This year’s WAN Civic Buildings Award again saw a huge number of impressive projects put forward dealing with the fundamentals of public space. Whittling down a longlist of 36, full of extremely strong entries from a variety of backgrounds and locales was always going to be difficult. We were, however, blessed by an expert panel, comprising: 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.
The six shortlisted entries all represent quite a variety of civic projects and also very different cultures. The jury were very pleased with their shortlist selection however this made selecting the winner much harder and it was a case of delving into the richness of the detail and the narrative given in the presentations.
After hours of deliberation, the judges finally came to the decision that dlrLexicon by Carr Cotter & Naessens Architects would be awarded the winning spot in this award, congratulations.
Located in Dublin, Ireland dlrLexicon was the response to reconnecting 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 language of openings is derived from the internal context: wide openings where people sit, frame panoramic views of the landscape, whereas the portico to the sea offers a portrait view of the sea and sky with ships passing over the horizon. Renato was very impressed with the quality of this building commenting: “The huge spaces inside the building work really well for me and they instantly drew me in”. Larry also put forward some insightful comments on this project saying: “I think this is an extremely powerful building, the clarity of the concept and the detail, it does what you want a building to do which is establish a kind of classic simplicity that will stand the test of time. This is a well-mannered building and there is a subtle elegance to this project, yet it is very powerful.” When asking Edward what he thought made this project so effective he said, “It’s beautifully made, it evokes memories of Scandinavia in the absolute sensation of the use of timber against concrete. It takes on a civic role, you can see that the building is gently sloping so it accentuates its importance to the buildings relationship to the Dublin bay with the two churches. This is a winning submission and very distinguished work”.
We would like to offer our sincere thanks and congratulations to Carr Cotter & Naessens Architects for emerging from what was an extremely strong pack to claim this Award. We would also like to offer our sincerest thanks to every entrant to this Award, for contributing to such a rich array of architecture and creating fantastic a debate amongst our jury. Congratulations to all.