Crit Building wins Facade of the Year Award

Monday 09 Sep 2013

Intelligent and graceful design triumphs as university building receives inaugural prize

And so comes an end to our inaugural Façade of the Year Award. No-one was quite prepared to the level of excitement and response generated by this category, which drew a staggering array of entrants ranging from grassroots, small and sustainable building shells to hi-tech motorised monoliths gleaming in the desert. 

Our judging panel was graced by several leading minds in this speciality, including Paul Kalkhoven, Dr Mikkel Kragh, Stephen Light, David Richards and Steve Watts.

While scale and technical complexity was enough to secure some façades a place on the shortlist, it was a project of relatively modest size and unassuming surroundings that won the hearts and minds of the panel: Guy Hollaway Architects’ Crit Building, on the University of Kent campus in Canterbury. 

Each judge had nothing but admiration for this shimmering, transformative addition to a formerly drab university quad, which utilises natural wind energy and thousands of dynamic aluminium flaps to elegantly reflect the constant flow of students treading the thoroughfare below. 

The judges were fully convinced that the façade triumphed in its aim to provide a spectacular exterior while protecting artwork within the building from direct sunlight. Other touches, such as the façade's illumination at night, its transformation of views from within, and the 'graceful' and 'intelligent' rainwater channelling hanging chains, were also lauded by the panel.    

Projects earmarked for commendation were Richard M Wright and Barbara Griffin’s thought-provoking Digital Capabilities façade - which responds and reacts to social media by opening and closing to reveal hidden flowers - and the 'industrial chic' of Olson Kundig Architects’ Art Stable, with its cheap, simple system and 'gutsy' hinges.

We would like to offer our heartiest congratulations, not only to Guy Hollaway Architects for providing such an unforgettable winner, but to every entrant for making this inaugural Façade of the Year Award so very special. 

Richard Greenan
WAN AWARDS Co-ordinator

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