The WAN Façade Award 2015 is a major international competition that celebrates and promotes the best in architectural façades, attracting entries from all over the world. This award highlights the innovative use of façades and showcases the new technologies that continue to take this transformational building feature into new realms. Façades are arguably one of the most important elements in buildings today. Not only do they often cost more than the structural frame, they define modern buildings in terms of architecture and environmental performance and are at the forefront of advances in technology.
We enlisted the help of some of the industry's top experts on Façades to assess the projects and select the winner. The jury consisted of: Kevin Kavanagh, Façade specialist at CO Architects, Alex Koter, Senior Associate at CO Architects, John Kubassek, Founder & CEO at Engineering Assemblies, Bruce Nicol, Senior AETS Specialist at Dow Corning and Max Rengifo, Director at Astudio.
After much discussion and comparing the merits of each project the judges finally put forward their selection for the top six shortlisted projects. The final shortlist selection was as follows:
The Nanyang Primary School Extension located in Singapore has been designed around a large internalised valley. This project was cleverly achieved through the low-cost budget application of emulsion paint on profiled precast concrete spandrels, as well as coloured shading shelves providing protection against sun and wind driven rain. Kevin and Alex were really taken with this project commenting: “We really enjoyed this project for the absolute joy that one feels when looking at the images. This project had us coming back around multiple times, sometimes second guessing our selection but given its function as a school with young occupants, as well as the fact that this is a renovation, we felt this project deserved recognition. Many projects employed the newest technologies while this one made as powerful use of a visual and dynamic statement as any with very simple materials.” John also thought this project was worth shortlisting saying: “The use of colours enhance the senses of the observer along with the flowing nature of the façade. This design elicits feelings of flow and inspiration; enhancing the learning experience of the students.”
Celebrating the arts and crafts heritage of the local area EPR sought to reference Savile Row’s rich character and culture with 24 Savile Row located in London, UK. Using 10,000 bespoke hand-glazed ceramic tiles which adorn the main elevations, art is really integrated into the fabric of the building. The three different window types; projecting, flush and recessed, with the shadow gaps serve to bring further articulation to the façade. Bruce was charmed with this project from the start commenting: “Facades for me are about setting stages for the street scene, the urban fabric and this does that. It’s a beautifully made façade and a definite yes from me”. Max agreed with Bruce’s comments adding: “This is a beautiful crafted building”.
As the new learning centre of excellence, Kolding Campus houses the courses in communications, design, culture and languages of the University of Southern Denmark. The facade is an integrated part of the building and as daylight varies and changes through the course of the day the solar shading adjusts to suit the specific climate conditions. The solar shading system consists of approx. 1,600 triangular shutters of perforated steel. Alex and Kevin thought that this project was impressive both inside and out commenting: “It challenges the notion that architects should stay away from triangular buildings by doubling down and reintroducing the contextual shape throughout the façade and other building elements. The use of technology of the actuators, along with colour and atypical perforations of the screen establish a commitment to occupant comfort not only felt but observed.”
This façade renewal project of a Louis Vuitton flag shop is a part of an established department store called “Matsuya Ginza” which is located on the most popular and high end shopping street of Tokyo, Japan. Gentle bulges and dents elaborate the façade of opal beige reliefs, and its contrast with shadow reveals various appearances in natural light. To realise the appearance of the fine reliefs, back panel seismic joints are running diagonally and always come to the back of front Star panel, so they are invisible from outside. Bruce was taken with this project saying: “This looks quite good, I like it. It’s very well constructed. I would keep this project in, I really like it.” Max also agreed commenting: “It’s beautiful. This is an exquisite piece of work, I would say yes.”
Wanda Movie Park located in Wuhan, China is a culturally themed indoor theme park. The primary form of the building derives from the Wuhan Bells, a traditional symbol of the local Chu-Han culture. The façade geometry was grouped into two distinct clusters, each big enough to house large scale theme park attractions which are arranged on the ground and upper levels. The decorative golden cladding panels house LED lighting which transforms the building at night. Max thought this project was dramatic and put forward his opinion saying: “Once again we are seeing the relationship between façade function and culture, it’s really interesting.” Bruce also thought there were a lot of clever aspects to this project commenting: “I have to say this is a yes as a contender just because there is a lot of innovation going on here.”
Abode318 is a new Melbourne CBD residential apartment tower designed to ensure every occupant has a view. The wave-like 55 storey building consists of horizontal and vertical waves including individual rooms articulated as protrusions. Abode318’s three-dimensional curve affects wind pressure, which determines the fluctuating amplitude and breaks up downdrafts to protect pedestrians. Max started the positive comments off by saying: “This is a yes from me”. Alex and Kevin also thought this project had merit saying: “This project looks menacing (in a good way). The use of very simple assemblies, structural slab, concrete demising walls, floor to ceiling glazed assemblies, basically the same as 85% of most residential towers, in such an intriguing way merits a thumbs up. It gives a kick in the pants to all those safe and boring approaches. The design inspiration of a lizard’s skin is absolutely recognisable and really helps to introduce intrigue in the overall massing of a very large tower.”
Thank you to all involved and congratulations to the six finalists of the WAN Façade Award 2015. From this six, an overall winner will be announced in WAN’s News Review, on 08/09/15.