Now in its third year, the WAN Concrete in Architecture Award 2017 is a specialist category that recognises bold, daring designs that explore the sculptural and expressive possibilities of this highly versatile material across all building types, whether a private residence or public building. The projects submitted to the concrete category this year really showcased the versatility of this material with dramatic structures across a variety of sectors.
This year’s jury, chosen for their expertise in this category, were: Jason Parker, Partner at Make Architects, Rick Roxburgh, Architect at Grimshaw, Gordon Talbot, Projects Director at Ian Ritchie Architects Ltd. and Elaine Toogood, Senior Architect at The Concrete Centre.
Shortlist listed in no particular order:
“Reflecting on the cleverness and the confidence in not only to make the small perforations in the hallmark finish, which in itself is a very strong finish, but also to paint the outside and allow the inside to contrast with it so greatly, and a very raw finish on the inside is commendable. It’s really well lit, the lighting itself is embedded within the material and there's a civicness to it which I think is really strong.” Rick Roxburgh
“It sits on the ground very well, there’s a gap between the object and the ground which really helps it sit within the existing building. It really express itself as an object and I think it's a very sophisticated piece of design.” Gordon Talbot
“This project has beautiful broad marking, the use of curves gives you a real solidity and sense of mass of the concrete, it showcases a lot of what concrete can bring. There’s a sensuous use of materials, it’s beautiful and well executed.” Elaine Toogood
“The fragmented building form allows the building to merge the external and internal spaces seamlessly. The use of concrete appears as a natural feature. The material contrast provides warmth and solidity, the building feels human and tactile, a home.” Jason Parker
“There’s a lot of different uses of concrete here, I've noticed that in the other materials they’ve chosen to meet materials at a diagonal line which suggests a fracturing and a disorientation. It’s that attention to detail that doesn’t just go through the concrete, it goes through every material that they’ve chosen to use. Overall the concrete is one part of a much greater coherent whole, and it’s really done well in tribute to the Flight 93 event.” Rick Roxburgh
“It's a finish that has all the texture and all the qualities that concrete when it’s used really well - and this is both by the designer and the constructor - can express, and it’s done that with a coolness and a calmness which is really exemplary.” Gordon Talbot
“A calm, simple, sculptural response in a seemingly chaotic context. Reuse and reinvention of a tired building with imagination and a collaborative approach.” Jason Parker
“There’s a very strong civic quality to it and for me the inside is just as clever as the outside, there have been deliberate decisions made to convey two very contrasting feelings of space.” Rick Roxburgh
“I like this one, the concrete works very well. Architecturally the idea of bringing in all the light, the ventilation, the spaces as a concept for urban living, I think that’s quite clever.” Elaine Toogood
“They’re doing a reinterpretation of Taiwanese terraced housing, where they're looking at the existing rules of that type of housing and they’re taking it a step further with materials. I think that it's just beautifully controlled and extremely well executed.” Gordon Talbot
“Huge ambition, great scale and volumetric variation. Concrete inner with a warm shell connecting to the city. Concrete provides a neutrality to the spaces allowing in occupants and providing the focus on content.” Jason Parker
“It conveys this massiveness and emotion that’s associated with the second world war and many of the structures and the way that forms from different viewpoints, convey solidity, structure and transparency. The use of light within the building I think it is very, very clever and emotive.” Gordon Talbot
Commended outside of the shortlist:
“It’s very brave and it's generated a lot of debate about the nature of concrete and architecture, the fact that what it brings to the scheme is not what we’d conventionally think. It's not the structure, it’s not massive so that’s a challenge and that's the reason why we want to commend it. The composition of the facades and the balance of them with the use of other materials, it shifts our understanding about what those materials are bringing to it. The glazing is the heavy bit, when has that ever happened? The concrete is the light bit! “ Elaine Toogood
“There’s an inventive use of materials. It’s very brave and it's generated a lot of debate for concrete and architecture. There's a duality there between the materials.” Rick Roxburgh
WAN AWARDS would like to thank the jury and congratulate all six finalists and the commended entrant in the WAN Concrete in Architecture Award 2017. The final winner of this category will be announced on 11 September 2017.