Top six vie for inaugural title

Monday 08 Sep 2014

WAN Metal in Architecture Award shortlist

Reviewing the diverse list of entries into the 2014 Metal in Architecture Award were Maximiliano Arrocet, Director of AL_A, Bart Reuser, Founding Partner at NEXT Architects and, providing his expert opinion remotely, was Kenneth Turner of Turner + DeCelles. 

This brand new category attracted entries from all over the world of varying sizes and typologies, and our judges were tasked with assessing the projects based on a number of factors: originality, innovation, form, special quality, sustainability, and how the design addressed the client brief. Also, specific examples of how the building has evolved its building type and incorporated metal as a material to enhance or integrated within its context were key to the judging process.

After careful consideration and debate, a longlist of 25 projects was reduced to a shortlist of 6.

The very original and abstract Ordos Museum in Inner Mongolia, China by MAD architects attracted attention, with the judges commenting on the complexity in the use of metal cladding on a sculptural form. Similarly, SHoP’s Barclays Center in New York impressed judge Kenneth Turner who commented that 'this is a very successful dynamic usage of a metal cladding on a sculptural built form'. Maximiliano also praised the design however ultimately it was the Ordos Museum selected for the short list as it was felt that there was a more holistic approach to the project.

Sol Duc Cabin in Washington, USA by Olson Kundig is a steel-clad, 350 sq ft cabin on stilts and its raw materiality is able to respond well to the surrounding wilderness and changes in season. This and another of the smaller projects, The Maiden Tower in Vorarlberg by Marte.Marte Architekten stood out as effective uses of steel, with Kenneth Turner commenting on the latter: “The architect used a raw oxidising steel façade panel to help establish the industrial aesthetic of the project. I was happy to see the welded edges of the façade panels an expression of how the material can be connected.” Both projects sparked the judge’s interest for similar reasons but the ingenuity of the Sol Duc Cabin won it a place on the shortlist.

Gnome Garage in Almere, The Netherlands by Mei architects and planners with its elegant design and high level of transparency also impressed the judges and secured a place on the short list.

Kew House in London, UK by Piercy & Company, a four-bedroomed family house built in the Kew Green Conservation Area, was selected for the shortlist due to the imaginative way in which the architects addressed a list of planning constraints as well as the effective use of weathering steel in its build.

The Elastic Perspective in Rotterdam by NEXT architects was built for a local art plan; an elastic perspective. The project reflects on the ambiguous relationship of the inhabitants of the Rotterdam suburb Carnisselande with their mother-town, and the judges felt that the project creatively and effectively met the brief and skilfully worked with weathering steel.

Finally the irrefutable Kings Cross Station’s Western Concourse in London by John McAslan + Partners secured a place on the shortlist as the judges unanimously agreed that its tubular steel structure was dynamic, and the design very impressive.

Vehovar & Jauslin’s bus station in Aarau with its air cushion roof and inner free-form steel table, despite not making the shortlist, also commanded a lot of debate and interest from the judges who felt that it would be a winning design in another category.

Sarah Hammad
WAN AWARDS Co-ordinator


Ordos Museum, MAD Architects

“The technique to clad something like this is very neatly solved. Very talented. For me it is a yes.” (Maximiliano Arrocet)

Sol Duc Cabin, Olson Kundig Architects

“The architect clearly understands the physical capabilities of metal as both cladding and structure.” (Kenneth Turner)

“This is a very nice project, and all constructed of steel.” (Bart Reuser)

Gnome Garage, Mei architects and planners

“I like that there is a high level of transparency, it is quite difficult to do.” (Maximiliano Arrocet)

Kew House, Piercy & Company

“The welding is extremely good. I like the project, and I would have loved to seen a bit more detail.” (Maximiliano Arrocet)

The Elastic Perspective, NEXT Architects

“This architect clearly understands the physical tensile properties of the steel being utilised as structure and its ability to rust or protect itself from the external elements of nature.” (Kenneth Turner)

Kings Cross Station - Western Concourse, John McAslan + Partners

“Beautiful usage of tubular steel structure as an understanding of how to build this dynamic complicated geometric shell. The thinness of the steel material allows for an amazing amount of light to enter the space within its delicate lace of the steel structure.” (Kenneth Turner)

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