The massive task of rebuilding after an earthquake is no mean feat. One project not only did that, but also breathed new life into traditional building techniques, serving as a good example of architecture that is relevant to people’s lives as well as the times.
For all this, the post-earthquake reconstruction and demonstration project of Guangming Village in China was deemed the World Building of the Year 2017.
The designers, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, received the honour at the World Architecture Festival (WAF) awards ceremony last week. The 10th edition of the annual festival was held in Berlin.
The project began in the wake of the Ludian county earthquake in 2014, which flattened almost all the buildings in the village of Guangming.
The designers created safe, affordable, comfortable and sustainable homes for the villagers – homes that future generations can inherit.
“The architects succeeded in translating ‘four walls and a roof’ into something which, through architectural commitment, becomes a project that is much more profound,” said Paul Finch, WAF programme director, in a press statement.
“This project is a demonstration that architecture is just as relevant in the poorest of communities as it is in the richest.”
The Future Project of the Year award went to Australia’s Sydney Fish Markets project by Allen Jack+Cottier and NH Architects.
The jury selected the project for “the great transformation it offers to the area”. Commending it for its insightful vision, judges said “its success stems from the engagement and collaboration with politicians, developers and land owners.”
The Landscape of the Year award went to the project Peasants And Their Land: The Recovered Archaeo-logical Landscape Of Chengtoushan, Lixian County, China.
A 6,500-year-old live archaeological site, protected by the local government, served as the basis for the project by Chinese firm Turenscape Consortium.
Judges felt that this winner “reflected a hopeful and creative mixture of archaeological history, rice production, and tourism.”
They were also impressed by the “productive engagement between visitors and farmers who are able to maintain their traditional livelihood”.
The Small Project of the Year winner was the Streetlight Tag-puro orphanage and community centre in Tagpuro, Tacloban, in the Philippines.
Streetlight is a Norwegian NGO that looks after vulnerable street children. The project involved the relocation of Streetlight’s centre following the destruction wrought by the super-typhoon Haiyan in 2013; it was designed by the Eriksson Furunes + Leandro V. Locsin Partners + Jago Boase.
The judges were won over by the project because it is “a genuine good news story, whereby a community engagement process led to an authentic and high quality result”.
The Best Use of Colour prize went to the Fitzroy Crossing Renal Hostel in Australia, an Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects project.
The building provides long term accommodation for Aboriginal people from the outskirts who require renal dialysis.
Judges praised the project for being “a design that uses holistically integrated colour relative to the landscape and the local community”.
“As the project’s main function is healing, the use of colour creates an emotional context that is deeply supportive and nurturing.”
The World Interior of the Year title was taken home by Fabric-wood, an installation for premium designer furniture store Xtra in Singapore on behalf of the Herman Miller brand.
The Produce.Workshop design comprises a 20m x 7m sail constructed with lightweight plywood that stretches over the interior spaces.
The structure guides the customer from the entrance to the glass curtain at the end of the store.
The 2017 winners were selected by a jury of five luminaries of the global architecture industry: Christoph Ingenhoven (principal, Ingenhoven Architects, Germany), Ian Ritchie (founder, Ian Ritchie Architects, Britain), James Timberlake (principal, Kieran Timberlake, United States), Ellen van Loon (partner, OMA, the Netherlands), and Mun Summ Wong (founder, Woha, Singapore).