As part of the ECOWAN programme, this year, WAN are proud to introduce the Sustainable Building of the Year Award. This category provides a platform for exciting developments in environmentally-conscious design and construction techniques to be showcased and rewarded. The WAN team was delighted to see that the inaugural challenge was met by a great wealth of visionary and ambitious ideas from around the world.
Representing the vast and ever-developing industries of sustainability, architecture, and their vital collaboration, the judging panel was made up of four industry experts. The attending panel included Jerry Tate, of Jerry Tate Architects, Chartered Architect and Environmental Designer Sofie Pelsmakers and Mike Beaven of Arup Associates. With the comments and recommendations put forward by remote judge Alan Ford of Alan Ford Architects, the judging panel amassed a vast and extensive portfolio.
The broadness of the term ‘sustainable’ ensured that no two projects were the same, enabling a varied and dynamic session. As the award is international and open to all sectors and scales of project, our judges found themselves making tough cross-context comparisons. As the jury made their way through 36 longlisted projects with varied agendas, material compositions and sustainable systems, it became clear that the panel were looking for a stand out factor in their winner.
The projects on the table were made of a specific entries to WAN’s inaugural Sustainable Building of the Year Award and those entries to the WAN AWARD programme throughout 2012 which our sector and specialist jurors felt captured the true essence of sustainable design. WAN’s Editor in Chief Michael Hammond then selected a longlist of 36 exemplary schemes for our jury panel to reduce to a shortlist and winner.
On viewing the Sustainable Building of the Year longlist, Alan Ford commented: “The ones that rose to the top for me were projects that demonstrated a thorough knowledge of sustainability and then took it to the next level…that integrate naturally into their environment.” This proved to be the essence of the session as the rest of the judges showed a clear common enthusiasm for the projects that convincingly pushed boundaries beyond the actual energy performance data. Even for some of those, which fell short at the final hurdle, the projects, which showed admirable aspiration, were more difficult to eliminate. “I’m really interested in it as an experiment” explained Jerry Tate.
Having been unable to narrow their search down to 6, the 7 projects on the shortlist were characterised as those which ‘combined all aspects of architecture and pushed forward in a pioneering way’, by Arup Associates’ Michael Beaven. As stated by Sophie Pelmakers, ‘the shortlisted projects should be the ones that make your heart beat fast’.
The T William McDonough + Partners’ NASA Sustainability Base in Moffet Field, United States was highly praised by Alan Ford for its ‘credibility and reputation that is embedded and inherent in McDonoughh’s work’. The shortlist also covered the exceptional integration of original architecture and its context. Michael Beaven described the Ta Phin Community House, Lao Cai, Vietnam as ‘ambitious’ and ‘inspirational’ and complimented the rapidly renewable material selection of OVG Real Estates’, TNT Centre, Hoofddorp, Netherlands as a ‘radical step’.
Sustainable Building of the Year Shortlist
Ta Phin Community House, Lo Cai, Vietnam - 1+1>2 International Architecture JSC. (Civic)
TNT Centre, Hoofddorp, Netherlands - OVG Real Estate (Commercial)
Proyecto Roble, Berkel-Enschot, Netherlands - Equipe architecture and urbanism (Commercial)
Vancouver Convention Centre West, Vancouver, Canada - LMN Architects (Civic)
1 Bligh, Sydney, Australia - ingenhoven architects (Commercial)
NASA Sustainability Base, Moffett Field, United States - William McDonough + Partners (Commercial)
Guthrie Green Urban Park, Tulsa, United States - SWA Group (Urban Design)