Over the past year, WAN has focused on celebrating the material choices made by architects around the world, looking at newly available technologies and considering how firms across the full spectrum of architectural design have utilised traditional techniques as well as the latest innovations to the benefit of both the client and end user.
At the end of last year the WAN AWARDS team launched the Wood in Architecture Award, won by Pir II with their stunning NINA project in Trondheim. This category will open for another round in a few months’ time but this year we have also introduced Concrete, Metal and Glass into the WAN AWARDS programme to celebrate the transformational effects that the intelligent use of these materials can have within the architecture field.
For the inaugural WAN Glass in Architecture Award, we invited five professionals experienced in using the material to lend their expertise in collating a shortlist from the longlisted submissions.
Brent Richards, Principal at Transpolis Global Urban Design & Architecture provided his knowledge of innovations within the field of glass in architecture, including the integration of natural light through the medium of glass; James O’Callaghan, Founding Partner of Eckersley O’Callaghan gave insight into how the projects met the stipulations in the brief, having worked on a range of glass-led projects for Apple, amongst other high-end clients; and Sudhir Jambhekar, Senior Partner at FXFOWLE brought his 40 years of experience to the table, having worked on a wide range of scales and sectors.
Also joining the jury panel were: Paul Vick, Founder of Paul Vick Architects, whose extensive travelling and experience working with listed buildings gave a new dimension to the panel; and Thom Walsh, Principal and Director of Airports at Fentress Architects, who was able to provide insight into the integration of glass in infrastructure projects and similarly large-scale developments.
The shortlisted projects for the 2014 WAN Glass in Architecture Award are as follows:
This temporary structure for the ‘Luminale’ light festival in Frankfurt was well received by the panel for its use of prisms and the aesthetic appeal within the public space. The funnel-shaped installation was constructed using hundreds of single glass members which catch the subtle integrated lighting as night falls. James O’Callaghan thought it was ‘a beautiful installation which effectively resolves a complex geometrical approach with relatively simple glass elements joined in a relatively simple way’.
The combination of sharp lines and smooth curves within this French public library by archi5 were highly valued by the jury panel, with Sudhir Jambhekar admiring how the architects managed the blurring of internal and external boundaries. Thom Walsh noted that ‘the transparency creates a sense of openness to all’, also highlighting how the ‘siting of the building is respectful of its context’ within the ancient drill yard of the Bosquet barracks in Mont-de-Marsan.
The most colourful additional to the shortlist was the Westchester Reform Temple by ROGERSPARTNERS Architects+Urban Designers in Scarsdale, New York. Paul Vick and Brent Richards were quick to applaud the firm’s choice of using mirrored glass to reflect the subtle hues in the vicinity of the building rather than using a traditional stained glass approach.
This sentiment was echoed by James O’Callaghan who affirmed: “I particularly like the way this submission describes how the design team developed and evolved the idea through experiments, testing and failures. It shows a level of tenacity to get to the right solution.”
‘Elegant but not overplayed’ was the overarching consensus as this discrete and elegant form was presented to the panel. Each member of the jury highlighted the clear reflection of the brand aesthetic within the design, with Sudhir Jambhekar noting ‘it is still fresh although it looks familiar at first glance’. James O’Callaghan was excused from judging this particular project as he worked directly with the design team, however he did explain that ‘the glass wall structure supports a traditional steel framed roof resulting in complete column elimination and a very thin roof’, a rarity in completed buildings worldwide.
In direct contrast to the sharp edges of the Apple Store, CetraRuddy Architecture’s Lincoln Square Synagogue features a rolling glass façade in rich shades of gold. The building has been designed to foster a sense of community for the modern orthodox congregation in New York, with Brent Richards and Paul Vick agreeing that the design was ‘very effective’. Thom Walsh concluded: “I love the contrast of the masonry edges capturing the rhythmic movement of the undulating layers of glass wall.”
The only infrastructure project making it to the shortlist is the Pudding Mill Lane DLR Station by Weston Williamson + Partners, forming part of the post-Olympics legacy in London. Our panel praised the design team for their ‘admirable’ integration of glass into an infrastructure scheme, with James O’Callaghan stating that this ‘will be a station with a quality feel that we are thankfully beginning to see more prevalent in our public transport hubs’. Transport expert Thom Walsh was keen to draw attention to the ways in which ‘the designers utilised an ingenious use of glass to enhance wayfinding while maintaining solar control’.
Congratulations to all shortlisted teams and their clients, and thank you to our expert judges for their valued time and expertise. The winner will be announced in an upcoming issue of News Review.