The WAN Hotel of the Year Award always attracts a unique mix of entrants and this year was no exception; from corporate chain hotels to boutique eco hotels, new build and renovation, and island resort to urban intervention. Last Thursday, WAN hosted the shortlist jury session for the Hotel of the Year Award 2012 with a prestigious international jury composed of industry designers, clients and consultants.
Entries were judged on a number of factors including originality, innovation, form and special quality, sustainability and context, how the design addressed the key elements of the brief and how the building evolved its specific building type, used design and/or materials to enhance the user experience or integrate with its context and/or community.
The jury, (Gregoir Chikaher, Global Business Area Leader at Arup, Prof Robert Morris-Nunn, Director, Circa Architecture, Miguel Ruano, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Vice President, Design & Engineering, Europe and Luis Zapiain, Director of Hospitality, HKS), struggled to keep the shortlist to six and therefore commended two projects; The Sandcastle in Messinia, a fun children’s hotel by Polyanna Paraskeva & Associates with Architectural Practise which Gregoir Chikaher thought was a ‘great concept’, and Aloft London ExCel, a corporate and commercial project in London by Jestico + Whiles.
The judges were unanimous in their decision to shortlist both the Dream Downtown in New York and the Downtown, Mexico City. Both of these projects mix an existing building with a new programme and both are expertly set into their urban context.
Robert Morris-Nunn said of The Downtown in Mexico City: “It has kept the soul of the Palacio de los Condes de Miravalle, which has a truly unique spirit of old Mexico, and inserted not one but two types of hotels within it.”
The following projects also made the shortlist: Innhouse in China by Oval Partnership ‘an eco guest house conceived as a village for travellers’ with strong sustainable credentials; the Hilton Windhoek in Namibia by Wasserfall Munting Architects for its innovation within the existing context; the Shoreditch Rooms in London by Archer Architects; and the Hilton Pattaya Hotel, Thailand by T.R.O.P. Luis Zapiain was mostly impressed by how the brief had been so well achieved: “The brief was to create an urban sanctuary hidden from the chaotic beach below and they have done it so well.”
The judges were pleased by the global spread and type of projects that had been submitted and the shortlist reflects this.
Innhouse, Kunming, China - The Oval Partnership
Downtown, Mexico City, Mexico - Cheremserrano
Hilton Windhoek, Windhoek, Namibia - Wasserfall Munting Architects
Hilton Pattaya Hotel, Chonburi, Thailand - T.R.O.P: terrains + open space
Shoreditch Rooms, London, United Kingdom - Archer Architects LLP
Dream Downtown Hotel, New York, United States - Handel Architects
The Sand Castle, Costa Navarino Resort in Messinia, Greece Polyanna Paraskeva & Associates, Architectural Practise
Aloft London Excel, London, United Kingdom Jestico + Whiles