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The Building of the Year Goes To An Underground Museum

An underground Polish museum with a ground level rooftop that hosts public activities; a shelter for the victims of domestic violence in Israel; a series of beach hut-style tree houses in Singapore that educates the public about waste pollution – here are some of the winners of this year’s World Architecture Festival.



BY Janice Seow

22 November, 2016


Over 2,000 international architects gathered in Berlin, Germany last week to attend the World Architecture Festival (WAF). Addressing the topic, ‘Housing For Everyone’, stellar architects from Asia, Europe, and the Americas weighed in on global urbanisation and how it is forcing change in the way we think.

Engaging speeches, discussions and debates aside, the three-day festival included a prestigious gala dinner that honoured the Building of the Year alongside other noteworthy accolades – most of which point to community-driven, holistic and sustainable architectural approaches that inspire societal togetherness.

The World Building of the Year was awarded to The National Museum in Szczecin – The Dialogue Centre in Poland. Designed by Robert Konieczny of KWK Promes, the building comprises an undulating public square with an underground museum, adequately addressing the site’s war history, which left a hole in the city centre. “To go underground is to explore the memory and archaeology of the city,” said the judges chaired by Sir David Chipperfield. The jury also added that the design addresses the past in “an optimistic, poetic and imaginative way.”

A new vertical school model accommodating 525 students, the South Melbourne Primary School by Hayball was awarded the Future Project of the Year title for its clever integration of indoor and outdoor teaching facilities alongside differentiated learning environments. The spaces are connected by a central staircase that doubles up as a gathering and interactive learning zone.

Singapore’s first integrated public complex Kampung Admiralty by WOHA was the winning entry in the Commercial Mixed-Use Future Projects category. Catering to an aging population, the building integrates healthcare, social and commercial amenities under one roof. This includes a welcoming People’s Plaza that will foster cross-generational community bonding to promote active aging in place. As opposed to conventional standalone buildings, this integrated ‘Vertical Kampung’ maximises land usage.

The Small Project of the Year went to the ZCB Bamboo Pavilion by The Chinese University of Hong Kong School of Architecture. Situated in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong, the public space is made up of a bamboo grid shell structure constructed based on the techniques of traditional Cantonese bamboo scaffolding. 473 large bamboo poles were bent on site and hand-tied with metal wires, creating a four-storey structure that caters to a seating capacity of 200 people. The judges commended the project for its cutting-edge model that revitalises traditional craftsmanship.

The other winning entry from Singapore includes Spark Architects‘ Beach Hut, which was named the Experimental Future Project. Fabricated using discarded plastic collected from the beaches and seas of South East Asia, the lively beach huts were designed to animate Singapore’s East Coast Park, while providing accommodation for beach-goers. It also serves to educate the public on environmentally detrimental issues caused by waste pollution in the sea.

Other winners of the WAF include Amos Goldreich Architecture and Jacobs Yaniv Architects’ Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence in Israel, Near Tel Aviv, Israel (Health Future Projects); Thomas Chung’s Floating Fields, Shenzhen, China (Production Energy And Recycling – Completed Buildings); Arkitema Architects’ Naerheden – suburb of the future, Copenhagen, Denmark (Masterplanning – Future Projects) and many more. See the full list of winners here.

Click here for our coverage on the winners of the INSIDE World Festival of Interiors 2016.


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