Effective design across the globe

Monday 15 Oct 2012

Shortlist for 2012 WAN Effectiveness Award sports projects from Vietnam, United States, Venezuela and the United Kingdom

This year’s WAN Effectiveness Award Shortlist demonstrates a true cross-section of successful design, both in terms of style and location. From a modest medical facility in the dry tropical forests of Venezuela to the revitalised storefronts in a London urban square and a bamboo restaurant in Vietnam, our judges have selected six of the most effective design projects from all corners of the globe. The 2012 WAN Effectiveness Award is sponsored by Buro Happold.

Our knowledgeable jury was made up of Graham McClerments from BDP, Christina Seilern from Studio Seilern Architects, Mark Reddington from LMN Architects, Gavin Thompson from Buro Happold and Peter Gluck who took part remotely from Peter Gluck and Partners in New York.

Gathering at One Alfred Place in London to peruse this year’s effective offerings, the jury panel took their time to go through the thirty-seven long-listed projects. For the first time in WAN AWARDS history, one practice has made it onto the shortlist with three separate schemes; Vietnamese design studio Vo Trong Nghia Co. Ltd has been shortlisted for the wNw Café and Barm, Stacking Green and Binh Duong School, all of which are located in Vietnam.

McClements mused, ‘Vietnamese people have been transforming themselves from mass consumption to energy-saving-orientated by using natural materials’, in response to the sheer volume of bamboo used in the wNw Café and Bar. This eco-friendly approach can also be seen in the practice’s other two shortlisted projects, with the porous green facades of residential scheme Stacking Green maximising wind flow into the house for natural ventilation and plans for a green roof at Binh Duong School currently in the works.

Also on shortlist was AM: Arquitectura Multimedia’s Pharmacy for High Cost Medicine in Maracaibo which hit a chord with Seilern for its ‘beauty’. She detailed: “I like the use of greenery in the building and…the materiality of the building makes it very comfortable and durable.” For Peter Gluck it was past winners PageSoutherlandPage who stood out the most, deeming their Chickasaw Nation Medical Center ‘a socially impressive project where serious attempt has been made to integrate design icons and forms from native culture into a modern, large scale context’.

Last but by no means least is HawkinsBrown’s Gillett Square scheme in Dalston, which saw a run-down area of London brought back to life for the local community. McClerments termed the scheme ‘interesting’ and stated that it is ‘a new thing for a cultural generation’, referring to the concept of the urban design project which looks to ‘represent the local cultures and spearhead improvement throughout the community’. Gavin Thompson of Buro Happold added, 'what has been undertaken architecturally has facilitated the end result - a very worthy result'.

Sian Disson
News Editor

WAN Effectiveness Award Shortlist

Pharmacy for High Cost Medicine, Maracaibo - AM: Arquitectura Multimedia
Graham McClerments:
-“Use of feedback is a part of the solution”
-“There’s a lot in the architecture which is a means to an end, but they’re open in saying that the effectiveness is still there with its intentions”
Christina Seilern:
-“Amazing with all that stuff that’s going on”
-“It’s very nice, cold in here and warm outside”
-“The materiality of the building makes it very comfortable and durable”

Chickasaw Nation Medical Center, Ada - PageSoutherlandPage
Peter Gluck:
-“A socially impressive project where serious attempt has been made to integrate design icons and forms from native culture into a modern, large scale context”
-“The building with its many differing and changing forms can be seen as a village in itself”
-“The project seems to have obvious and meaningful social value”

wNw Cafe and Bar, Binhduong - Vo Trong Nghia Co. Ltd
Christina Seilern:
-“I think it is spectacular”
Peter Gluck:
-“Intriguing and quite beautiful”
-“This project integrates the impulse of using natural materials with the ability to make relevant and successful forms. The focus tells a story of transition from old to new”

Stacking Green, HoChiMinh City - Vo Trong Nghia Co. Ltd
Peter Gluck:
-“Beautiful project dealing with a difficult albeit (and most importantly) typical site configuration in Ho Chi Minh City”
-“Creating a live green screen providing privacy from outside the densely populated city and modulated light and air from inside”
-“It is literally (and with its natural cooling) technically green”
Gavin Thompson:
- "What's been achieved here is amazing"

Binh Duong School, Binhduong - Vo Trong Nghia Co. Ltd
Christina Seilern:
-“I think it’s leading in creating natural ventilation and solar shading outside”
-“Versatility of these architects”
Mark Reddington:
-“I think the question is with this budget how is this trying to redo schools”
Gavin Thompson:
-“I think it’s done a lot with not a lot”

Gillett Square, Dalston - Hawkins Brown
Gavin Thompson:
-“Creating an urban car park”
-“They are all separate events going on”
Graham McClerments:
-“A new thing for a cultural generation”
-“It’s interesting”

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