Edge of Innovation

What does it take to win World Building of the Year 2015?

 

Every year, the World Architecture Festival (WAF) whittles down a list of fantastic construction projects to crown one as World Building of the Year.

In 2013, the gong went to Toi o Tamaki, a spectacularly wood-panelled Auckland art gallery. Last year, a Ho Chi Minh City community space scooped the WAF prize, praised for the way “colour and light have been deployed to put people at ease and the architect has found poetry in the mundane.”

The 2015 competition pitted giant parsnip-shaped university towers against an engineering faculty with gargantuan metal ‘gills’ and a Japanese Ribbon Chapel with elegantly intertwining spiral staircases. You can view the full shortlist and see some of the entries here.

The Interlace building - World Building of the Year 2015
The Interlace development aims to provide an alternative to standalone tower blocks.

At first glance, the World Building of the Year 2015 winner doesn’t come across as an architectural triumph. The Interlace in Singapore doesn’t look futuristic. Nor does it grab your attention with an eye-catching, concrete beauty. But this ‘vertical village’ has been described as “a radically new approach to contemporary living in a tropical environment.”

Designed by OMA/Buro Ole Scheeren, the Interlace was conceived as an anti-tower block development. It still features 70 metre-tall buildings, 31 of them to be precise. But here they are stacked horizontally rather than vertically, arranged in a hexagonal pattern separated by natural courtyards, gardens and pretty terraces.

The result is a 170,000-square-metre complex that boasts 1,040 apartments.

“The Interlace is blazing a trail with an example of bold, contemporary architectural thinking,” said World Architecture Festival director Paul Finch. “The project presents an alternative way of thinking about developments which might otherwise become generic tower clusters.”

Yanweizhou Park - Landscape of the Year 2015
The Landscape of the Year 2015 accolade went to China’s Yanweizhou Park.

The Interlace wasn’t the only winner at the 2015 festival. The Landscape of the Year 2015 accolade went to China’s Yanweizhou Park, a 26-hectare wetland incorporating natural wildlife habitats and curving aerial pathways.

The Small Project Prize 2015 was awarded to the Lidingövallen Small Football Stadium in Sweden, which cleverly blends a stand for fans, offices, meeting areas and a coffee shop together into a single, striking building.

Lidingövallen Small Football Stadium - Small Project Prize 2015
Lidingövallen Small Football Stadium in Sweden won the Small Project Prize 2015.

Finally, the Bjarke Ingels Group-designed Vancouver House won the Future Project of the Year 2015 award. The proposed 150-metre-high twisted skyscraper, which is currently under construction, was praised by judges as “a delightful project that will impact positively on many future municipality- and developer-led agendas for cities across the world.”

Vancouver House - Future Project of the Year 2015
The Bjarke Ingels Group-designed Vancouver House won the Future Project of the Year 2015 award.

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