Highlights from the Winner’s Circle: The World Architecture Festival

The World Architecture Festival, one of the world’s most prestigious events in the field, was founded in 2008 to celebrate architectural excellence around the globe. At the heart of the celebration is an international design competition that honours the most innovative, the most stunning, and the most daring architectural projects worldwide. Each year, the entries are narrowed down to a shortlist of several hundred, which are then featured in live presentation at the festival.

In the four years following its inception, the Festival was held in Barcelona; it then moved to Singapore for the next four, and since then, both Berlin and Amsterdam have hosted the event. The 2019 festival took place in early December at the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre. Different awards were announced daily, honouring the very best across a range of categories. Below we take a look at some of the winners that caught our eye for their cutting-edge creativity and sheer, simple beauty.

Category: Display – Completed Buildings

Winner: The Vessel (Heatherwick Studio)

Photo credit: Michael Moran

The Vessel, located in Manhattan, was built as part of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project. This honeycomb-inspired structure presents a new, innovative way for the public to experience chance encounters. The official name at the moment, Vessel (TKA) is a working title, with the “TKA” standing for “Temporarily Known As.” The owners of the structure have put out a call to the public to help name this new landmark on the Far West Side. The New York Times reported that the CEO of Hudson Yards’ developer Related Companies said that its unusual shape was intended to make the structure stand out like a “12-month Christmas tree.”

Category: House – Completed Buildings

Winner: Castle Cove House (TERRROIR)

Photo credit: Brett Boardman

Castle Cove House is a single-family dwelling in Sydney, Australia. The firm shares via its website that the topography of the landscape — the angophora-lined ravines, tributaries that lead to the harbour, and sandstone geology — inform the design  of the house. The geometric, angular shape of the concrete shell is meant to look entirely new, without eschewing the possibility that it could have been unearthed during excavation. The judges stated that “with the diversity and complexity of space, there is a visual shattering of the boundaries between inside and out.” 

Category:  Production, Energy, & Recycling – Completed Buildings

Winner: The Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience (Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners)

Photo credit: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

We’re already big fans of the Macallan Distillery; in fact, we’ve featured it in our Design & Décor section before! This project was recognized for being “masterfully embedded in the landscape through an undulating timber roof with grass cover,” taking inspiration from historical references. This unique structure pays homage to the sweeping 390-acre estate upon which it is nestled. Surrounded by roaming cattle, well-tilled fields, and buildings stocked with Spanish oak casks, this unique distillery and visitor experience centre brings stunning architecture to the equally stunning Scottish Highlands.

Category: Transport – Completed Buildings

Winner: Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 (Integrated Design Associates)

Photo credit: John Nye

Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 marks the expansion of the second largest airport in the Philippines. Judges described the design as “simple” but “elegant,” with many locally sourced materials that would be “capable of future expansion.” According to the country’s Department of Tourism, the rooftop of the building is designed to represent the ocean, while its interior ceiling aesthetically harkens to the hull of a ship. The result is a warm, open, and welcoming space to visitors.

Category: Office – Future Projects 

Winner: Attabotics Headquarters (Modern Office of Design + Architecture) 

Photo credit: Modern Office of Design + Architecture

The Attabotics Headquarters are located in Calgary, Canada. This 12,000 square metre manufacturing site and office, home to a robotics company, rises with geometric boldness from the flat Calgarian landscape, adding drama to the vast skyline. The judging panel was particularly impressed by “the interiors and vertical integration of elements of the building.” They added that “the concept is perfectly thought through and developed into a beautiful building that sets new standards for modern manufacturing.”



Images via v2com