We are delighted to announce the winner for this year’s WAN Concrete in Architecture Award: Niigata City Konan Ward Cultural Center submitted by Chiaki Arai Urban & Architecture Design in Niigata City, Japan. Congratulations! Running for the first time last year, the award celebrates bold, progressive designs that are exploring new directions in this highly versatile material. Stigmatised on the one hand, celebrated on the other, concrete has been appreciated by architects for its revolutionary possibilities.
The judging panel comprised of: Principal of the international architecture and urban planning office MBA/S, Matthias Bauer, Director of World Concrete Forum Ltd Martin Clarke OBE, Director of the C20 Society and Editor of the C20 magazine Catherine Croft and Paul Zara, Director at Conran and Partners. After having reviewed the six fantastic shortlisted projects, the judges unanimously agreed on the winner. The judges felt that this project best fulfilled their criteria; Paul Zara explained “In terms of showing off with concrete this does it for me”.
The project aimed to gather the dispersed library, local museum, community centre and add multipurpose theatre for the new ward created from several surrounding towns. Each of the four zones is connected by a circulation corridor named "Cross Street". The architects took advantage of the unlevelled wetland site. The Centre’s foundation is placed to fill the low part of the land to not only level the height of the building to the next, but to also make use of terrestrial heat. This project applies cutting edge 3-D technology in the use of concrete. 3-D patterns texture the surface. It also uses pleats and penetrates through tight spaces. The rising concrete polygon structure is not merely an expression, but a distributer of sky light and air. As a total effect, “Cross Street” shows diverse expression through time.
Judge Catherine Croft stated this project “shows that concrete is really exciting”. She added “This is defiantly a bold use of concrete and it’s trying to explore something culturally specific to the place. I like the idea of it sitting in some rice fields”. Paul Zara was also very impressed by the project, commenting “It’s pretty stunning really. I’ve never seen anything like it. These images are amazing”.
Well done to Chiaki Arai Urban & Architecture Design! We’d also like to thank our judges for sharing their knowledge and all who took part in this year’s WAN Concrete in Architecture Award.
World Architecture News Intern