The Interlace, winner of the World Building of the Year award, designed by Buro Ole Scheeren (all photos courtesy of World Architecture Festival)
The World Architecture Festival, the world’s biggest international architectural event, has just announced its 35 winners of 2015. Ranging from a glittering mosque in Qatar to a vertical village in Singapore to a Swedish football stadium in miniature, the winning designs offer a glimpse at where architecture is heading, both stylistically and in terms of innovation and sustainability. Here, see 10 of the festival’s coolest prize-winning buildings, landscape designs, and futuristic concepts.
The Interlace, designed by OMA/Buro Ole Scheeren, was crowned World Building of the Year, the festival’s highest honor. The building is a vertical village in south Singapore that consists of 31 apartment blocks, stacked in hexagonal arrangements around eight courtyards.
It looks a bit like a massive, elaborate game of Jenga. “The Interlace is blazing a trail with an example of bold, contemporary architecture … thinking about developments which might otherwise become generic tower clusters,” WAF director Paul Finch said.
Yanweizhou Park in Jinhua, southeast China, won the Landscape of the Year 2015 award. Designed by Turenscape International, it’s situated at the mouth of three rivers, and covered by native flood-resistant vegetation. Here, the park is pictured in dry season.
In flood season, water covers the planting terraces and some of the park’s pavilions. Roads and pedestrian paths snake through, complementing the winding rivers.
The winner of the Religion category, Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies by the Qatar Foundation and Mangera Yvars Architects, is “a school and prayer place pushing the boundaries of traditional Islamic architecture,” the WAF judges said in a statement.
The Qatar Facility of Islamic Studies is dedicated to research and debate about Islam. Architects created geometric patterns and constellation-like star lights based on traditional Islamic designs, and calligraphy wraps around the minarets. All the interiors have visual or physical access to gardens.
The Fulton Center, a massive new transport hub in Lower Manhattan, won the Transport Completed Buildings category. Designed by Grimshaw/Arup/James Carpenter/HDR/Page Ayres Cowley, the structure is “a sophisticated and powerful response, skillfully integrating the art commission to create an uplifting new landmark for the city,” as WAF judges put it. The hub now serves 300,000 daily transit passengers in lower Manhattan, designed as part of a larger redevelopment of the area post-9/11.
The Cam Thanh Community House in Vietnam, made entirely of locally sourced materials and resources, won the Civic and Community prize for “a beautifully simple building designed for the community, by the community.”
San Mamés Stadium by Azcárate (ACXT-IDOM), Spain, won the Sports category. Judges called it a “truly local stadium for its local club that is the beating heart of the city.” The headquarters of Athletico Bilbao, the stadium was designed to be more than a sports facility — it’s also an urban building for the community.
The Home Farm, by SPARK, Singapore, won the Experimental category. It’s a conceptual design for the next generation of urban retirement housing — “a culturally, socially and environmentally sustainable project that offers a real model for the future and gives real thought to the value of the elderly population,” judges said. The project presents a living typology for Singapore that incorporates vertical urban farming, proposing a a sustainable way to enhance the city state’s food security and independence, since currently, 90% of the city-state’s food is being imported.
The Courtyard House Plugin, China, by People’s Architecture Office, won the New and Old category, which covers the addition of excellent new architecture into historic urban fabric or buildings. It’s a prefabricated modular system designed to make centuries-old buildings more modern and energy efficient, while keeping them fully preserved.
Studio Arthur Casas and Atelier Marko Brajovic won the competition to create the Brazilian Pavilion for Expo Milan 2015, commissioned by APEX-Brasil. “We aimed to combine architecture and scenography in order to provide visitors with an experience that would transmit Brazilian values and the aspirations of its agriculture and livestock farming according to the theme ‘Feeding the world with solutions,’” say the architects.