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Three British firms among winners of AR MIPIM Future Projects Awards

Allies and Morrison and Wright & Wright Architects are among the three UK winners of the Architectural Review’s MIPIM Future Projects Awards, announced at a gala dinner in Cannes last night (15 March)

The two practices were joined by London-based And Architects, which won the Sports & Stadiums category for its 22,500-seater Power Court Stadium for Luton Town Football Club.

Meanwhile, a residential scheme in New York by Istanbul-based firm Tabanlıoğlu Architects was crowned overall winner. 

AJ100 practice Allies and Morrison triumphed in the Big Urban Projects category for its desert city, Madinat Al Irfan, in Oman, while Wright & Wright won the Old & New category for its library within the grounds of the Grade-I listed Lambeth Palace in London.

The architect behind London’s controversial ’Walkie Talkie’ skyscraper, Rafael Viñoly, won the Mixed Use category for his practice’s scheme on the site of an abandoned shopping mall. 

Other winning projects, from eight countries across the 11 categories, include a thermal bath and resort in the Baltic; a rural women’s community centre in Turkey; and a ‘dematerialising’ office building in Washington DC. 

The Architectural Review’s MIPIM Future Projects Awards encompass diverse projects that are under construction or currently in planning, through to competition entries and impressive conceptual designs.

The awards, now in their 15th year, provide a snapshot of what architects and clients are planning across the world, with more than 220 entries in nearly 30 countries.

The winners

Big Urban Projects: Madinat Al Irfan, Muscat, Oman by Allies and Morrison for Omran (Oman Tourism Development Company)

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This scheme for a new desert city, Irfan – with a living, working and visiting population of some 280,000 – is grounded in the local culture and ecology and is physically structured around a wadi which becomes a city park incorporating urban agriculture. Irfan’s development consists of a compact urban centre to the north and walkable villages to the south. Density and a holistic infrastructure strategy significantly reduce carbon emissions, resulting in massive reductions in resource demand. User-friendly yet rigorous design codes ensure new architecture will build on the Omani building tradition yet be contemporary. 

Buildings will frame a complex geometry of public spaces and the informality of old cities. A holistic infrastructure strategy aims for stunning improvements against business-as-usual to the new city’s overall sustainability performance, including 50 per cent reduction in energy demand, potable water use and car reliance. This project learns from the past to create tomorrow’s resilient city. It responds to its topography and culture to create a uniquely Omani place.  

Old & New: Lambeth Palace Library and Archive, London, UK by Wright & Wright Architects, for Church Commissioners for England

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Clad in red clay bricks, the new Lambeth Palace Library and Archive in the grounds of the north end of Lambeth Palace gardens is elevated above any potential flooding from the adjacent Thames river. With its compact tower and public viewing platform, it also screens this part of the garden from pollution and traffic noise from the adjoining road. Lambeth Palace’s collection is, apart from the Vatican’s, the largest archive of religious books and manuscripts in Europe. But the way it is housed in the historic Grade I listed palace does not measure up to modern standards of archival care. 

The new building  sits across the great lawn remote from the old buildings which form the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It takes the form of an occupied wall which rises to a tower. Beyond its practical role as a finely tuned repository for protecting and preserving the collection, the library is conceived as a welcoming and peaceful place for study and contemplation. At the top of the library tower, the multifunctional public viewing space allows direct views across the river Thames to the UK parliamentary building – the Palace of Westminster.

Sports & Stadiums: Power Court Stadium, Luton, UK by And Architects, for Luton Town Football Club

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This proposal is for a new 22,500-seater stadium alongside a major regeneration of the 20-acre site with a new river frontage, 550 apartments in eight buildings and 10,800m2 of bars, restaurants and retail. It will also incorporate a 1,800 capacity live venue, education & health facilities and a 3,000m2 food store plus 1,200 car parking spaces and a medium-size hotel. This is a key gateway to the town centre but it has lain derelict for many years. The stadium for the local Luton football club will be delivered in tandem with major regeneration of the site. It sits on a raised podium which allows access to public and multi-use spaces including a new river frontage within an enhanced public space designed to complement a Grade I listed church.

The masterplan allows the restoration of a currently hidden connection between the church and the River Lea. It also aims to deliver a pedestrian-focused scheme with raised public piazzas all accessible to the wider public. The scheme brings together cutting-edge architecture and engineering to transform a post-industrial site into a dynamic attraction, delivering new facilities to enhance the life of the town.

Overall winner: 118 E59th Street Residences, New York, USA by Tabanlıoğlu Architects, for Madison Equities

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This luxury condominium tower, approximately 7,400m2, has 75 units on 25 floors, together with a ground floor lobby including shops and restaurants and a separate amenities floor. Reaching around 100m in height, the design of the tower is a simple and straightforward interpretation and reflection of the programmatic and environmental data: the beehive-like pattern of the facade represents the multiplicity of unit types where each module represents a vertical cluster of similar units. Being stuck between three buildings at three sides, the modules enlarge so that the units have greater openings to the view as the building rises. This facade pattern is further articulated by creating planar movement generating variations on different unit types.

At the nexus of the Upper East Side and Midtown and only three blocks from Central Park and the high-value Madison and Fifth Avenue retail corridors, the project offers convenient access to the diversity of the surrounding neighbourhoods characterised by abundant amenities including grocery markets, commercial banks, restaurants and bars on most street corners. While the avenues running north and south are usually bustling with commerce and traffic, most Upper East Side cross streets are tree-lined and serene.

This project won the residential category of the awards.

Mixed Use: The Hills at Vallco, Cupertino, California, USA by Rafael Viñoly Architects, for Abu Dhabi Investment Authority / Sand Hill Property Company 

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This is a scheme for the site of an abandoned mall in Cupertino, California. It is the world’s largest green roof, a 30-acre parkland covering 769,000m2 of residential units, office space, shops, restaurants, plus a movie theatre, bowling alley, ice rink, fitness centre, and event spaces as well as 9,000 parking spaces. The undulating roof meets the ground along its western edge, providing access to the buildings and facilities under the roof. Ground level residential units contain integrated parking garages.

Landscaping, public amenities, residential uses, circulation and views are layered in an innovative manner to create a unique open space, a fully accessible park that restores the predevelopment character of the Northern California landscape. More than 80% of the site is covered with the green roof – a landscaped parkland with sports, recreational and cultural programmes whose curves reduce the apparent mass of the development. The roof is mainly covered with grass and turf but in selected spots incorporates building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) and thin silicon film solar cells. The project was driven by several overarching objectives including the clearing of a bridged superblock; integration of the site by breaking it into pedestrian-friendly blocks; creation of a civic icon; and the introduction of a dynamic environment rich in variety of experiences for the community.

Jeu d’Esprit Prize: Media City, Istanbul, Turkey by Gökhan Avcıoğlu, GAD, for Istanbul Chamber of Commerce 

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Media City began as a site-specific design for a multimedia-based industrial complex and has evolved into a new method for providing urban planning solutions that could be applied globally. In analysing large historical cities with industrial roots, it became apparent that the relationships of volumes and voids in these examples had a curious resemblance to QR codes – small shapes in a tight, frantically compressed centre with a few massive forms isolated around the perimeter. The designers began working out city plans based on both urban grids and on algorithms developed from the QR code’s matrix system. This inspired the designers to create types for Media City’s buildings, parks, streets and so on which could be repeated, manipulated, adjusted and organised along grids in a manner resembling the variations in QR codes.

The primary scale for the centre of Media City quickly became an examination of creating not only urban grid plans but the QR code’s matrix system as well. This led to the idea of making a mass-space balance within a controlled border by using an algorithm that would define urban elements such as streets, squares, blocks, courtyards. Different masterplan options could be generated by varying QR codes and sizes of grids. In addition to the innovative QR-grid pattern planning, Media City will be identified as an example of the excellent use of different smart city strategies including smart energy-water- waste management, smart transport and sustainable green integration. 

Innovation: Sino-Finnish Economic, Trade and Cultural Cooperation Centre, Nanjing, China by PES-Architects, for Southern New Town Construction Development Office 

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This RMB1.6billion scheme is based on a lakeside square. Buildings, shaped like large prismatic figures, house a mix of users: a congress centre, a design hotel, a Sino-Finnish exhibition centre and an office building for Finnish-European trade, plus a southern new town service centre. The main piazza represents the city as a living room facilitating cultural economic exchange. The ice theme permeates the design thinking: the square serves as the main entrance into the mix of buildings located on its sides, creating an ‘icebreaking’ pilot project for the ecocity.

The pedestrian streets leading to the square are shopping alleys, themed to Finnish design and lifestyle, and buildings are shaped like large blocks of ice from the Finnish winter. This central piazza – the ‘city living room’ – contrasts with the surrounding recognisably international urban architecture and the streets and buildings along the lake, at the same time emphasising the strong link between the Finnish building tradition and nature. This association with nature is strengthened by the universal use of glass cladding panels with embedded printed photovoltaic ice-crystal graphics which provide shading while harvesting solar energy – and give the buildings a unified, sustainable image. The photovoltaic graphics, which can be printed in any shape and contain the electrodes and light-collecting polymer layers, are laminated between two glass sheets. 

Cultural Regeneration: Museum of Imperial Kiln, Jingdezhen City, Jiangxi Province, China by Studio Pei-Zhu 

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This 10,500m2 ceramic museum celebrates the traditions of the old Ming and Qing porcelain centre and is formed largely of a number of long recycled brick barrel vaults more or less in parallel formation reminiscent of traditional kilns. Some are open, some set among sunken courtyards and some incorporate archaeological remains. The site is at the centre of the historical area of Jingdezhen adjacent to the relic site of the imperial kiln. During Ming and Qing dynasties, Jingdezhen was considered one of the most important porcelain capitals in the world. The historical city was formed by the aggregation of basic kiln complexes, each of which consists of workshops and dwellings. The streets pattern was a rough grid orientated to the Yangtze River which has one of the longest river crossings in the city. The river was the focus of the porcelain culture from where porcelain products were transported to Quanzhou, one of the biggest ports in the world during the Ming dynasty and also one of the starting points of the maritime Silk Road.

In the past, the kilns were not only made for producing porcelain, but were also public and social spaces for the daily life of citizens. Some schools moved to the kiln area in winter to take advantage of the heat, and kilns have always been favoured places for kids to play. Brick kilns have to be demolished every few years and Jingdezhen people have developed a tradition of using recycled kiln bricks to build their houses. The architects were inspired by the kiln, not only because of its beautiful vault but also its sensibility about materiality and scale. 

Offices: 2050 M Street, Washington, DC, USA by REX Architecture, for Tishman Speyer

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Intended as a model for high-quality office accommodation, the 42,000m2 proposal here is for a glass street facade that has no visible glazing bars. The facade’s 900 identical, insulated glass panels are curved to a 2.9m radius through a heat roller tempering process. The curve imparts a structural stiffness to each glass panel so that the facade has structural integrity without visible mullions, meets wind load requirements and enables greater transparency. From a letting point of view, the curtain wall provides the leasing ideal of hypertransparency, of floor-to-ceiling glazing sans view-impeding frames. And it has a building skin composed of the nine hundred times repetition of a single element which suggests manufacturing economy. In addition, the panels create an unusual kaleidoscopic effect of repetitive transparency and reflection which  simultaneously animates and dematerialises the facade. In a city where commercial buildings are either heavily articulated masonry or flat lightweight-framed glass, this approach creates a new office type, one which combines the advantages of an all-glass building with the modulation of a high relief facade.

Tall Buildings: Ceylonz Suites, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Tan’ck Architect/Tan Chee Khoon, for Exsim Development

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Focusing on the theme of work and lifestyle, this 39-storey office tower is aimed at business ventures and start-up companies alike. It has studio units to suit urban lifestyles accustomed to high standards. This means the provision of amenities such as a cafeteria, sky gym, infinity pool, roof garden, meeting rooms, conference rooms and a mini-mart. Sustainability is aided by sun shading, a green roof and a rainwater harvesting system.  The commercial development offers studio units to suit the urban patterns of sophisticated occupiers. A dual-key type unit is available for further flexibility. Here, occupants can find their very own balance while maintaining a good lifestyle in the middle of the metropolis. Luxuries aside, the building seeks to achieve a low carbon footprint by incorporating a number of green features.

The office unit fenestrations have aluminium fins aligned to the frames to combat the tropical heat and provide comfortable shading. A green roof is also provided to contribute to thermal comfort while promoting greenery on the building, as well as an integrated rainwater harvesting system. On 0.23 hectares of land in the middle of the bustling city, this office tower is intended as an outstanding identity in terms of the minimalist approach of its facade design.

Regeneration & Masterplanning: Nya Hovås Urban Plan, Gothenburg, Sweden by Utopia Arkitekter, for Nya Hovås II AB

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This project presents a seamless continuation of a recently implemented urban plan. The proposal builds on existing features such as the green space surrounding a creek and a number of public venues. These include a library-cultural centre, a cinema and a public swimming pool. These large cultural buildings are located along the main roads where they serve as sound barriers – against road and public noise  – for the homes behind. The practice had been invited to enter a competition to propose an urban plan for the second phase of the development of Hovås in southern Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city.

This proposal is the next phase carried out in close collaboration with the client. Utopia Arkitekter has presented an innovative traffic solution and a continuation of the established urban programme for the first phase of the area’s expansion. The scheme highlights and builds on existing qualities which strengthen the connection with an adjacent recreational area. At the same time, it will develop a strong sense of urbanity with residential buildings whose street levels encourage outdoor life, activity and interaction. The proposal includes 800 apartments and more than 40,000m2 of offices, shopping, culture and services. 

Retail & Leisure: Liepāja Thermal Bath, Liepāja, Latvia by Steven Christensen Architecture, for Liepāja City Council

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The dominant form in these Latvian baths is the sphere – following the architect’s keen interest in the formal associations of the dome throughout architectural history. Capitalising on the seemingly serendipitous intersection of these friendly spherical forms, as well as the unique spaces between them, the project includes tepidarium, frigidarium, caldarium, children’s pool, outdoor pool and bar, guest accommodation, a central bar, restaurant and kitchen.

The design thinking was enveloped, particularly, by the role of the dome within the typology of the public bath. The dome has been an important organisational and representational device throughout the history of the public bath, playing a central role in myriad Roman, Ottoman and Renaissance examples. The dome’s semiological and organisational roles in these structures are closely aligned: by reinforcing centrality and singularity, the form renders unmistakably explicit the primacy of the circle of space directly below.  The design seeks to undermine the conventional symbolic performance of the dome by challenging its centripetal tendencies as well as its hierarchical bias. Working with its generative primitive, the sphere, the architects propose a multiplicity of domes, both upright and inverted, as a rhizomatic formal and organisational embodiment of a contemporary public that is democratic, horizontally empowered and increasingly networked. Thus the project uses its sociopolitical conceptual foundation in the service of an unorthodox spatial experience that is both spirited and atmospheric.

Civic & Community: Hüsame Köklü Women’s Community and Production Centre, Bayburt, Turkey by Tabanlıoğlu Architects, for Baksı Culture and Art Foundation

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Pioneered by the BAKSI Culture and Arts Foundation and on a plot donated by a teacher, this is a communal place designed as a gathering point for women to share life experiences and practices. Responding to the harsh environment of Bayburt, a small province of north-east Turkey, the simple and open spaces arranged around a secluded courtyard can be configured by users. 

Roofs are, in common with local buildings, steeply pitched to throw off prevailing heavy winter snow. On the one hand, the building responds to the climatic and topographical conditions of the region and consolidates them into a humble, functional and harmonious monolithic entity. On the other hand, it channels an embedded style which acts as an agent to divide the overall structure into smaller volumes in harmony with the built environment. The plan is simple but efficient, organising the spaces along a common courtyard. This will be a sharing space, a secluded public ground for women. Many future generations of women will come together here under one roof.