The WAN Future Projects Civic Buildings Award 2016 is a celebration of excellence for ‘design only’ projects promoting concepts that push this typology, recognising vision and progressive thinking within this sector.
This year’s respected jury panel within the Future Projects Civic category were: Sarah Williams, Principal at S Williams Architects Ltd, Eva Jiricna, Founder at Eva Jiricna Architects, Róisín Heneghan, Co-founder at Heneghan Peng Architects and Gordon Gill, Founding Partner at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.
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:
Mass Extinction Memorial Observatory (MEMO) in Portland, UK, by Adjaye Associates
The Mass Extinction Memorial Observatory (MEMO) will comprise a monument to the world’s extinct species and an adjacent biodiversity education centre. Conceived as a continuous spiral of stone, it will be carved with images of the 860 species assessed as extinct since the dodo.
Sarah began by saying why she felt the project deserved a place on the shortlist: “A simple and contextual structure sitting serenely in its landscape.”
The site will be an ongoing monument, with more stones added into the future if more species become extinct. The spiralling arrangement is inspired by a turreted gastropod fossil, found in particular abundance in Bower’s Quarry, the ‘Portland Screw’ (Aptyxiella portlandica).
Eva was also clearly impressed and went on to say: “A very consistent, imaginative and inspirational object.”
Kokillen - Iron Industry Museum in Fagersta, Sweden by Bornstein Lyckefors Arkitekter
“Kokillen” is a black iron imprint formed by the site and program moulded in a volume that relates to the situation and public space surrounding it. It’s also a building that tells a story about the reason why there is a city in the first place. That’s a story starting with one material - the extraction of iron.
”Kokillen” Ekomuseum, is assembling 60 heritage sites in Bergslagen Sweden in a new Iron Industry museum. One of the sites, The Engelsberg ironworks, is considered to be one of the finest industrial monuments in the world, and was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1993. The sites include wooden manor, parks, smelting houses, blast furnace, forges, hammers, waterwheels, rapids, pig iron and bar iron production.
Gordon like the way the planned project fitted into its context: “Beautifully developed. A powerful concept that is appropriate to its context and artfully introduces a new typology into a rich history and context.”
Sarah felt that the metalwork was noteworthy and concluded by saying: “Interesting use of black iron for façade/strong front elevation/simple form of building.”
National Museum of Memory in Bogotá, Colombia by estudio.entresitio and MGP arquitectura y urbanismo
This project is the winning entry of the international competition for building the National Museum of Memory in Bogotá, Colombia and it is a joint venture between the Madrid-NY based practice estudio.entresitio and the Colombian firm MGP arquitectura y urbanismo. The Museum is part of a very important governmental effort to honour the victims of the Colombian conflict in their path towards peace and construction will hopefully break ground in 2017.
Gordon began by saying: “The concept is clear and the desire to retain public space by artfully touching the site is unique and results in beautiful spaces.”
Sarah added: “The building forms are underpinned by exhibitions and layout which create interesting volumes and interplay between various elements - exciting section, complex yet simple and very sculptural within the landscape.”
Eva concluded with: “A very important project which reminds us of a tragic past. Architectural expression in this context is itself something of a ‘screen’, completely dissociating itself from the local conditions.”
Fraserburgh Town Hall in Aberdeenshire, UK by Moxon Architects
The restoration and reconfiguration of the existing Category B Listed 1-3 Saltoun Chambers and adjacent former Police Station allows the two buildings to function together as an effective and welcoming public building at the heart of civic life in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire. The proposal includes a new extension to the rear of both properties that will provide circulation and meeting accommodation for public and council use.
Gordon was impressed by the use of materials saying: “Contextually appropriate, the transparency lends an interesting expression as it reveals space through the evening. Simple, yet rich in materials.”
In addition to the accommodation requirements, the building will provide a welcoming public facing entrance and ‘front of house’ for the council and its activities. The techniques used in the proposal combine traditional masonry with modern glazing and precision steelwork fabrication.
Sarah was also impressed with the materials used on the project and the way they revealed details: “This building is beautifully detailed with a clever juxtaposition of materials with a listed building as its backdrop - a veil over the heavier stone allows glimpses of the original building which is intriguing.”
Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center in New York City, USA by REX Architecture
On the most significant site in New York City, the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center (The Perelman Center) will premiere works of theatre, dance, music, film, and opera, transforming Lower Manhattan into a vibrant, global cultural heart.
Gordon opened the comments saying: “A strong and simple expression of form yields a powerful statement within a context that requires thoughtfulness and restraint.”
The design of the building is inspired by The Perelman Center’s mission to defy experiential expectations. It embodies the Center’s aim to foster artistic risk, original local productions, and worldwide collaborations; stand as the world’s most technologically connected and advanced venue; and engage the local community.
Sarah went on to say: “Simplicity of volume but animated through the façade – this could be very beautiful - it’s a simple plan that offers flexibility and the internal spaces look enticing and atmospheric.”
Roisin summed-up by saying: “Diagrammatically clear, a strong simple form whose play is in the space between the theatre and the skin.”
Guggenheim Helsinki in Helsinki, Finland by Griffin Enright Architects
The Guggenheim Helsinki museum proposal creates a new relationship between art and the city. Hovering over the ground, the museum creates a new urban space and art park with a multitude of public spaces at the edge of the Gulf of Finland. The building postures itself at the end of Eteläinen Makasiinkatu and frames a view to the harbour. As an iconic figure, the museum changes as one views it from the city, the park, the street, or the water.
Commenting on the project, Sarah said: “The design fits the Guggenheim brand - innovative, sculptural and fluid - interesting internal spaces created. This will attract the visitors!”
An inner street that ends in a courtyard and covered plaza parallels a renewed pedestrian path along the water’s edge, providing connections to the city while a new pedestrian bridge connects to the park beyond. This amount of openness and accessibility is in deliberate response to the client’s stipulation of such “Nordic ideals”.
Gordon summarised on this future scheme by commenting: “An interesting project and nicely developed.”
WAN AWARDS would like to thank the jury and congratulate all six finalists in the WAN Future Projects Civic Award 2016. The final winner of this award will be announced on 14 March, 2017.