The WAN Future Projects Residential Award 2016 showcases the very best in forward-thinking and progressive ‘design only’ projects within this sector.
This year’s impressive and experienced jury members were: Jonathan Allan, Associate at EPR Architects, Petra Gipp, Studio Leader at Petra Gipp Arkitektur, Dan Clarke, Delivery Director at Native Land and Kristian Lars Ahlmark, Senior Partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects.
After much discussion, the jury came to a conclusion on the six shortlisted projects, listed below in no particular order:
Arbutus Street Microflats in London, United Kingdom by Crawford Partnership
There is a growing international demand for additional urban dwellings. This is clearly present within London, where rising house-prices and the scarcity of developable land mean that providing more affordable housing on compact and challenging sites has become a necessity. Architects have been at the forefront of these ideas, and this speculative proposal to redevelop an old warehouse site, which is now adjacent to a London Overground station, fulfils this growing need.
Making use of off-site pre-fabrication, these units can be stacked to create communities quickly and cheaply, meaning that large-scale developments can quickly emerge to provide numerous affordable properties for the young and old alike, and which can readjust the housing market in cities such as London.
The jury were positive about the effect Crawford Partnership’s design could have on the city of London, with Jonathon commenting: “It’s discussing the way that the world is going, and the way the UK is going in the change from live/work, to working within a collective society. The module-ability allows it to be a. contextual and b. can be plugged into different places.”
With Dan adding: “I like that because it isn’t necessarily a new thing, but it’s cost effective and you can do a lot of it for reasonable amounts of money. Hopefully that will mean it will start to tackle the housing issues.”
Marina One Singapore in Singapore by ingenhoven architects
Marina One, a high-density, mixed-use building complex in the heart of Singapore’s new Marina Bay financial district, complements the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) vision of making Singapore a City in a Garden. Singapore´s new Landmark has recently topped out and will be completed at the beginning of 2017.
The high-density, mixed-use building complex is green in both a literal and performative sense. Flanked by two large urban parks, it comprises two office towers, two residential towers and a retail podium set around lush greenery.
Kristian felt the project appealed to everyone, commenting: “This project will offer a breath-taking experience to both people living there, office workers as well as visitors. It’s a truly bold scheme that combines a complex mixed-use program. Although the residential component may not play the main character in this tightly choreographed play, it offers a truly forward thinking in the way we plan future housing.”
Jonathon added his thoughts on the design’s ability to fit in to Singapore’s landscape: "I think that there is so much variation in the architecture, it is a really good response to high density.”
Urban housing in Katrineholm, Sweden by ETAT ARKITEKTER
Urban Housing is a competition proposal for a new building by the main square in Katrineholm, Sweden, containing apartments and a restaurant on the ground floor. The building is designed as a compact, free standing volume in wood. The facade consists of an outer, load-bearing structure in solid wood and an inner, light wood facade with window frames and details in gold coloured anodized aluminium.
The building stretches along the edge of the square, creating a backdrop to the public life. The building and the characteristic outer facade meet the specifications of the competition brief as a contemporary addition, lending the square a civic and festive character.
Dan was impressed with the use of wood and the overall sustainability of the project, saying: “I like this project principally because of the simple use of materials throughout which I think is important genuinely from a sustainability point of view. It used a material that is extremely abundant for the location for which it was built and aside from the materials I think that it is a very balanced and architecturally solution to the housing issue.”
Petra concluded, adding: “An innovative expression of urban housing in the field of tactile materiality.”
Tiny Homes in Chicago, United States by Jay Tsai
Tiny Homes is a hub for ten residential units and two auxiliary spaces. Each unit, with only a gross floor area of 288 sqft, leans on its neighbour to create intimate communal patios which contribute an additional 144 sqft. Although all units are identical in floor plan, their precise location on the site affects the pitch of the roof. To maximize light, all roofs face north, south or both, thereby also adding character to each unit.
According to the 2015 Chicago Homeless Count and Survey conducted by the City of Chicago, 31% of the unsheltered homeless population and 19% of those that are sheltered are between the ages of 18 and 24 years old. Responding to the brief, and taking into consideration the homeless population, the design for Tiny Homes in Chicago is economic in its use of space and resources, but does not compromise in its ability to promote an ambiance of empathy and togetherness.
Petra shared her thoughts on this thought-provoking design from Jay Tsai: “Where architecture and humanity meets, the most innovative and sustainable idea of them all.”
Jonathon highlighted the success of the design, saying: “I think it could well be a very good response to a particular issue and it is really exciting to think about the ideas that it potentially is giving. What it does do, is ask the questions, and you could project yourself into what it could bring into the community and how it is done in a relatively cheap and effective way.”
Brut(e) Épaisse in Nantes, France by titan
This project of ten intergenerational and passive houses proposes a reflection about new way of living, in a rural village with a strong patrimonial heritage. This type of rural habitat offers a new form of density between the dense downtown in the west, and the sparse housing in the east. The project moves into the thickness of the site, creating housing nested in a pedestrian mesh. This form of housing promotes social interaction, and naturally manages the energy resources.
The project establishes connections with the downtown while preserving the existing green breathing. It is snipped, creating organic public spaces in its thickness. These are structured with crisp slices, treated with freestone and soft vegetable connections.
Kristian shared his views on the project, commenting: “Beautifully sculpted dense green habitat. The project integrates several sustainable aspects without becoming a victim to its green idea. Well thought integration of a complex site.”
Jonathon discussed the fact that this project could be used in more areas across Europe: “I like this project because it looks like something that you could imagine being used in expansions of various small towns / villages throughout Europe as part of a slightly more interesting way of expanding those villages. It would make a positive change to the usual kind of house builder of little boxes that occur in those locations.”
Hornsbruksgatan in Stockholm, Sweden by Utopia Arkitekter AB
Utopia Arkitekter has, on behalf of Veidekke Bostad, devised a scheme for a new housing development along Hornsbruksgatan in the Södermalm district of Stockholm. The project involves four buildings altogether – a new metro (T-bana) building and three housing blocks. The three buildings comprise 17 terrace town houses and twelve flats. The buildings are sited on the southern fringe of Högalid Park and include a new public rooftop park.
All ground floors are duplex (two-storey) terrace housing units with separate entrances on the street side. The housing blocks are both beautiful and functional, at the same time presenting smart solutions to a large number of on-site challenges. In addition, the scheme presents a unique and attractive form of housing – terrace town houses – in the heart of Stockholm.
Kristian discussed not only the impressive design, but also the positive affect the project would have on the area as a whole, saying: “A simple solution to a very complex site. The project integrates itself with what seems to be a hostile and steep wall and creates vivid and lustrous terraced housing units. On top of that, it creates a new public park. The street is transformed from backside to front side. Although the residential units are placed at the edge of the public space, this is not invaded in any way. Great detailing in the border zone between public and private in form of elevated terraces, integrated seating niches, small shops etc. Indeed a project that gives back more than it takes, it’s extremely well executed. “
Petra also shared her thoughts: “An innovative project that integrates urban housing and urban landscape, into a contemporary materiality.”
WAN AWARDS would like to thank the jury and congratulate all six finalists in the WAN Future Projects Residential Award 2016. The final winner of this award will be announced on 14 March 2017.