This year’s WAN Façade Award picking the winner was going to be a challenge.
After much discussion and comparing the merits of each shortlisted project, the team of judges including 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 finally made their decision to award the prize to EPR Architects with their project 24 Savile Row. Congratulations.
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. Art is integrated into the fabric of the building using 10,000 bespoke hand glazed ceramic tiles which adorn the main elevations, a collaboration with renowned ceramic artist Kate Malone from the very start of the project. Each tile has been hand glazed, weighed and fired in a kiln in temperatures topping 1260C and all hand mixed at Kates London studio. Crystalline glazes are effectively three-dimensional and are in four types of differing textures. The tiles reflect and refract daylight, capturing differing moods subtly changing the appearance and tone of the building, depending on the weather and time of day.
Bruce was really impressed with this project and put forward his opinion saying “Looking through the criteria, the innovation lies in this reinvention of existing technology and we should promote bringing back materials. This is lost technology and we should be reinvesting and reinvestigating. Using glass in compression which they did a few hundred years ago, we should be bringing back some craftsmanship in modern façade technology.” Not only taken by the handmade tiles Bruce championed the durability of the façade commenting “This has got something about the design process that has followed through, through the design, the materials, this is a great design with a good rational behind it. To make things really simple but effective is quite difficult. This project has the edge as it responds to its context more than the other projects.”
Another judge giving praise to this project was Max who commented on the location saying “This deals with several layers of cultural issues, being on Savile row is something, in the middle of London in an urban fabric that is so heavy and then you do something that fits in and contrasts at the same time, it’s brilliant. When you see the photo of the building there is a street language and there are subtleties like flush windows towards north, recessed buildings towards east and west, bay windows towards the north so they capture more light, so in terms of performance still delivering, For me this is a winner”.
We would like to offer our heartiest congratulations, not only to EPR Architects for providing such an unforgettable winner, but to every entrant for making this inaugural Façade Award so very special.