21 for 21 shortlist announced

Faye Chalmers
21 Apr 2015

Final shortlist released for the last 21 for 21 award

It is with mixed emotions that we are announcing the last ever final shortlist for the WAN 21 for 21 Award 2015 – a celebration of those architects that could be the next leading lights for the 21st century. Over the past five years we have seen such a variety of inspiring presentations enter this competition, and it all comes down to this one, where the last place available will be awarded.

Our panel of experts, who are always eager to assess the entries in this unique competition, were: Andrew Best: Partner at Buro Happold, David Bickle: Partner at Hawkins\\Brown, Angela Dapper: Senior Associate at Denton Corker Marshall, Angus Morrogh-Ryan: Co-Director of De Matos Ryan & Peter Murray, Chairman of New London Architecture (NLA).

The shortlist was made up of 12 entries this year, consisting of (in alphabetical order):

Adept ApS

Kicking off the shortlisted entries was Adept Aps, and Angela Dapper was quick to comment that she though their work was “really interesting, I like it and I like the sense of scale throughout”. Adept is based in Copenhagen, Denmark and works within the field of architecture and urbanism with a specific focus on the human scale in cities and buildings. 

Ball-Nogues Studio

With an integrated approach, “combining design and fabrication practice operating in the territory between architecture, art, and industrial design”, the panel were inspired by the many forms and structures created by the studio. Angela Dapper commented that “they are not afraid of exploring different forms and materials”. And this summed up their diverse and hugely interesting presentation. Finally Peter Murray summarised the entry, stating that they have “a nice range of works”, firming up their position in the final 12.

Comas Pont Arquitectes slp

Praised for having ‘beautiful’ work; Andrew Best was first to champion this entry, labelling them inventive and having completed a “nice job with a small budget”. The other panellists were in agreement that this firm definitely deserved a place amongst the finalists. Comas Pont are a young architectural practice based just outside of Barcelona with a special interest in social architecture. 

Daigo Ishii + Future-scape Architects

Angus Morrogh-Ryan was the first jury member to “declare an interest”, then going on to say that “the quality of the detailing in the architecture is impressive” and the rest of the panel were in complete agreement that this firm had certainly presented something original and therefore deserved a place amongst the shortlisted projects. 

Haugen/Zohar Architects

Based in Oslo in Norway, artist and architects Marit Justine Haugen and architect Dan Zohar have founded their practice and state that “for us, architecture is by its nature, earthbound. Drawn by and for people.” Our panel of experts found their work to be intriguing and once more, there was a unanimous decision to award a shortlist place. Angus Morrogh-Ryan made a great point in noticing that the projects were “very sensitive responses to really particular issues; there is a narrative that comes first”.

H&P Architects

Based in Vietnam and founded by Doan Thanh Ha & Tran Ngoc Phuong, H&P Architect’s work has been hugely celebrated recently, not only by WAN Awards but also a host of other competitions from around the globe. Our panel were extremely excited to see their work, and weren’t disappointed. Andrew Best led the feedback in saying that “I really like the variety of scales, from the very low cost lavatory, shaped with low cost planting and the fact that they are using the same idea on much bigger commercial projects and again, bring planting with a much bigger budget.” 

Knight Architects

Established in 2006, Knight Architects are a specialist architectural consultancy working exclusively in the field of bridge and infrastructure design. Peter Murray pointed out that “The importance of architecture in making bridges is essential, because engineers didn’t for so long.” They have produced some spectacular projects across the world, and the panel were in unison when deciding whether to put this presentation through to the shortlist. Angela Dapper was delighted by their works, and felt that their projects were “all very well done”.

Lateral Office

Based in Toronto, Canada, they have described themselves ‘as an experimental design and research based practice that operates in the intersection between landscape, architecture and urbanism.’ The panel have selected Lateral as contenders for the shortlist with Peter Murray pointing out that their work “seems to be incredibly responsive to what is going on in Canada”. Our panellists were in agreement that they should hold a place on the shortlist.

Omar Gandhi Architects

Selected for their ‘simply stunning’ architecture, and as Angela Dapper commented “their work is really interesting”, the discussion turned to their clear path forward, into other areas of architecture. Angus Morrogh-Ryan pointed out “it seems that there is a clear trajectory into bigger master-planning work” and the panellists were in agreement with him and all championed the entry to be part of the final shortlist. 

People’s Architecture Office

With their office located in Beijing, China, The People’s Architecture Office presented a host of innovative architectural solutions to some practical and social issues that a practising architect would come across working in this part of the world. The panel were delighted with their works, especially the Courtyard House Plugin System and the Tricycle House, with Peter Murray stating that “they have taken a pretty standard Chinese contemporary building form and have broken it up into more manageable, social, human scale structures.


Based in Brooklyn, New York, United States, SO-IL describe themselves as “an idea-driven design office that brings together extensive experience from the fields of architecture, academia, and the arts.” The panel really liked their style and ideas brought forward to the jury session. Working on a range of scales and locations, they were a promising prospect to the judges and so were awarded a place in the shortlist.

Synthesis Design + Architecture

Ingenuity and technology played key roles in the final presentation from Synthesis design + Architecture, much to the delight of the judges. Based in Los Angeles, United States and having worked on a number of inventive projects around the globe, the studio profiles themselves as a “contemporary design practice exploring design at the intersection of performance, technology and craft”. The panel agreed with this statement and were excited to see where their work would take them next.

So there you have it, the final shortlist in this hugely popular award. We would like to take the opportunity to thank our wonderful panellists over the years, and of course, to all those entries not listed here for their participation. We release the winner announcement this time next week, so keep your eyes peeled!

Faye Chalmers

Awards Manager

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