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WAF day one winners: Lynch's Zig Zag Building named world's best office

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The Zig Zag Building in London by Lynch Architects was the only UK winner of the built categories on the first day of the World Architecture Festival, held this year in Berlin

The block in Victoria was named the best office scheme in the world by the WAF 2016 judges, who praised the way the building ’addressed its role in the remaking of the city with great skill’.

In total, the juries at the world’s largest international architectural event selected winners in 10 built categories and four future categories.

The much-coveted house of the year award went to the ’highly inventive’ House MM in Palma de Mallorca, Spain by OHLAB/Oliver Hernaiz Architecture Lab. The judges described the home as ’compelling and sophisticated form-making’ which ’transcended the beauty of the everyday, as well as being an inspiring paradigm for the art of the possible’.

House MM in Palma de Mallorca, Spain by OHLAB/Oliver Hernaiz Architecture Lab.

House MM in Palma de Mallorca, Spain by OHLAB/Oliver Hernaiz Architecture Lab.

House MM in Palma de Mallorca, Spain by OHLAB/Oliver Hernaiz Architecture Lab.

WAF’s theme for 2016 is Housing for Everyone, and the housing category was one of the most hotly contested. Judges deliberated over the ’extremely strong category with an extraordinary range of housing typologies’.

The eventual winner was Aluminium Tip by Babin+Renaud in Paris.

Aluminium Tip by Babin+Renaud in Paris

Aluminium Tip by Babin+Renaud in Paris

Aluminium Tip by Babin+Renaud in Paris

Another hard-fought category was for best cultural project, which attracted entries from 17 international practices. The victorious scheme was the National Museum in Szczecin by Robert Konieczny-KWK Promes - ’a simple solution and great public space made with only one material: precast concrete’.

Museum in Szczecin by Robert Konieczny-KWK Promes

Museum in Szczecin by Robert Konieczny-KWK Promes

Museum in Szczecin by Robert Konieczny-KWK Promes

The winner of the mixed-use category was Malmö Live by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects - a project which combines a concert hall, convention centre and hotel, and was built in a public-private partnership.

The WAF judges said: ’[Malmö Live] is a public building in the best sense of the word: open to anyone, not exclusive and very democratic. It cleverly eliminates the traditional division between front of house and back of house and is an important catalyst of urban regeneration.

‘The architecture is restrained and uncompromising.’

Malmö Live by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Malmö Live by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Malmö Live by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

The Waterfront Pavilion by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp in Sydney, Australia scooped the display category. It was judged to have ’cleverly borrowed from naval architecture and warehouse construction to create a unique and poetic building’.

Waterfront Pavilion by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp in Sydney, Australia

Waterfront Pavilion by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp in Sydney, Australia

Waterfront Pavilion by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp in Sydney, Australia

In the schools category, Berlin-based Grüntuch Ernst Architekten took the top prize for its German School in Madrid. The judges praised the architects for their design and environmental performance of the complex, which they said combine to ’enhance the facilitation of teaching and learning’. 

German School in Madrid by Grüntuch Ernst Architekten

German School in Madrid by Grüntuch Ernst Architekten

German School in Madrid by Grüntuch Ernst Architekten

Floating Fields in Shenzhen, China by Thomas Chung was winner in the production, energy and recycling category. The project features open-air shallow rectangular partitions, some filled with growing fields and others with water on which floated growing boxes. Judges said the scheme ‘had a very clear message and was collaborative in nature – involving many diverse stakeholders, taking into consideration the entire life cycle and educating an entire region’.

Floating Fields in Shenzhen, China by Thomas Chung

Floating Fields in Shenzhen, China by Thomas Chung

Floating Fields in Shenzhen, China by Thomas Chung

The new and old category was scooped this year by the Beyazit State Library in Istanbul by Tabanlioglu Architects, which was hailed as ’a subtle and beautiful restoration’. The design was commended for the ’glass boxes for rare books which are elegantly balanced within the historic spaces’, as well as a lighting scheme which enhances the existing historic volumes and spaces without being overwhelming or distracting.

Beyazit State Library in Istanbul by Tabanlioglu Architects

Beyazit State Library in Istanbul by Tabanlioglu Architects

Beyazit State Library in Istanbul by Tabanlioglu Architects

Meanwhile the ‘remarkable’ Salburua Civic Centre in Vitoira, Spain by IDOM took home the civic and community award. The jury said the building was ’full of surprising and delightful moments’ including an elevated swimming pool and sunken basketball court.

Salburua Civic Centre by IDOM

Salburua Civic Centre by IDOM

Salburua Civic Centre by IDOM

Among the WAF awards for schemes still on the drawing board was Spark Architects’ proposed beach huts for Singapore which landed the best experimental project award, and KPF’s Hudson Yards development in New York in the civic category.

The future projects: infrastructure prize went to Istanbul New Airport, by Scott Brownrigg and Grimshaw, Nordic, Haptic, Fonksiyon, TAM/Kiklop. The project will become the largest single terminal in the world on completion. Judges said the project presents a solution which ‘recognises the exponential growth of air travel and harnesses the potential for a new and significant green lung in the city’.

Nabil gholam architects won the award for the future office of the year for a.spire, a project which was deemed ’a gift to the city’ of Lebanon by the WAF judges, who said it ’offers hope to a beautiful place whose recent history has been so difficult’. Clad in vertical louvres, the design is a freestanding structure with no rear facade, and instead a garden that overlooks the city.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • The inside views, particularly the lift landing, remind me of the frighteningly sterile futuristic human testing facilities from the computer game Portal.

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