This year, the World Architecture Festival (WAF) – an annual event including the award winning ceremony for the best completed buildings and future projects – celebrated its tenth anniversary. Since 2011 WAF has been accompanied by the INSIDE World Festival of Interiors. The decision to organise two different events held at the same time was dictated by the need to differentiate between projects of different scale and nature.
The three-day event also included a conference, where one of the most interesting lectures was that of architect Davide Ponzini and photographer Michele Nastasi, the authors of Starchitecture: Scenes, Actors, and Spectacles in Contemporary Cities(Umberto Allemandi 2012). Explaining the phenomenon of star architecture, they stressed that iconic buildings involved not only prospective gains, and that strikingly different results of the implementation of such projects can also teach a valuable lesson. Similar issues were the topic of a discussion between architect Pierre de Meuron of Herzog & de Meuron (Switzerland) and architecture critic Charles Jencks, concerning the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, which had been designed by the Swiss practice. Interestingly, the speakers swapped their roles: Jencks took on the role of the architect, and de Meuron adopted the role of architectural critic.
On the third day, category winners competed for the main award. Their presentations were held in nine categories, five of them – general: Building, Interior, Landscape, Small Project, Future Project of the Year; and four – additional: WAFX (awarded to future projects that identify key challenges that architects will need to address in the coming years), Best Use of Colour, Iranian Prize (for completed buildings by Iranian practices in the last 3 years), Director’s Special Award. The panel of five super jurors was composed of: Robert Ivy (American Institute of Architects), Nathalie de Vries (MVRDV), Ian Ritchie (Ian Ritchie Architects) and Christoph Ingenhoven (Ingenhoven Architects).
The main award and the title of the World Building of the Year 2017 went to the post-earthquake reconstruction/demonstration project of Guangming Village, Zhaotong, China, by the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The jury appreciated the combined use of new technologies and traditional materials and construction solutions. They also stressed that the science behind the research could be applied directly in other areas prone to earthquakes and suffering from poverty.
As announced, the next edition of WAF, the world’s largest architecture festival, will be held in Amsterdam (28-30 November 2018).
Jakub Figel, Filip Kurasz