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Barcelona office scheme wins WAF 2011 World's Best Building award

Spanish practice Cloud 9’s Media-ICT office scheme in Barcelona has been named as the World Building of the Year at the 2011 World Architecture Festival

Chosen by the WAF super jury led by Michael Sorkin at the annual showcase festival in Barcelona, the ‘lightweight’ project was commissioned by the Zona Franca CZFB and @22Barcelona for the ‘experimental district’ in the city.

The judges were impressed by the architects were ‘extreme interest’ in the digital city model ‘where what matters is knowledge, added value and patents.’   

WAF programme director Paul Finch praised the scheme’s ‘scale of ambition’. He said: ‘The architects have taken calculated risk and been bold. It is an achievement which has challenged norms and assumptions. It is a magnet for people interested in a range of ideas and a building which opens up conversations about energy and sustainability.

‘The scheme also invites a discusion abut what architects and architecture can do - especially given that the built environment is responsible for 40 per cent of CO2 emissions.’

The façade is made of south-facing, inflatable ETFE cushions which act a sunscreen in summer and can opening in winter to gain solar energy.

Media-ICT, Barcelona, Spain by Cloud 9, Spain

World Office Building of the Year: Media-ICT, Barcelona, Spain by Cloud 9, Spain

World Office Building of the Year: Media-ICT, Barcelona, Spain by Cloud 9, Spain

The building is 44m x 44m x 37.82m high, with 16,000 m² of commerical space above ground and 7,100 m² below the surface, with capacity for 200 car parking spaces. The victorious scheme was selected from 16 finalists to win the highest accolade in global architecture and is the first win for the host city.

According to the Barcelona-based practice, the scheme’s upper floors (from four to eight) are available’for big companies [while] the second and third floor have small spaces for emergent companies’ and the ‘first floor with the Cibernariun and an auditorium offers a course program open to all the city residents.’

Enric Ruiz-Geli of Cloud 9 said the building should act as a ‘seed for an environmental revolution’. The architect took to the stage with his entire family, saying: ‘This is what happens when you win an award at home.’ His nine-year old son, Iago, had chosen the green colour that dominates the facade.

Looking at his children, Ruiz-Geli added: ‘These are our clients.’

Meanwhile the overall Future Project of the Year award went to Hong Kong-based Integrated Design Associates for its Hanimaadaoo International Airport, Maldives.

Future Project of the Year – Infrastructure: Hanimaadaoo International Airport, Maldives by Integrated Design Associates Limited, Hong Kong

Future Project of the Year – Infrastructure: Hanimaadaoo International Airport, Maldives by Integrated Design Associates Limited, Hong Kong

The new airport, designated as the country’s second international gateway, is intended for an island with very limited land mass.

The practice said: ‘With airfield infrastructure consuming nearly all the available land our concept of a ‘floating terminal’ has been selected by the Government for its innovative, exciting and eco-friendly approach. The proposed terminal is built entirely on stilts over water without reclamation to preserve the existing environment and the natural coastline. With blue sea, white sandy beach as backdrop the new airport aims to provide passengers with a unique and memorable travel experience.

Frank Gehry’s iconic 76-storey tower at 8 Spruce Street, New York won the ‘Structural Project of the Year 2011 with the prize going to engineer WSP Cantor Seinuk.

Frank Gehry's Beekman building in NY

Frank Gehry’s Beekman building in NY

 

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