Six shortlisted projects celebrated

Tuesday 06 Jan 2015

Historic projects that have found new life celebrated by WAN Adaptive Reuse Award

The WAN Adaptive Reuse Award once again saw a generous helping of amazing entries from all over the world into this exciting award. Looking at renovated, restored, redeveloped or recycled buildings this category was both diverse and changeling for the jury. 

Making the selection of the shortlisted six projects from the line-up were our esteemed panel of jurors: John Assael, Founder of Assael Architecture; Jonathan McDowell, Partner at McDowell + Benedetti; and Sandy Wright, Co-Founder of Wright & Wright.

First selected for the shortlist was the National Design Centre, Singapore by SCDA Architects. This former chapel has been transformed into a flexible exhibition space-cum-auditorium. The intervention is minimal with the major sculptural elements conserved, with only a veil-like folded aluminium mesh screen ceiling installed to frame and enhance the features. Jonathan McDowell was very taken with the project commenting: “They have done this very beautifully.”

Next was the Shepherd's Bush Pavilion, UK by Flanagan Lawrence. Grade II listed and originally constructed as a cinema, the building has been transformed into a four-star, 320-room hotel with associated leisure and retail facilities. This project achieves a careful balance between old and new, mooring the project's pivotal position in Shepherd’s Bush, a catalyst for the continuing regeneration of the area. John Assael commented: “I think it’s fabulous; a definite yes.”

Another outstanding project selected was the NOAA Inouye Regional Center, USA by HOK. The 350,000 sq ft NOAA Inouye Regional Center incorporates the adaptive reuse of two World War II-era aeroplane hangars designed by Albert Kahn, linked by a new addition at a historic landmark site on Pearl Harbor’s Ford Island. All the jury were blown away by the size and achievement of this project and had nothing but good comments, as John Assael said: “Fabulous really; I love all these insertions. It feels warm and I think the use of timber has made a big difference.”

C+D architecture also made it onto the shortlist with their project Musée de la Mer / Museum of the Sea, France. This former premises of the French Research Institution for the Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER) has now been transformed into a stunning Museum. The jury were impressed with the clean lines and detail of the newly-completed project. Jonathan McDowell was impressed with the impact this smaller scale architecture has, commenting: “Its very simple and elegant.”

The Boilerhouse Precinct, Australia by Tanner Kibble Denton Architects was also selected for the shortlist. The development has been continuously used since 1813 as a public institution - first as a school for the new colony’s female orphans, then as a psychiatric hospital and since 1998 as a student campus of University of Western Sydney. All the jury were in agreement for this project to be selected. Jonathan McDowell started the comments off, saying: “Even technically I think it’s doing something quite nice climatically in here, to get the outdoor space to work and the natural ventilation pulling through and so on I think it’s quite sophisticated.” John Assael also made it clear he liked this project saying: “It's beautifully crafted and has beautiful detail.”

And last but not least on the shortlist we have the Brunner Furniture Showroom, UK by McDowell+Benedetti. A new headquarters for international furniture company Brunner, converting an 1890 historic warehouse into a light and spacious gallery showroom and offices. McDowell+Benedetti stripped back the building’s interior to reveal original key features of the building's industrial heritage, including steel beams and sandblasted brickwork which both John Assael and Sandy Wright were impressed with and agreed that it was a very honest project.

Before reaching this final project Jonathan McDowell recused himself from judging and left the room so that we could conduct a fair verdict. Sandy Wright really liked the project commenting: “It stands above some other projects in its beautiful detail.” John Assael also made some great comments: “It has been well done it feels like an art gallery. When you look at what it was before its been lifted. I like the big door, the little details lift it and change it from being interiors to architecture.”

So congratulations to all who entered those who made to the longlist, and especially those who are now shortlisted in the 2014 WAN Adaptive Reuse Award. This was a particularly hard category to judge given the mass of inspiring and creative entries.

Francesca Maw
Senior Awards Co-ordinator


Other great comments by projects that didn’t quite make the shortlist:


John Assael - “Its interesting because these old sheds they have kept the steel work and just opened it up so you have a memory of what was. It's very bold isn’t it”

Spaces - Red Elephant by SevilPeach Architecture + Design

Jonathan McDowell - “From quite an overbearing building they have created a nice airy delicate space to work in”

John Assael - “I think it’s very good. It’s a hell of a challenge”

Bombay Sapphire Distillery by HEATHERWICK STUDIO

John Assael - ”It’s pretty special really”

Walker Tower by CetraRuddy Architecture

John Assael - “This is beautifully delivered, high quality. I could live in here”

SCADpad by Savannah College of Art and Design

Sandy Wright - “Of all the car park conversions we have seen this is defiantly pushing the boundaries of typology. Interesting idea” 

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