The jury was struck by the sheer number and variety of entries, but Chetwood Associates' Sainsbury's supermarket emerged clearly as the main prize-winner. This mould-breaking supermarket pushes to the limits aluminium standing seam technology. The flowing roof skin comfortably embraces the innovative organic floor plan, and is metaphorically prised open to admit daylight into the retail area below - a refreshing break from the prettied-up shoe-box approach.
There was no shortage of candidates for the other awards; the more creative ideas for exploiting the properties of aluminium came from younger practices. Daniel Hurd's glazed campanile for St Gerard's Church has an aluminium primary structural skeleton, using expressive aluminium cast connectors, supported on a structural aluminium plate plinth, capped with aluminium cladding.
Jestico+Whiles submitted the most exciting 'finish' to aluminium. The aluminium roof to its House for the Future is covered with grass. This was not strictly eligible for the AFA award and has therefore been given a special prize.
There were many elegant schemes, from both young and well established practices, that made a highly appropriate use of aluminium for an outer skin of louvres for solar shading. Perhaps this emerging trend could be recognised in a special 'louvre' award next time.