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World architecture festival 2016

“Housing for everyone” with this motto the créme de la créme of the international architecture scene gathered in Berlin in November 2016 to pay tribute to the best buildings of the year.

After 2011 and four years in Singapore, the World Architecture Festival moved back to Europe for 2016. From November 16 to 18 the international architecture scene gathered at Arena Berlin to exchange ideas on current trends and to debate and evaluate outstanding projects. ABB/Busch-Jaeger has been involved regularly as a partner since 2013. This year the company supported the overall festival operations as headline partner

The World Architecture Festival, which attracted more than 2,200 visitors from all over the world, presented the WAF Awards again this year. Berlin also hosted renowned architects from all over the world who presented the projects they had submitted in short 20-minute presentations. In the 13 “Crit Rooms” designed especially for this purpose, which were reminiscent of sliced, radiant-white igloos, visitors and a three-person jury listened on. Each forum was allocated one category, such as “Housing”, “Offices”, “Mixed Use” or “Culture”. The winners of the individual categories compete with one another for the main prize, which was presented by the “super-jury” on the last day of the festival.

WAF 2016 - The Winners

Robert Konieczny/KWK Promes, Katowice (Poland)
World building of the year

National Museum of Szczecin

Hayball, Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane (Australia)
Future project of the year

South Melbourne Primary School

Isthmus Architecture, Madison (USA)
Landscape of the year

Kopupaka Reserve in Auckland, New Zealand

The Chinese University of Hong Kong School of Architecture
Small project of the year

ZCB Bamboo Pavilion

AN Design
Interior of the year

Black Cant System


Lively exchange and international flair 

In the breaks between the presentations the jury members gathered in the “Judges’ & Speaker Lounge”. This popular place to relax was furnished and operated by ABB/Busch-Jaeger. All submissions were exhibited on boards in the arena during the three-day event. Another important element of the WAF Festival 2016 was the conference that took place this year under the theme of “Housing for Everyone”. In several key lectures, renowned architects such as Matthias Sauerbruch (Sauerbruch Hutton, Berlin), Ben van Berkel (UN Studio, Amsterdam) and Patrick Schumacher (Zaha Hadid Architects) tackled questions on increasing urbanization and scant residential space. Another feature of the World Architecture Festival this year was a spacious exhibitor area in which companies in the industry presented their products and solutions.

Optimism, poetry and fantasy

Not to be forgotten are the evening gala dinners, which were marked by a lively exchange and an international flair. A particularly glamorous event was the award ceremony, for which 800 guests gathered at Berlin’s Postbahnhof. The jury, which was made up of Louisa Hutton (Sauerbruch Hutton), David Chipperfield, Frederic Migayrou, Christoph Ingenhoven and Angelene Chan (DP Architects), awarded the title of World Building of the Year to the National Museum in Szczecin. The architects Robert Konieczny/KWK Promes from Katowice accepted the award from Festival Director Paul Finch. The chairman of the jury, David Chipperfield, emphasized: “This project enriches the city and the life within it. It makes reference to three historic phases: the pre-war period, the destruction of the Second World War and the post-war development that left a clear void in the centre of the city. (…) The design tackles the past with a mixture of optimism, poetry and fantasy.”

The “Future Project of the Year” prize is regularly presented to an as yet unfinished project. Here the jury, made up of Coren Sharples (SHoP Architects), Kim Nielsen (3XN), Ole Scheeren and Wong Mun Summ (WOHA), recognized the architects from Australian firm Hayball, who designed a new primary school for the southern part of Melbourne. Here a vertically arranged living environment is developing over five storeys, which is set to enrich the rapidly growing Fishermans Bend district with social amenities. Alongside the school rooms, which offer space for 525 pupils, the complex includes sports facilities, a centre for infant education and a number of outdoor and indoor areas that can be used by pupils and residents alike. The jury praised the campus, which is due to open in 2018, for its diversity and the skilful links between the indoor and outdoor spaces. After the success of the festival, Director Paul Finch announced that the World Architecture Festival 2017 will once again take place in Berlin.

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