World Architecture Festival awards, WAFX 2021, go to 12 ambitious future projects

Proposals by BIG, Foster + Partners and Sou Fujimoto Architects, which respond to the pandemic, climate change and social equity, are among the winners for the WAFX 2021 Prize.

by Jerry ElengicalPublished on : Jul 10, 2021

The 2021 edition of the World Architecture Festival (WAF) - one of the largest global architectural events - is scheduled to take place at the FIL Exhibition centre in Lisbon, Portugal from 1-3 December this year. Organised by EMAP, part of the UK-based Metropolis Group, the festival recognises excellence and provides a platform for the global architectural community to interact, learn, and draw inspiration from each other.

Kicking off its extensive list of honours, WAF recently announced the 12 winners of the WAFX Prize 2021, chosen from submissions to its ‘Future Projects’ Awards bracket. The 12 proposals span multiple domains and typologies with many distinguished architectural firms as part of it. Together with its sponsors - ABB along with GROHE and Miele - this iteration of the design awards acknowledges ambitious project proposals tackling pressing issues such as climate change ageing populations, food supplies, pandemic, cultural identities, and social equity.

In an official release about the announcement, Director of the World Architecture Festival, Paul Finch, states, "This year’s WAFX winners feature an inspiring set of ideas and approaches in respect of many of the major issues of our time. From all-wood offices to conceptual projects combining nature with the man-made, architects have once again shown how design can be deployed to tackle challenges and investigate opportunities."

Here are this year's WAFX Prize winners:

1. Ageing winner

Taikang Community Gui Garden by Sunlay

Taikang Community Gui Garden by Sunlay | World Architecture Festival announces WAFX Award Winners 2021 | STIRworld
Taikang Community Gui Garden by Sunlay Image: Courtesy of World Architecture Festival

Shaded by an undulating roof with a form influenced by ancient Chinese scrolls, the Taikang Community Gui Garden by Sunlay-Fangwei Architects reimagines the natural landscape of China Guangxi province to craft a comfortable living environment for senior citizens. Located in a region known for its mountainous terrain, rice terraces, and rivers, the design accommodates residential units, medical care facilities, independent living support, and an activity centre.

2. Climate, Energy & Carbon winner

Paradise, London by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Paradise, London by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios | World Architecture Festival announces WAFX Award Winners 2021 | STIRworld
Paradise, London by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios Image: Courtesy of World Architecture Festival

A landmark net-zero carbon office and maker space, the project proposes to convert a neglected Costa Coffee roastery on Old Paradise street in London into a cross-laminated timber structure with an extruded terracotta facade. Designed by British firm Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, the proposal is said to be on course to achieve a negative carbon footprint for nearly 60 years due to its easy end-of-life dismantling process, low-energy use, and functional flexibility.

3. Construction Technology winner

Museum for Architecture + Residences by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Museum for Architecture + Residences by Sou Fujimoto Architects | World Architecture Festival announces WAFX Award Winners 2021 | STIRworld
Museum for Architecture + Residences by Sou Fujimoto Architects Image: Courtesy of World Architecture Festival

Drawing from Bahay Kubo dwellings native to Philippines Japanese architecture firm Sou Fujimoto Architects imagined a crystalline bamboo grid-like structure as a vertical extrusion of the rice fields that once dotted the province of Laguna where the project's site is situated. Consisting of a condominium tower and an architectural museum, the design embeds natural vegetation into the rising grid structure to create an evolving vertical forest.

4. Cultural Identity winner

Zayed National Museum, Abu Dhabi by Department of Culture and Tourism-Abu Dhabi

Zayed National Museum, Abu Dhabi by Department of Culture and Tourism-Abu Dhabi | World Architecture Festival announces WAFX Award Winners 2021 | STIRworld
Zayed National Museum, Abu Dhabi by Department of Culture and Tourism-Abu Dhabi Image: Courtesy of World Architecture Festival

Part of the Saadiyat Island development in Abu Dhabi that includes monumental projects such as Jean Nouvel Louvre Abu Dhabi and Frank Gehry planned new Guggenheim Museum the Zayed National Museum commemorates the life of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan - founder of the United Arab Emirates. Featuring latticed steel towers resembling the wings of a bird, the upcoming museum by Foster + Partners will showcase the country's transformation and cultural heritage within a form that blends Middle-Eastern design with contemporary features.

5. Digital Technology winner

Shenzhen Qianhai Telecommunication Centre by Schneider+Schumacher International GmbH

Shenzhen Qianhai Telecommunication Centre by Schneider+Schumacher International GmbH | World Architecture Festival announces WAFX Award Winners 2021 | STIRworld
Shenzhen Qianhai Telecommunication Centre by Schneider+Schumacher International GmbH Image: Courtesy of World Architecture Festival

Expected to become the world's first high-rise data centre, the telecommunication centre in Shenzhen, China, incorporates an interactive facade design that features elements which move with the wind. The spaces within the tower include offices and a terrace for IT workers offering vistas of the city and adjoining bay.

6. Ethics & Values winner

#WeThePlanet Campus by 3deluxe

#WeThePlanet Campus by 3deluxe | World Architecture Festival announces WAFX Award Winners 2021 | STIRworld
#WeThePlanet Campus by 3deluxe Image: Courtesy of World Architecture Festival

When commissioned to design an inspirational structure that nurtured progressive architecture, transdisciplinary design practice 3deluxe envisioned a floating mobile campus off the Manhattan shoreline for New York-based organisation, We The Planet. With a fluid design concept, housing facilities for international summits and educational programmes, the campus design also includes a biotope that produces its own energy and drinking water.

7. Food winner

Cagbalete Sand Clusters by Carlo Calma Consultancy Inc.

Cagbalete Sand Clusters by Carlo Calma Consultancy Inc. | World Architecture Festival announces WAFX Award Winners 2021 | STIRworld
Cagbalete Sand Clusters by Carlo Calma Consultancy Inc. Image: Courtesy of World Architecture Festival

Designed to enhance local farming and fishing industries on Cagbalete Island in the Philippines, this mixed-use eco-tourism development proposal marries sustainability with a modular prefabricated design inspired by local corals. Built from membranes of sand, soil, and fishing nets, the design combines farming and recreation in a restaurant focused on local produce.

8. Health winner

The Deformable Modularized COVID-19 Epidemic Prevention Hospital, Shanghai by School of Architecture & Design, China University of Mining and Technology

The Deformable Modularized COVID-19 Epidemic Prevention Hospital, Shanghai by School of Architecture & Design, China University of Mining and Technology| World Architecture Festival announces WAFX Award Winners 2021 | STIRworld
The Deformable Modularized COVID-19 Epidemic Prevention Hospital, Shanghai by School of Architecture & Design, China University of Mining and Technology Image: Courtesy of World Architecture Festival

To permit rapid construction and disassembly in response to pandemic situations, this modular hospital design utilises the premise of an isolation ward as its primary building block, with auxiliary modules for treatment, cleaning, and offices structured around it. A relevant concept given current global events, the system allows hospitals to be built, transported, and re-adapted easily.

9. Re-use winner

Silo City by STUDIO V Architecture

Silo City by STUDIO V Architecture | World Architecture Festival announces WAFX Award Winners 2021 | STIRworld
Silo City by STUDIO V Architecture Image: Courtesy of World Architecture Festival

A vision for the adaptive reuse of the world's largest collection of grain elevators, Silo City will create a thriving arts and cultural campus on a 1,000,000 sq ft site near the Buffalo River in New York. Leaning on the location's architectural and historical significance, the project will develop spaces that aid both grassroots and globally renowned institutions and artists through sustainable development.

10. Smart Cities winner

Toyota Woven City by BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group)

Toyota Woven City by B.I.G. Architecture D.P.C | World Architecture Festival announces WAFX Award Winners 2021 | STIRworld
Toyota Woven City by B.I.G. Architecture D.P.C Image: Courtesy of World Architecture Festival

A joint venture between the Toyota Motor Corporation and Denmark-based Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the Toyota Woven City will be the world's first urban incubator centered on advancements in mobility The smart city project, set to crop up along the foothills of Mount Fuji in Japan will incorporate a linear pedestrian park in its woven grid of city blocks - with streets optimised for movement across various speeds, accounting for the realms of micro-mobility and autonomous vehicles.

11. Social Equity winner

A Resilient Duplex for Fort Severn First Nation by Two Row Architect and KPMB Architects

A Resilient Duplex for Fort Severn First Nation by Two Row Architect and KPMB Architects | World Architecture Festival announces WAFX Award Winners 2021 | STIRworld
A Resilient Duplex for Fort Severn First Nation by Two Row Architect and KPMB Architects Image: Courtesy of World Architecture Festival

The project is a durable housing system developed by Canada-based KPMB and Two Row Architects, in consultation with the Fort Severn First Nation - Ontario's northernmost indigenous community.  It uses traditional stick-frame construction to create housing for community elders and young families who are often forced to reside within congested environments. Easily reconfigured to cater to evolving needs, the system a resilient and portable design to account for the community's limited accessibility by ice road or air.

12. Water winner

Horizon Manila by William Ti, Jr.

Horizon Manila by William Ti, Jr. | World Architecture Festival announces WAFX Award Winners 2021 | STIRworld
Horizon Manila by William Ti, Jr. Image: Courtesy of World Architecture Festival

Comprising three islands bisected by a four-kilometre canal park, Horizon Manila is a mixed-used urban reclamation project by WTA Architecture + Design Studio, set to take shape in Manila Bay, Philippines. On a 419-hectare site, the urban design project aims to foster the growth of the nation's capital, with waterside neighbourhoods, gardens, and parks, integrating heritage and sustainable lifestyles.

The first shortlist of entries for the Future Projects Awards has been revealed | World Architecture Festival announces WAFX Award Winners 2021 | STIRworld
The first shortlist of entries for the Future Projects Awards has also been revealed Image: Courtesy of World Architecture Festival

Additionally, WAF also unveiled its first shortlist of entries for the Future Projects Awards this year, split into 13 categories. Interviews with WAFX Award winners and discussions concerning the Future Projects shortlist will take place at the WAF Futures virtual event, occurring live from 12-14 July 2021. At the event in December, 180 competing entries from 40 nations in the Future Projects bracket will present their designs before a judging panel, following which the winners from each category will be announced.

Click here to see the full shortlist of projects from all categories of the Future Projects Awards.

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