The WAN Urban Design Award saw a diverse range of projects spanning the world. The judging panel for the day comprised of: Scott Hunter, Principal of HKS inc (remote); Alan Pullman, founder of Studio One Eleven (remote); Marc Mimram Georgia Watson, Head of the Department of Planning and Research Tutor in the Joint Centre for Urban Design at Oxford Brookes University; and Jason Speechly-Dick representing Atkins Global PLC.
First onto the shortlist in our Future Projects subcategory was the Lower Don Lands: Estuary as Agent for Urbanism (City of Toronto) by Waterfront Toronto. This project immediately attracted the jury and Alan Pullman commented: “This project addresses planning implementation challenges and sustainability at the scale of the city in a convincing way. Waterfront restoration and naturalisation, flood control, habitat restoration and future development are timely issues that are addressed in a thoughtful and elegant manner.”
Next was the Xixian Great City Master Plan (Xian) by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. This project is redefining urbanism in China through a ground breaking series of sustainable achievements and was also well received by the jury, in particular Georgia Watson who recognised: “This one has a bit more gravitas and shows conservation of natural resources”.
Another exciting project selected was the Ram Brewery Regeneration Project by EPR Architects. In the largest of London’s inner boroughs this project is regenerating the heart of Wandsworth, London. In the words of Scott Hunter: “This project is a successful integration of a historic brewery complex woven into the streetscape. It feels contemporary, yet scaled appropriately to the UK context.” Alan Pullman also made some strong comments about this project, saying: “A restrained and respectful approach to this new development within the context of heritage buildings.”
Sasaki Associates made it into the shortlist with their project regeneration: A vision for the district & the campus of Monterrey Tec (Mexico).This project captures the architect’s ambition to rethink the relationship of the university to the surrounding urban setting and also the nature of higher education in Mexico. Jason Speechly-Dick commented on this project straight off the bat saying: “I think that it is such a strong idea because in these very poor communities sport really does bring people together especially in Mexico, so trying to find a mechanism to rebuild a neighbourhood I think they have chosen the right kind of program.”
Marina One by Gustafson Porter - implementation by ICN Design International / Architect: Ingenhoven Architects - was also chosen for the shortlist as this impressive mixed-use development at the centre of Singapore’s business district impressed the jury with its plans to create an international benchmark for design and sustainability excellence. Jason Speechly-Dick spoke for the group, admitting ‘I have to say I quite like it immediately’, and the rest of the panel agreed.
Last up for the Future projects shortlist was the Blueprint for Christchurch Central Recovery Plan (New Zealand) by Blueprint Consortium: Warren and Mahoney, Boffa Miskell, Woods Bagot, RCP, and Sheppard & Rout Architects. This proposal was for a spatial framework for central Christchurch in light of the need for a major rebuild of existing structures, infrastructure and amenities following a series of devastating earthquakes. Each jury member was pulled in by the extent of this project plan and the comments made were very positive. Georgia Watson stated: “They are using all the right information to create the right space in an earthquake zone” and Jason Speechly-Dick’s comments were short and sweet: “It is strong”.
The first project shortlisted in our Completed Projects category in the WAN Urban Design Award was the The Boilerhouse Precinct by Tanner Kibble Denton Architects. This lovely project based in Sydney, Australia got the jury talking as they not only appreciated the adaptive reuse of the buildings but also the surrounding areas. Georgia Watson commented: “Using architecture and the landscape it reads well; it’s part of the same language. There is great thought put into how the spaces and buildings connect with each other.”
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners made it onto the Completed projects shortlist with their development Scandicci Nuovo Centro Civico. Located at the gates of Florence, halfway between Casellina and the old town of Scandicci, the ‘Nuovo Centro Civico’ is a new town centre designed in collaboration with DA Studio. The jury’s first response was ‘this is 30-40 years of classic Rogers!’, followed by Jason Speechly-Dick with, ‘this is quality work’. There was no doubt across the board that this was going to make the shortlist.
Levitt Bernstein’s project Ocean Estate Masterplan (London) was next to impress and was swiftly added to the shortlist. This UK project attracted interest in the jury immediately with the images and plans showing safe external spaces being created between the buildings in these deprived areas. Marc Mimram observed that ‘it is quite simple but it works’ and Scott Hunter commented: “Excellent re-do of tower block public housing. Good urban design practices employed has yielded fresh results with coherent space that can be localised.”
Next on the shortlist was Xi Shui Dong Wuxi (Wuxi) by Kokaistudios. This Chinese project is composed of eight historical buildings built at various times during the historical development of the site. Scott Hunter commented with: “Refreshing example of adaptive reuse in China - preserving a portion of the past and re-imagining it for today.”
Urban-Agency was also selected for the shortlist with The Kalvebod Waves in Copenhagen, Denmark. This new public space on the waterfront gives the harbour a new dimension as recreational space in the centre of the city and it was very well received by all the jury. Alan Pullman started off the positive comments on this project, saying: “This design is open-ended and not overly determined, providing users a strong sense of possibility and interaction with this intervention.” Georgia Watson also commented: “I like the concept of integrating walk ways, the public space and buildings.”
And last but not least to make it onto the shortlist was the SCADpad by Savannah College of Art and Design. This is a community prototype of three 135 sq ft, micro-residences installed in an underutilized Atlanta parking structure. This project is so simple, sustainable and effective. Although very different to the other entries all the jury loved this project. Georgia Watson commented: “We are looking at something that shows social significance. It’s a great concept”.
So that’s it! We have our shortlists. We would like to give a very special thanks to all the practices that entered in this award and for creating such interesting debate for the judging panel.