The judging day for the WAN Urban Design Award 2013 proved challenging for the panel as future projects with grand master visions competed with far more simpler, smaller schemes that also managed to fulfil their brief and push Urban Design in interesting directions.
The panel consisted of Gordon Affleck, Design Partner of 10 Design, Richard Brown, Director of Keith Williams Architects, Marie Burns, Director of Burns + Nice, Perry Lethlean, Director of Taylor, Cullity, Lethlean, Tim Makower, Founder of Makower Architects and Richard Meir, Partner at Argent Group.
First on to the shortlist was New city centre, Kiruna, Kiruna, Sweden White arkitekter AB for the sheer ambition, continual dialogue with the residents involved and quality of the information presented to the jury.
Next on to the shortlist was Place Lalla Yeddouna, Fez, Morocco mossessian & partners which Perry Lethlean particularly liked as it, ‘interprets vernacular architecture, urbanism, and craft in a way that impressively addresses site specific conditions, commercial ambitions, and contemporary sustainability initiatives'.
This was quickly followed by Nanjing Xiaguan Riverfront Master Plan, Nanjing, China Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP for a modern scheme that still manages to retain existing buildings to give it further interest. Richard Brown thought, ‘it's well considered, it looks at all the right issues and it's well layered in that it's not trying to just look at economic factors or social factors. It is trying to give a rounded picture as to what a city should be'.
Georgia Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal, Atlanta, Atlanta, GA, United States FXFOWLE Architects was singled out for praise, particularly by Perry Lethlean who stated that it, ‘...Brings a central rail station to a car-centric city, stitching together the urban fabric otherwise separated by a neglected site'
Fayetteville 2030: Food City Scenario, Fayetteville, United States University of Arkansas Community Design Center was the final future project on to the shortlist addressing the conundrum of food supply to a growing urban population. Marie Burns noted that, ‘it's trying to tackle all the problems that exist in a more academic way. It's raising the debate'.
For the built projects, The Vancouver Olympic Village, by GBL Architects Inc. was first to join the shortlist as a great sustainable piece of Olympic legacy and a thoughtful reuse project.
The next built project to join the shortlist Guthrie Green Urban Park, Tulsa, United States SWA Group. The judges particularly liked the images of community making full use of this project and that it served as a ‘catalyst for change'.
The final project to make the Urban Design shortlist is Zeytouneh Square, Beirut, Lebanon by Gustafson Porter LLP, which was generally felt to be a quality, considered design.
We would like to thanks all who participated and offer our warmest congratulations to those that made the shortlist for the WAN Urban Design Award 2013. It's a category that means so many different things, to meet so many different challenges to so many different areas. It provoked and should stimulate further debate that stretches way beyond the city limits.