The WAN Civic Buildings Award is a major international competition which celebrates amazing architecture designed for the public realm. This category strives to show how attractive and innovative solutions can be found to resolve the challenges faced in designing public architecture. The judging panel includes world leading industry professionals, Renato Benedetti, Partner at McDowell + Benedetti, Edward Jones, Director at Dixon Jones, Cara Lee, Founder of Lee + Mundwiler Architects and Larry Malcic, Design principal at HOK.
After hours of deliberation, the judges were in almost unanimous agreement with the selected shortlist - a variety of architectural projects of varying scales, with coherent, appropriate responses to their function and context.
The final shortlist selection was as follows:
The Moesgaard Museum, set in the hilly landscape of Skåde outside Aarhus, Denmark fuses together a mixture of architecture, nature, culture and history. The interior of the new Moesgaard Museum is designed as a varied terrace landscape, inspired by archaeological excavations that gradually unearth the layers of history and expose lost cities. All the judges were impressed with the detailing of this project with Edward commenting: “This is distinguished work in many respects, a bold and strong idea”. Cara was also taken with this project mentioning, “it is a well-designed and executed project that fits beautifully into its surrounding.”
Santa Margarida de Montbui was hit by the great immigration wave of the nineteen fifties and sixties and turned into a dormitory town on the outskirts of Barcelona. This Cultural Centre has been designed to be a flexible space which can be used for a variety of purposes. With a multi-purpose room/auditorium, library and classroom this truly is a great meeting place designed for the local population and strengthening the community. The judges were all impressed with the level of design and enjoyed the concept of a container with infinite possibilities. Edward thought this project was very cool and clear commenting: “I think it has a dignity about it as a building and it’s not trying fashionable tricks, its straightforward and its plan works quite well. I think this is a contender myself.” Larry also added: “I like the simplicity of the project as you said, I think this is conceptually strong”.
Located in Manalapan, New Jersey the Monmouth Battlefield State Park Visitor Center is a portal to a historic battlefield that figured prominently in the American Revolutionary War. Through its siting and generous use of large expanses of glass, the pavilion dramatically changes the visitor experience and frames views of the battlefield that were previously obscured. The building also incorporates a number of sustainable features that contribute to its LEED Silver certification. Renato was impressed with this particular project, the simplicity of a shed and its filigree commenting: “They have done a really good job of being restrained here and made the most of their budget, it’s very nice and simple, I like it”.
dlrLexicon is situated in Dublin, Ireland and was the response to the need to reconnect the town and harbour by means of a new public place anchored by a civic landmark, and secondly to provide a multi-media library and cultural hub for the whole community. The materials of the building are spare. Granite and bronze will wear well and develop a patina with time. The judges were really engaged with this project and Edward put his opinion forward commenting: “This is very poetic and a stunning piece of sonography, this in a sense is a vestibule for Ireland as a library and showing civic literature.” Larry also thought this project was a major contender saying, “I think this is beautiful and I would certainly put this through to the shortlist”.
Located in the southeast of Hoi An, a tourism destination in the middle of Vietnam, this area remains poor with low living standards. Cam Thanh Community House was built to provide linkage between the local and different social, scientific and economic groups which are interested in strengthening the connection with Cam Thanh, creating more tourist opportunities and contributing to the sustainable development of the commune. The structure is simple with the efficient usage of local resources and materials such as vine and coconut leaves, bamboo and adobe brick. All four jurors thought this project was inventive and Cara put forward her thoughts saying: “This is one of the notable projects coming out of the region where the strong traditional architecture collides with western architecture. The architect navigates neatly what to take and what not to take from them both, and the end result is refreshing, serving people with comfort and permanence surrounded by their familiar environment. This is an excellent example that can be served as a hybrid typology for many more to come. Job well done!”
The Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building located in Boston, United States houses the Boston Public Schools (BPS) Department and plays a central role in reactivating Dudley Square, the neighbourhood’s transportation hub and commercial centre. The existing historical façades of the Ferdinand (1895), Curtis (1888) and Waterman (1890) buildings have been comprehensively restored and stitched together into a bright new building. Referencing the old buildings, the central volume of the new municipal centre embodies a time-honoured approach to craftsmanship in construction. Renato started the positive comments off by saying: “I’ve got to say I applaud the brick work, the skills are not there anymore so this costs an arm and a leg now and you have to be fully committed, I think this is skilful and well handled”. Edward added to this saying: “This building defiantly has character in distinction, and contrasts with the buildings that already exist”.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to all who entered and congratulations to the six finalists of this award. From this six, an overall winner will be announced in News Review, on 08/09/15.