14th International Architecture Exhibition

09 Jun 2014

We give the lowdown on what past WAN AWARDS winners are up to in Venice

The 14th International Architecture Exhibition opened to the public in Venice over the weekend, sending social media channels and online publications into overdrive. Directed by Rem Koolhaas, the event promises 'architecture, not architects' in an effort to move on from years of celebrating contemporary design and the bolstering of practice profiles to a deep-seated analysis of how architecture has arrived at its current state.

Here we look at past winners of the WAN AWARDS and how they will be engaging with the 14th International Architecture Exhibition this summer.

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (2013 Healthcare Sector)

UK-based Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) will be exhibiting a selection of their work under the overarching theme of the Biennale: Fundamentals. This exhibition will be entitled ‘Merzbau, Palimpsest, Collage: A Long History of Architecture’ and will feature unseen images of twelve projects across London taken by photographer Timothy Soar.

AHMM Director Simon Allford notes: “We are travelling to escape to the delights of the ancient Republic for food and for architecture. My greatest pleasure will be meandering around the Giardini and Arsenale, staggering into friends and acquaintances in a very different location and sharing a snap judgement on the pavilions: from the portentous to the pretentious - and sometimes both.

"This year we have titled our exhibition at Palazzo Bembo, ‘Merzbau, Palimpsest, Collage’, it is definitely one, the other, or both - but Tim Soar’s superb photography will offer the necessary visual clarity and delight.”

MAD Architects (2013 21 for 21 Award)

MAD Architects will unveil a characteristically ambitious design proposal during the 14th Architecture Exhibition. The Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center is currently under construction in Nanjing to a design that looks to blend elements of traditional Chinese culture with modern developments and aesthetics. This is a thread that runs throughout MAD’s portfolio, as they continue to work to the ‘Shanshui’ ethos of ‘spiritual harmony between nature and humanity to the modern urban environment’.

The 560,000 sq m scheme is dedicated to commercial developments with sleek undulating forms that incorporate vertical parks at a variety of levels so that users are able to enjoy the greater outdoors at a height of their choosing. A cluster of low-level buildings is located at the centre of the development, connected by footbridges and animated by artificial hills and flowing water.

At the Biennale, MAD will present the ‘Silhouette Shanshui’, an artwork that lies between model and installation and is inspired by the Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center. The work will be open to the public starting from 7 June.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (2013 Urban Design Award and 2012 Healthcare Sector)

Two-time WAN AWARD-winning practice Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) will be presenting dozens of projects in Venice as part of this year’s Biennale, celebrating ‘60 Years of SOM Abroad’. Displayed at the US Pavilion, the selected projects provide a showcase into the varied and engaging work of this international multidisciplinary.

Notable projects on show include: the King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah which, at the time (1981), held the title of the world’s largest cable stayed, fabric-roofed structure; the light-rich Boots Pure Drug Company headquarters building in Nottingham, UK (1968); and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (1997) which SOM states ‘became a prototype for convention centre design worldwide’.

White Arkitekter (2013 Healthcare Sector)

The Kiruna (Sweden) relocation scheme led by White Arkitekter is to begin construction this month as part of a phased plan which will see the entire city of approximately 18,200 residents moved two miles east. Kiruna is a small city formed in 1900 by the mining company LKAB; the company is now funding the relocation in order to continue its mining activity on the western border of the city.

Having been set a 20-year competition brief, White Arkitekter won the project with a 100-year masterplan which mapped out how the community could harness this opportunity in order to become a more socially, environmentally and economically sustainable city. It is estimated that the first phase of the project - including the creation of a new civic square, a new city hall by Henning Larsen Architects, a new library and swimming pool, and the relocation of a historic church - will take seven years to complete.

The scheme was shortlisted in the WAN AWARDS Urban Design Sector in 2013 and will be exhibited at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale exhibition ‘Time Space Existence’ at Palazzo Bembo and Palazzo Mora from 7 June.

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