WAN Performing Spaces Award 2017 Shortlist Announced

Monday 16 Oct 2017

Six unique projects selected for the Performing Spaces Award shortlist

The WAN Performing Spaces Award 2017 showcases excellence in design in this demanding sector, whether an opera house, theatre, concert hall or other live performance space. The award has been established to celebrate and promote the best in international architecture for performing arts venues, attracting entries from all over the world.

Chosen for their passion and experience in this sector, this year’s jury panel were: David Staples, Consultants at Theatre Projects, Barry Pritchard, Architect & Associate at Theatreplan, Sergey Kuznetsov, Chief Architect of Moscow, Paddy Dillon, Director at Allies and Morrison and Len Auerbach, Founder, Chairman and Director of Design, Auerbach Pollock Friedlander.

Shortlist listed in no particular order:

The Market Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa by KMH Architects

“There are a lot of lovely details and touches, such as the exterior seated area. It looks like a place designed for people.” Paddy Dillon

“This is a beautifully assembled and appropriate architectural intervention that scores highly in all aspects accessible, inclusive and loose fit.” Barry Pritchard

“This theatre is so important to the cultural and political freedom of Johannesburg. The sensitivity of the architecture to the community is a serious design goal and it has certainly been achieved.” Len Auerbach

“An interesting addition to and enhancement of the legendary Market Theatre of Johannesburg.” David Staples

“Successful reconstruction with a modern design.” Sergey Kuznetsov

Tara Theatre in London, United Kingdom by Aedas

“Very nice conversion with an interesting addition to a London terraced building. A lot of interesting spaces tightly and creatively fitted inside. Performance spaces which reflect the heritage and culture of the user's - earth stage, good use of brick, wood and natural materials.” David Staples

“The submission is clearly presented, focusing on the building's architectural, cultural and very real theatrical qualities. It links with a diverse community. It is a bold response to very tight urban site and equally tight budget. The earth floor must be unique! I imagine the visual connection between spaces is advantageous creating a bustling community facility.” Barry Pritchard

“This is a wonderful project that shoehorns an extraordinary range of interconnecting spaces and uses into a tiny area. It also manages to capture the specific personality of the client and to make a space that feels rich, welcoming and full of possibilities. With regard to the exterior, the treatment of the existing building is exemplary.” Paddy Dillon 

“Wow! Superb integration of place, within the neighborhood. The scale of the "storefront" invites curiosity and passing through the entry beckons a delight of surprises just right to enable audience performer communication that only can be had by such well done close proximity. Hurrah!” Len Auerbach

St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York, United States by Marvel Architects

“A good heritage building in an extraordinary location. The works create an interesting and attractive garden.” David Staples

“This is an exemplary project to reinhabit a fine old industrial building. The clarity of thought runs from the basic diagram through to rigorous use of a restricted - but beautiful - material palette. The resulting spaces are rich, flexible and intriguing, and the whole is enlivened by enough surreal and witty moments - like the internal garden and multi-coloured neon signage - to bring the whole project to life. This project is a great fusion of discipline, humanity, creativity and expertise.” Paddy Dillon

“A successful reconstruction project, important in terms of preserving the history of the place.” Sergey Kuznetsov

“A wonderful adaptation of a found space to carry on the institution's founding premise from a previous venue. The flexibility and openness is bound together by the insertion of the structural frame.  The transparent clerestory enables a controlled variation of spatiality.  The framework provides the armature for the application of whatever theatrical technical system may be required.” Len Auerbach

Dubai Opera in Dubai, United Arab Emirates by Atkins

“Ambitious project and technically sophisticated to achieve the client's expectations for an epic theatre, international concert hall and prestigious banqueting hall.” Barry Pritchard

“The building with luxurious interiors is integrated into the urban environment and blessed with a completely transparent foyer opens new views of local attractions.” Sergey Kuznetsov

“This project is impressive for the thoroughness of the design thinking, and the conviction with which the basic idea is worked through. The connections to the surrounding public space seem well-conceived. There are some nice touches and details such as the pierced screen facade. And the room itself seems both extraordinarily flexible and impressive in giving shape to such a large volume.” Paddy Dillon

“A well designed application of a contemporary traditional opera house infused with a variety of functional variables. It presents itself as an appropriate icon in an environment of significant architecture.” Len Auerbach

Hancher Auditorium, University of Iowa in Iowa City, United States by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

“A high level of imagery of the object, achieved through filigree work with the plastic of architectural forms.” Sergey Kuznetsov

“The derivation from natural contours creates a bold building. Inside, the foyers seem light, airy and attractive. The secondary space looks delightful, with a lovely and unexpected connection to the lawn outside its glazed elevation.” Paddy Dillon

“A sweep of transparency is welcoming to the public and campus life. The main hall is in keeping with the original 60's vintage multi-purpose hall.  The secondary rehearsal/performance space is a delight by its open connectedness.” Len Auerbach

Ascend Amphitheatre in Nashville, United States by Hodgetts + Fung and Smith Gee Studio

“This is the first project to address urban renewal ecological and energy issues. Integration with the city and consultation with the potential users.” Barry Pritchard

“A project in the world-trend for the renovation of industrial zones in a new public space. Dynamic architectural image, which significantly enriched the city panorama, becoming a landmark city.” Sergey Kuznetsov

“A good gesture of architectural/structural expression linking the urban center to the industrial sense of the river! Theatrical functions are well accommodated.” Len Auerbach

“I liked the reference to the scale and form of the surviving industrial riverside engineering.” Paddy Dillon

WAN AWARDS would like to thank the jury and congratulate all six finalists in the WAN Performing Spaces Award 2017.

The winner of this category will be announced on the 28th February 2018 at our prestigious WAN AWARDS 2017 Event.

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