The winners of the first ever WAN Urban Regeneration Award can now be revealed. Our esteemed jury panels fought back and forth to select two winners - one for the Completed category, the other Unbuilt - but we can now announce the successful practices of this complex and challenging sector.
The Completed category winner is Taylor Cullity Lethlean and Wraight + Associates with their North Wharf Promenade, Jellicoe Street and Silo Park scheme.
The jury was in full agreement about how Auckland's Wynyard Point redevelopment had successfully transformed a redundant expanse of former industrial waterfront area on the edge of the harbour. ‘Damn clever!’ were Martyn Evans, Creative Director of Cathedral Group summarising comments about the scheme. Kent Jackson, Design Director of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, agreed that it was ‘a great play on the industrial language’.
The layered mixed-use development has brought a series of new and diverse activities into the working parts of the harbour via a new public realm, woven into the existing harbour, creating a ‘seamless connection and use of old and retaining structure’ observes Morten Schmidt, Partner, schmidt hammer lassen architects. Martyn Evans agrees: "Easy to pull down but they chose to recycle". By choosing to retain and re-use the existing structures the designers have enabled the new and old programmes to fuse along the waterfront.
This is what our jury was looking for in the (Completed) WAN Urban Regeneration category. Not only does this project re-invigorate its immediate context, it now connects to the wider area allowing a free, varied, pleasant and diverse public access throughout.
Competition was fierce in the Unbuilt category with questions of what defines the regeneration of a space flitting between jurors, meaning that certain other shortlisted projects nearly stole the title. In the end the debate narrowed our shortlist down to two very different concepts: Erik Giudice Architects’ The H+ Project in Helsingborg and BHI Architects’ Changxing Green Urban Community in Changxing.
Alan Thompson, Head of Design Review at CABE considered the final pairing in depth before concluding that BHI Architects’ scheme ‘is truly unique and visionary, but one wonders if it is a bit “too dreamy” and therefore unlikely to be realised’, despite Keith Williams Architects’ Richard Brown’s view that the project was ‘a reinvention of agricultural architecture’.
For Bijana Savic, Urban Programme Manager for The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, it was Erik Giudice Architects who stood out from the crowd with their ‘very innovative solution to urban regeneration’. The practice’s in H+ Project was praised for its ‘social atmosphere’ and ability to ‘encourage residents’ integration’ by Richard Brown.
After much debate - so much so in fact that the Completed jury had long finished their session - it was decided to award the title to Erik Giudice Architects’ The H+ Project while BHI’s Changxing Green Urban Community was given the status of Highly Commended, marking it above the other shortlisted entries.
One element that our jurors continued to circle back to throughout the judging process was how well a scheme interacted with its wider area, improving accessibility and improving portions of land directly adjacent to a specific site. As Savic explains of the (Unbuilt) winning proposal: “It makes an effort to reconnect with the city with a central spine around a canal theme, creating a number of public spaces that are servicing the scheme but also connecting with the key movement around the site.”
Congratulations to all winning and highly commended teams!
Urban Regeneration Winners
North Wharf Promenade, Jellicoe Street and Silo Park, Auckland, New Zealand - Taylor Cullity Lethlean and Wraight + Associates
The H+ Project, Helsingborg, Sweden - Erik Giudice Architects
Changxing Green Urban Community, Changxing, China - BHI Architects (ECO)
Sian Disson and Caroline Stephens