut Observatory by Accent Design Group. A key reason why this scheme was nominated for the shortlist and finally selected the best unbuilt project was the complete opposition of form between the front and back facades. The intriguing design separating the levels, double height spaces in the middle of the tower and cantilevered balconies fascinated the judges. As Beirut is located on a mountain, the architects have specifically angled the building volume to face the most scenic view to the north and taken inspiration from the urban form of Beirut; and the WAN jury was impressed on both accounts.
The project separates itself from the cliché of residential towers, avoiding the unnecessary display of architectural gymnastics. Bill Dunster exclaimed ‘quite impressive taste!’
Congratulations to both practices on their success.