Year after year we see newly completed infrastructure schemes and transport hubs, curving bridges and bustling stations, and the shortlisted and commended projects in this year’s WAN Transport Award 2015 are testament to the innovative design solutions required to support a growing global population.
Our fantastic jury panel had many excellent projects to review and after much discussion selected their top six based on a number of factors such as innovation, originality, and how well the design addressed the key challenges of the client brief. For this inaugural WAN Transport Award we looked to three industry experts: Olof Hallberg, Partner at Abako; Anthony Leslie, Vice President at HOK and Poul Ove Jensen, Director of Bridges Architect MAA at DISSING+WEITLING.
First to be selected for the shortlist was Casa- Port new railway station by AREP located in Morocco. The construction of this new railway station is part of an overall urban remodelling plan for a district located on the edge of the port of Casablanca, linking the old city to the north of the urban area. The architecture of the station hall is characterized by its roof, a wide canopy extending beyond the façades to jut out over the square, and it’s supporting columns, which open out at the top to allow light to enter the building through openings in the roof. All the judges thought this project was impressive with a clear presentation. Anthony put forward his comments first “I think this is a very elegant project and it responds very well to the climate”. Olof agreed saying “I agree, this has a clarity, it’s nice that the roof is a separate element. It definitely stands out in the context for being a public importance.”
Frankfurt-based architects schneider+schumacher Planungsgesellschaft mbH were also selected for the shortlist with Ölhafenbrücke (Ölhafen bridge), a curved structure spanning the entrance of an industrial harbor in Raunheim, Germany. Working together with Schüßler Plan Ingeneieurgesellschaft mbH the new white Ölhafen Bridge features a spiralling access ramp leading into a 70 meter span that provides a direct and continuous path for both pedestrians and cyclists. Poul was taken with this project mentioning “I like this, I think it is quite an elegant bridge”. Looking at the connections used between the concrete and steel within the project Anthony added “Whatever we end up thinking about this I just want to say that for some reason I love this.”
Another fantastic project making it to the shortlist was Canary Wharf Crossrail by Foster + Partners. This mixed-use scheme above and around the new Canary Wharf Crossrail Station is the largest infrastructure project in Europe and will connect London from east to west, with nine new stations and 42 kilometres of new tunnels under the city. Located in the waters of the north dock next to the HSBC tower and close to the residential neighbourhood of Poplar, the development’s new public spaces are conceived as an accessible, welcoming bridge between the two areas. Anthony commented on this project saying “I like this, I think that it has a lovely clear diagram including the structure along with the air-filled plastic cushions, the whole thing sits really well.”
Next to be selected was the City of Santa Monica Parking Structure #6 by Behnisch Architekten. Working with Jantzen Studio, this public parking structure in downtown Santa Monica serves several major local and tourist destinations. The façade is pulled away at the diagonal stair, bringing the movement of people to the fore. This serves a twofold purpose: first, to ensure safety in visibility, and second, offering unique ocean views. All the jury were taken with this project with Olof commenting “I think this is excellent, I really like it. It is so well carried out, its design, it’s all very clear and you can see the interiors are light with clear guidance. This really adds something to the street which is quite remarkable for a parking structure.” Anthony added to this saying “Pulling the circulation to the outside is a masterstroke and I like the fact that actually encouraging people to walk and offering a nice view as you walk up and down rather than the usual hideous core stair you end up using.”
AREP were selected a second time for the shortlist with their Qing Dao New Railway Station. Located on the east coast of China, the city of Qing Dao is one of the country’s biggest ports. As in most Chinese stations built on this scale, the arrivals and departures lines are covered over with a “departures hall” – a full-blown bridging structure built over the tracks, from which passengers descend to their departure platforms. The main area of the “Departures Hall” and the seemingly complex shape of the roof can be guessed at from the repetition of a single structural module, which only varies as a function of its spatial positioning. Poul thought this project deserved a space on the shortlist praising its structure and form adding “I like this”. Olof also commenting “in the context of china it’s hard to judge the scale of things, but it is very impressive”.
Finally the last project selected for the shortlist was Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) by HOK. Located in Anaheim, USA this project sets a new precedent for civic-minded transit hubs, transforming a key area of the city into a pedestrian and bike friendly, destination. ARTIC connects more than ten modes of transportation, including future high speed rail, and is one of the most advanced transit centres in the world, employing a high-tech ETFE cladding system for maximum daylighting and environmental control. Prior to this project being selected on the list Anthony recused himself and left Olof and Poul to make the shortlist decision from a conflict of interest. Both judges were very impressed with the project with Olof commenting “I think is a wonderful, I think it fits the criteria and can be part of the shortlist.”
CH2M & Bridges to Prosperity were also commended by the jury with their outstanding Gasura Pedestrian Suspension Bridge. This 50-meter pedestrian suspension bridge across the Campasagüa River in rural Rwanda is a life-changing structure providing safe access to schools, health centres, markets, and jobs for over 1,000 people in the Gasabo-Gasura community. Anthony thought that this project deserved recognition saying “This is a transportation project that is driving change, not a change that it looks gorgeous but a change that involves people with limited technology coming together and building something, and what an amazing outcome”. Poul added to this “I think it’s fantastic”.
Congratulations to the commended and six shortlisted schemes. We would also like to thank all who participated in this exciting category, and also to the judges who used their knowledge and expertise to assess all the projects!
Look out for the winner announcement on the 3rd November 2015.