The crème de la crème of civic construction

Monday 19 Aug 2013

'Brave' and 'poetic' architecture steal top spots in WAN AWARDS Civic Building Sector

With 46 longlisted entries, this year’s Civic Buildings Award represented a wealth of quality projects drawn from a wide range of backgrounds and locations - from an elegantly executed mausoleum to cutting edge sports facilities, bold municipal statements and innovative public art.

We were honoured to be joined by an expert panel in the field, comprising of: Jason Lawrence, design director of Flanagan Lawrence; Tim Greer, director of Tonkin Zulaikha Greer;  Platform for Architecture + Research founder Jennifer Marmon; Paul Mullin of Rick Mather Architects; and MWAI Director Alessia Mosci.  

The first project to impress its way into the top six was the alluringly foreboding Venetian Law Court Offices by C+S Architects (Venice, Italy). Noting the building’s brave, dark façade, the judges agreed that the project’s bold statement simultaneously respects the city while elegantly fitting in with its surroundings.

The next project to impress was the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre by heneghan peng architects (Bushmills, Northern Ireland). Pointing to the project’s ‘poetry’, and the considered, tight pulling together of elements such as the roof lights, car parking and furniture, the judges didn’t take long to award it a shortlist position.

Third to secure its place on the top six was the Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame by Trahan Architects (Louisiana, USA). The dichotomy of its ‘compelling’ exterior and the ‘incredibly sophisticated, fluid geometry’ of the interior certainly made an impression with the panel.

The next project to make the shortlist was the Gymnasium and Town Hall Esplanade by LAN Architecture (Chelles, France). The judges were impressed by the accomplished landscaping, historical analysis, and sombre exterior complimented by fun interior - touches which successfully define the public area without being afraid to tighten up the space and enhance its surroundings.

Fifth came the Maudsley Learning Centre by Duggan Morris Architects (London, England), which was immediately lauded as ‘austere but very elegant’ by Alessia Mosci. This forward-thinking elegance, combined with the impressive staircase and well-controlled finish, was enough to earn the building a place on the shortlist.

The final shortlist position was awarded to the Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum by HGA Architects and Engineers (Minneapolis, USA). Noted for its framed views, beautiful crypt rooms and elegant plan, the project won universal applause. A place in the top six was secure.

A special commendation was awarded to the Brent Civic Centre, by Hopkins Architects (London, England), for its impressive scale and its achievement of the coveted BREEAM Outstanding rating.

We would like to offer our heartiest thanks and congratulations to not only the shortlisted and commended entrants, but to every practice that entered, for helping create such a fascinating and varied assembly of buildings.  

Richard Greenan
Awards Co-ordinator

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