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World Architecture Festival announces 2019 shortlist

Hero tuomas uusheimo ala oodi hires

The twelfth edition of the World Architecture Festival, the world’s biggest architectural awards programme, has announced a shortlist of 534 projects from across 70 countries for the 2019 awards

Following the establishment of ‘Architects Declare’ – a collective of some of the most renowned practices who have come together to announce a state of climate emergency – this year’s World Architecture Festival (WAF) shortlist includes designs that demonstrate how buildings can play a major role in a more sustainable future.

Amongst the shortlist is an eco-airport in Singapore designed by Safdie architects centred around a 15,000m2 state-of-the-art, indoor public garden, which features a 40-metre indoor waterfall falling through the centre of a doughnut-shaped glass roof, alongside 3,000 trees and 100,000 shrubs from around the globe. Dortheavej Residence by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group flies the flag for both affordable and sustainable modular housing in Copenhagen, shining a light on this nascent mode of construction which has the potential to offer much to the housing crisis.

18023 jewel changi airport 02 darrensoh

18023 jewel changi airport 02 darrensoh

Source: Darren Soh

Design for an eco-airport in Singapore by Safdie architects

Whilst one of last year’s winners, Studio Gang, tackles environmental concerns at a volumetric level through its ‘Solstice on the Park’ project – a 26-storey residential tower in the USA optimised for environmental performance through angled window panels which are slanted inwards at 72 degrees—the precise angle at which the sun hits the Chicago skyline at the height of the summer solstice.

In the culture category, Helsinki Central Library Oodi by Helsinki-based firm ALA Architects, heralds a new era of library design where traditional functions meet modern technology, to create an almost zero-energy building with panoramic views. The ‘Future Project: Experimental’ and ‘Future Project: Infrastructure’ categories also launched some innovative entries, including the proposal for a waterfront park in NYC, transforming oil tanks into community gardens, by STUDIO V Architecture, and the proposal for man-made, mid-bay barrier islands to act as a surge protection system for the Port of Houston, by Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers.

Dortheavej hires 01

Dortheavej hires 01

Dortheavej Residence by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, Copenhagen

Major world architects shortlisted include Zaha Hadid Architects, Heatherwick Studio, Bjarke Ingels Group, Rafael Vinoly Architects, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Grimshaw and White Arkitekter AB. Many smaller practices will also take part to pitch against the big names. This year’s 534-strong shortlist, ranges from private residential, to education, infrastructure, healthcare, hospitality, cultural/civic, interior and landscape projects across 70 countries. Chinese practices submitted the most projects from any country, with a 68 per cent rise in entries from last year. A large increase was also seen in entrants from Russia (38 per cent rise) and India (33 per cent rise). In Europe, Italy submitted a 57 per cent rise in number of entries. 

WAF take place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, from 4-6 December this year. This is the second time the event has been hosted in the Dutch capital, following previous editions in Barcelona, Singapore and Berlin. The architects and designers behind each shortlisted project will compete for category prizes – presentations of the shortlisted designs will be made to more than 100 international juries in front of festival delegates. Category winners then compete against each other on the final day of the festival, to win the World Building of the Year, Future Project of the Year, Interior of the Year and Landscape of the Year awards.

Project 17821 solstice press 01

Project 17821 solstice press 01

‘Solstice on the Park’ in Chicago by Studio Gang

WAF programme director Paul Finch commented: “We have been inspired by the levels of innovation in this year’s entries, that show the incredible range of ways in which architects are responding to the global climate and biodiversity emergencies we face. “WAF has attracted more than 1,000 entries, for the second year in a row, from 70 countries, and we look forward to more than 500 live presentations at the Festival in Amsterdam, showcasing these exemplar projects from around the world.”

The 2019 completed buildings ‘Super Jury’ which will decide the World Building of the Year, includes Aaron Betsky, President of Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture; Anuradha Mathur, Professor at the Landscape Architecture Department School of Design, University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia; and Maria Warner Wong, Design Director of WOW Architects & Warner Wong Design.

The full shortlist for this year’s awards can be viewed here

Lead image: Helsinki Central Library Oodi by Helsinki-based firm ALA Architects
Photography by Tuomas Uusheimo