Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

WAF Awards: Best buildings in the world


Prizes for best buildings in all 15 categories have been awarded at the World Architecture Festival in Barcelona

These winners were in the running for the World Building of the Year - a prize eventually won by Peter Rich’s Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre.
Highlights of the judges’ citations are given below.

Shopping winner: Havaianas shop, Brazil by Isay Weinfeld

The Havaianas Shop project responds very well to the street culture of a dense urban area. It is a bold building, indicating a determined dedication to the contributions of Brazil to the Modern Movement. The shop has a significant urban existence - it connects two sides of the street with an elegant and accessible cover. This cover also has an opening to the sky letting in the light and rain, so that the shop has a micro climate of its own. The judges called its elegance and simplicity commendable. more pictures

Holiday winner: Restaurant Tusen, Sweden by Murman Arkitekter

This restaurant in a Swedish ski resort is an appropriate gesture to respond to the environmental aspects and the natural forces of the landscape. The simple birch wood tree trunks piled up in a conical form around a steel and wooden inner structure form an outer skin that protects the building from the harsh climatic conditions of winters.

The uncompromising commitment to modern Swedish design is a loyal gesture to the country’s contribution to modernism. It also indicates architects’ dedication to modernity. At the same time the form, which is based on the traditional use of timber tree trunks, links this project to the cultural and architectural history of Sweden. more pictures

Civic and community winner: Emergency Terminal, Zagreb, Croatia

The judges had a difficult time deciding on a winner in this category, as the architectural scale of the projects varied enormously from the very modest to the grand. In the end they decided to pass over several deserving projects, choosing instead to judge architectural quality rather than function. This regrettably means some of the smaller projects were in the shadows of others with enormous budgets, ambitious clients and large design teams. It proved impossible to compare, for example, a community facility built for £25,000 in west Africa to a British embassy in Algeria. more pictures

Housing winner: The Met, Bangkok by WOHA

The judges had a lot of criteria to take into consideration in the housing category. The rationality of the plan, the comfort of living, new typologies for living and the formation of additional public space to the city were all considered. This year, the main focus was on the strong message that a building sends to other architects and specialists in residential developments. That’s why from 13 shortlisted entries the jury chose the building that brought the most sharp and most detailed realised concept, and that has great potential for the future - the Met in Bangkok by WOHA.

The Met is an excellent attempt to open a skyscraper to the city and to allow its inhabitants to use the building as much as possible. A system of pass ways, sky-parks and swimming pools on upper levels forms a real vertical analogue of the city and creates a new quality of living. more pictures

House winner: Klein bottle house by Mc Bride Charles Ryan

The winning entry for an individual house is based on a Klein Bottle, an intriguing interpretation of an advanced topological mathematical formula. It follows in a long line of houses that previously established the Mornington Peninsula as an important site of architectural experimentation, while also tipping its hat towards Australian vernacular ‘fibroshed’ beach houses. A crystalline clam shell, spiralling joyfully and optimistically to a living room perched above a canopy of tea trees, it evokes on every day of the year the enriching playfulness of being on holiday. more pictures

New and old winner: TKTS Booth by Choi Ropiha, Perkins Eastman and PKSB Architects

TKTS Booth

TKTS Booth

Choi Ropiha, Perkins Eastman and PKSB Architects designed this modest yet important ticketing structure in the middle of new York, at one of the busiest and noisiest (both acoustically and visually) intersections in the world.

The judges admired how the new building recaptured the public ground with clever lateral thinking, making use of the roof in a most welcoming way. It creates a vibrant and welcoming little public stage in the middle of New York’s Theater District, and it does so without compromise, using back-lit structural glass for the steps to achieve superb visibility in a very challenging environment of large towers with glaring light boards and often furious traffic.

The ticket booth and its steps give new life to the existing square and statue of Father Duffy, so that they become a usable and vibrant venue in the heart of the big apple. more pictures

Culture winner: Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre by Peter Rich Architects.

The Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre is designed to house artifacts from the region’s prehistory - the building connects with an extraordinary veldt site in northern South Africa near the border with Zimbabwe. The jury admired the way in which the architecture responded to vernacular African types; synthesising forms, materials and light in a nuanced but unsentimental way to make what is still an indisputably contemporary building.

It is underpinned by a strong social programme, using the skills and labour of local people and involving them in the design and construction process. Engaging with tradition and modernity, place and people, it offers a different view of architecture as a subversive and poetic force for transformation. more pictures

Learning winner: Pearl Academy of Fashion, Jaipur by Morphogenesis

Pearl Academy, Jaipur

Pearl Academy, Jaipur

Although one of the larger schemes in this category, the jury were impressed by the architect’s reinterpretation of known building types and crafts. Local vernacular elements – such as jali screens - merged with a contemporary design aesthetic that gave this building the necessary monumental scale for this industry based educational institution.

Situated in an unoccupied area designated for industrial uses, the building envelope creates a protective internal environment. The interior features triple height courtyards that combine on the lower level to form a communal area and a catwalk that extends over sunken pools. more pictures

Office winner: Unileverhaus by Behnisch Architekten

The eventual winner was German practice Behnisch Architekten, whose took their already outstanding commitment to the development of the sustainable office to new levels. The facade of the building is the first single skin ETFE facade that this jury is aware of, which screens pollution without needing another layer of glass.

The other great merit of the project was how it drew public space into the heart of the plan, creating a mix of uses the jury found convincing. The commitment to sustainability was also amply demonstrated at a detailed level. The judges described it as a fine building and a model project that demonstrates where the next generation of office buildings begins. more pictures

Landscape winner: Adaptation Palettes by Beijing Turen Design Institute

Adaptation Palettes, Beijing

Adaptation Palettes, Beijing

This regenerative landscape design re-uses a contaminated mixed use brown-field site in the Chinese city of Tianjin. It has been cleaned up with a system of dry and wet ponds and a variety of different plant species and vegetation units, controlling the pH balance and cleaning the soil and water. The regenerative system is designed as a contemporary park-landscape wilderness open to the public.

Interestingly, the park is not dominated by striking features, but adapted to the natural setting. Wooden platforms and passageways allow access into the park. The intelligent use of waste material to organise a natural cleansing system needs no maintenance and the park is monitored by scientific programmes. more pictures

The judges also commended the Maggie´s Centre in London, with landscape design by Dan Pearson studio.

Sport winner: Berry Sports Hall by Allen Jack + Cottier

The jury examined a number of very impressive projects in the Sport category, eventually settling on Allen Jack + Cottier’s Berry Sports Hall in Australia as the winner. This project focused on material innovation above structure in its modest budget, resulting in an expressive and creative building that remains responsible towards its environment and context. more pictures

Production energy and recycling winner: Bodegas Protos winery by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Bodegas Protos winery, Spain

Bodegas Protos winery, Spain

In the production energy and recycling category, the jury declared the Bodegas Protos winery by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners the winner. The judges felt the project handsomely deals with its programme requirements both aesthetically and with regards to the winery’s production needs. At the same time it makes a strong social link to the nearby town through its sensitive alignment and its modern use of traditional materials, such as the terracotta roof with its glu-lam timber supports. more pictures

Display winner. Cages for Macaws by Batlle & Roig Architects

Batlle & Roig Architects’ Cages For Macaws in The Palm Grove of the Barcelona Zoo was given the award in the display category. The solution to the problem of housing the macaws on a temporary basis devised was deemed not only especially appropriate, but also innovative and poetic.

Drawing its inspiration from traditional birdcages, the solution meets the macaws’ opposing needs for social interaction and dark seclusion through innovative use of tubular frames, wood and screening. The effect is enhanced by the formation of ‘a village of cages’. Interestingly, this was one of two impressive aviary projects that were shortlisted in this category. more pictures

Transport winner: Bras Basah mass Rapid Transit Station, Singapore by WOHA

Rapid Transit Station, Singapore

Rapid Transit Station, Singapore

The diversity of the transport category was interesting; from heavy built urban spaces/structures to whimsical, artistic pedestrian bridges that were structural feats in themselves. The shortlisted projects all integrated the structure into the designs and exploited it in creative ways.

The winning architect, WOHA from Singapore, took the prize because of its sensitive approach towards the project - they did not actually create a built structure. Instead they gave precedence to the surrounding colonial structures, creating a piazza-like urban space in the station below. more pictures

Health winner: Teleton Tampico by Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos

The winning scheme for the health category hit hard with its direct approach towards its end user. Teleton Tampico is a facility designed for disabled children, rooted to its context through strong influencs from Mexican culture.

The building is part of the therapy, as the children interact with and react to it. The use of colour is playful and geometric, making it easy for the children to relate to. It is a facility which instantly embraces the children and makes them feel at home.with one specifically for cancer patients. more pictures






Readers' comments (2)

  • That Met one's a shocker! It looks like someone's got the plans of Sighthill in Glasgow and shift-alt-apple-D'd them 10 times on top of each other. And then made it more like a distopian comic.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • JustFacades.com

    Congrats to all those shortlisted, you are all winners in our minds

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs

AJ Jobs