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WAF World Building of the Year announced

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An ‘extraordinary’ post-earthquake house in a Chinese village has won the prestigious World Architecture Festival Building of the Year 2017 – with an inaugural Special Director’s Award given to a Netherlands housing scheme by Marc Koehler Architects

The 148m² prototype home was built for an old couple in Guangming Village, Zhaotong, as part of the response to the 2014 Ludian earthquake, which left at least 617 people dead and destroyed more than 12,000 houses.

After the devastating quake, which flattened most of the rammed-earth buildings in the village, locals started to rebuild using brick-concrete dwellings – however, the prices of these building materials quickly increased and became unaffordable to most inhabitants.

This prototype house was then developed by architects from two universities – the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Kunming University of Science and Technology – using innovative rammed-earth building technology in order to provide a safe affordable home for villagers. The main architects were Edward Ng, Li Wan, Xinan Chi and Wenfeng Bai. 

The scheme was praised by the judges as an ‘extraordinary project in terms of the scope of ambition show in the addressing of profound problems facing ordinary people’. They also said the home presented an example of the ‘reuse of traditional material and construction methods but with the addition of new technology’; adding that it is a ’demonstration of architectural relevance in the poorest of communities’.

The World Building of the Year was selected from 18 finalists made up of all the winners from the completed building categories. The house, which won the New & Old category, is officially called the ’Post-earthquake reconstruction/demonstration project of Guangming Village, Zhaotong, China’ by the Chinese University of Hong Kong. 

Owing to the high standard of finalists, World Architecture Festival (WAF) director Paul Finch also introduced a special award for Superlofts Houthaven in Amsterdam by Marc Koehler Architects, which was the victor of the Housing category. 

The award was judged by the WAF ‘Super Jury’, led by Kieran Timberlake principal James Timberlake, and also comprising: Christoph Ingenhoven, principal at Ingenhoven Architects; Ian Ritchie, founder of Ian Ritchie Architects; Ellen van Loon, partner at OMA; and Mun Summ Wong, founder of WOHA WOHA.

Meanwhile, DSDHA was highly commended for its jewellery studio for Alex Monroe in the Small Projects category, which was described by judges as an ’elegant urban intervention’. 

Last year the top prize was won given to the National Museum in Szczecin - Dialogue Centre Przełomy by Robert Konieczny- KWK Promes.  

The chinese university of hong kong post2

The chinese university of hong kong post2

World Building of the Year: Post-earthquake reconstruction/demonstration project of Guangming Village by The Chinese University of Hong Kong [winner of the New & Old category]

World Architecture Festival 2017 – completed category winners 

Transport - Completed Buildings Winner: Grüntuch Ernst Architects, Transformation Chemnitz Central Station, Chemnitz, Germany

Hotel & Leisure - Completed Buildings Winner supported by GROHE: Cong Sinh Architects, Vegetable Trellis, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Shopping - Completed Buildings Winner: ACME, Victoria Gate, Leeds, United Kingdom 

Health - Completed Buildings Winner: Ntsika Architects, Westbury Clinic, Johannesburg, South Africa

Mixed Use - Completed Buildings Winner supported by ABB and Busch-Jaeger: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Westminster Bridge Road, London, United Kingdom

Religion - Completed Buildings Winner: Waugh Thistleton Architects, Bushey Cemetery, Bushey, United Kingdom 

Higher Education & Research - Completed Buildings Winner: C.F. Møller Architects, Maersk Tower, Copenhagen, Denmark  

Villa - Completed Buildings Winner: Irving Smith Architects, Bach with Two Roofs, Golden Bay, New Zealand 

House – Completed Buildings Winner: Vo Trong Nghia Architects, Binh House, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 

Housing – Completed Buildings Winner Sponsored by GROHE: Marc Koehler Architects, Superlofts Houthaven, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 

Production, Energy & Recycling – Completed Buildings Winner: Slash Architects and Arkizon Architects, The Farm of 38-30, Afyonkarahisar, Turkey 

Sport – Completed Buildings Winner: HKS, US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, United States of America 

School – Completed Buildings Winner: Andrew Burges Architects, East Sydney Early Learning Centre, Sydney, Australia  

Civic & Community – Completed Buildings Winner: Eriksson Furunes + Leandro V. Locsin Partners, Streetlight Tagpuro, Tacloban, Philippines 

Culture – Completed Buildings Winner: Heneghan Peng Architects, The Palestinian Museum, Birzeit, Palestine

Office – Completed Buildings Winner: Nikken Sekkei, Co Op Kyosai Plaza, Tokyo, Japan 

New & Old – Completed Buildings Winner: The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Post-earthquake reconstruction/demonstration project of Guangming Village, Zhaotong, China 

Display – Completed Buildings Winner: Alison Brooks Architects, The Smile, London, United Kingdom


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