WAN Adaptive Reuse Award 2016 Shortlist Announced

Nick Myall
16 Dec 2016

Six shortlisted projects highlighting the best in Adaptive Reuse

The WAN Adaptive Reuse Award 2016 celebrates and promotes the best in international Adaptive Reuse attracting entries from all over the world, providing a global platform for cutting-edge designs.

Following the current trend for sustainable development and preserving the past for the next generation, many buildings are being renovated or redeveloped – a move that significantly reduces both waste and energy, and scales down the consumption of materials. The WAN Adaptive Reuse Award recognises the talent behind these projects and champions the most successful examples of this type of conversion.

This year’s respected jury panel were: Nina Rappaport, Publications Director at Yale School of Architecture & Project Director at Vertical Urban Factory, Michael Booth, Associate Partner at Pollard Thomas Edwards, Mat Cash, Architect and Group Leader at Heatherwick Studio, David Jennings, Director at EPR Architects and Ziona Strelitz, Founder Director at ZZA Responsive User Environments.

The jury were impressed with the high standard of all of this year’s entries and had the difficult task of selecting a shortlist. However, after much discussion, the jury agreed on a shortlist of six, listed below in no particular order:

House of Vans London in London, UK by Tim Greatrex Architect + Pete Hellicar

The House of Vans London is a new mixed use creative venue for Vans enthusiasts and those interested in skateboarding culture, established as a place to participate in the cultural lineage of skateboarding that has defined the Vans brand since 1966, combining skateboarding, art, film and music. The project sits within the 150 year old brick arches below the railway lines heading out of Waterloo station and next to London’s famous graffiti street, Leake Street.

Nina began by saying why she felt the project deserved a place on the shortlist: “For the innovative form that follows the function and the existing underground structure as well as the originality of program that maintains the use.”

Mat was also impressed and liked the way the various sectors of the complex linked up, saying: “I think it’s really beautiful the way the different areas snake through. I think this is an interesting functional use to something so deep.”

He also liked the way the project was lit and the atmosphere that was created: “The functions react well to the lack of natural light, there are some nice spaces and it feels atmospheric, I think it a good and interesting project.”

Imagine Studio in Mumbai, India by Studio Lotus + GPL Design Studio

An adaptive re-use project in Mumbai, the Imagine Studio weaves nature, heritage and urbanism through a compelling narrative of evolving contexts.

The Imagine Studio project replaces a large industrial campus in Vikhroli, a site integral to the Group’s history. It is here that seeds of a modern, integrated industrial township were planted, realized and are now being taken forward into the 21st century with the contemporary mixed-use master plan of ‘The Trees’.

Commenting on the project David said: “The use of materials is appropriate for its industrial location and heritage. I think there are so many components to this project that simply can’t be dismissed.”

Michael was impressed with the quality of the conversion: “I really like this project. The fact that the side walls and pipe work have been retained and made into something much more appealing. I think this project recognises and honours its industrial heritage in a significant way. It’s been done beautifully, I think it’s a wonderful conversion, I just love it.”

Yingliang Stone Archive in Beijing, China by Atelier Alter

This rehabilitation project converts a storage space into a stone archive: to showcase the diversities of stone craft and to create a space for architects to contemplate their designs with stone.

From rough to fine, stone processing begins the moment drill bits measure across the landscape and cut enormous cubical volumes of stone from the mountains. The project departs from this notion by imagining the seven metre high storage space into a complete piece of stone.

Ziona was impressed with the building's purpose and realisation in celebrating stone: “This is very beautiful, and a powerful way to promote a more considered focus on materiality in buildings. A great exemplar - if only we had something like this for more products in more places.”

Mat went on to say: “I think the façade is interesting and the interiors are beautiful.”

Au Pont Rouge in St Petersburg, Russia by Cheungvogl

Au Pont Rouge, Multi-space in Saint Petersburg, Russia is conceived as an open exhibition retail space around a robotic system within the restoration of the 110 year old iconic department store.

Following the revolution in 1919, the building was renamed and converted into Volodarsky Sewing Factory and in the 1930s, the original cupola was demolished. In 2011, the cupola was reconstructed and the building underwent functional and architectural transformations to restore Au Pont Rouge to its original state as a world class department store in Saint Petersburg.

Ziona liked the distinctive approach to retail design: “This is radical - it addresses the issue of legacy department store buildings in the wake of online shopping. For me it's totally transformational in rethinking retail space as a versatile experiential environment - a really exciting project for the fourth industrial revolution.”

Torsby Finnskogscentrum in Värmland, Sweden by Bornstein Lyckefors Arkitekter

Bornstein Lyckefors Architects has transformed a modest school building in the deep forests of Värmland, Sweden, into a public museum celebrating the slash-burn agriculture of the Finns who settled in the very same forests in the early 1600s.

In 2013, Värmland's Museum decided to invest in new premises for its branch Torsby Finnskogscentrum. Commissioned to tell the story of the Finns who settled in the forests of Värmland, Sweden, the museum saw an increased relevance in this story, relating it to today's narrative of global migration.

Mat was impressed with the way they project reflected its local region: “I think this project says a lot of things about how architecture should be contextual, by taking the materiality of the region and applying it there. I also think it says a lot about how architecture has a story, which evolves and changes, and this project allows that to happen.”

Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse Transformation in Lønstrup, Denmark by JAJA & Bessards’ Studio

Ferocious pounding storms constantly move and shape the fantastic dune landscape on the northwest coast of Denmark. In 1968 an enormous sand dune devoured Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse leaving the tower as the only remaining structure, poised on the edge of the rapidly eroding cliff.

This spring the lighthouse was reopened and retrofitted with an architectural installation that gives the public the last chance to enjoy the unique vistas and wild dynamic spectacle of nature, from the top of the lighthouse.

Mat was particularly impressed with the reopened lighthouse: “Beautiful, experiential and nicely detailed, I would love to see this project.” 

While Ziona went on to say: “I love this project’s engagement with the structure despite its limited life cycle. They've invested in it for the short term peak experience it uniquely offers. Like the now ubiquitous ‘pop up’, only ‘drop down’ - enjoy it while it lasts!”

Finally, David thought the interpretation of the brief was well executed: “I think, they’ve taken a brief and really run with it and taken it to another level, it’s poetic.”

The jury also wanted to commend outside of the shortlist The Elysian located in Los Angeles, USA by David Lawrence Gray Architects, AIA

The former Metropolitan Water District (MWD) 8-story office tower designed by acclaimed architect William Pereira was completed in 1973. It has been vacant for almost 20 years after MWD’s departure in 1993. 

The tower has been restored and converted to 96 residential units, 13 of which are new 2-story penthouses added to the top of the building. The original mid-century office design was adapted and enhanced to create comfortable contemporary loft-like apartments. Stripping the building of some of its dated materials, it has been upgraded with contemporary features while maintaining the original modern architecture.

Michael liked the way the buildings unique qualities had been preserved: “Adapted in a way that holds the character of the original building, which has been sensitively done.”

While Ziona was impressed with the quality of the finished project: “I feel that out of the conversions to residential we have seen, this is by far the most refined. With the huge wave of conversions from office to residential, if they were all at this standard our cities would be better places.”

WAN AWARDS would like to thank the jury and congratulate all six finalists and commended entry in the WAN Adaptive Reuse Award 2016. The final winner of this award will be announced on 10 January 2017.

Nick Myall

News Editor

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