WAN Awards 2016: the winners of Waterfront, Transport and House of the Year

Now in its eighth year, the WAN (World Architecture News) AWARDS has evolved into the world’s largest international architectural awards programme, with 1,379 Entries, 317 International Judges, 72 Countries. A total of 22 categories are represented throughout the year and every two months areas as diverse as Adaptive Reuse, Transport, Performing Spaces and Waterfront Architecture are judged by an extensive panel of top international experts. 

Winners of "Waterfront", "Transport" & "House of the Year" were recently announced. 

The WAN Waterfront Award 2016 continues to celebrate and highlight architecture that embraces and exploits the benefits of sites in proximity to water. The award aims to bring together some of the best designs and also promotes projects that address the major issue of rising sea levels, providing a global platform to showcase inspirational ‘built’ designs spanning over the past five years. To triumph for the category is LINK Landskap with the outstanding The Waterfront Promenade at Aker Brygge in Oslo.

The promenade breathes new life into an important centre for social interaction and activity in Oslo. David stated: “Through simple design, quality materials, and elegant details, the promenade and surrounding streets and plazas effectively connect the city to the waterfront, creating a cohesive place with a distinct, attractive identity.” The project forms part of the effort to reinvigorate Oslo’s post-industrial waterfront by creating a publically accessible promenade, connecting the city’s east and west. One of the project’s main challenges was to reconfigure and simplify the area’s cross-section to reorganise and consolidate the promenade. Richard praised the project’s success in creating a wider, more generous space, saying: “This feels like a lovely regeneration project as well as an urban intervention.”

Isthmus Group and Gottlieb Paludan Architects with COBE Architects announced joint winners of WAN Transport Awards 2016.

The first practice won for Taumanu Reserve Bridge in Auckland, instead, Gottlieb Paludan Architects and Cobe Architects joined them in first place with their design for Nørreport Station in Copenhagen

Taumanu Reserve Bridge restores a connection to a re-imagined coastal landscape created after motorway development in the 1970s severed the local populace from the sea. To resolve the problem of a park in two parts, a bridge of sufficient form and experience was required to stitch the halves together, with a legibility that was of the park and not the motorway. Beautifully balanced and proportioned, the bridge moves into the adjacent constructed and planted landforms and abutments and is bookended by basaltic concrete panels. The jury praised the resulting seamless integration of the bridge with the landscape. 

In contrast with a pedestrian bridge in a coastal landscape, joint winner Nørreport Station is Denmark’s busiest transport hub, with around 350,000 travellers a day. Once a tired urban space with a chaotic, unsafe and noisy atmosphere, the station is now a place characterised by safety, comfort and efficiency.  The jury admired the transformative design, which Bridget praised as “very people friendly”.  The creation of an open and accessible urban space involved consideration of the efficiency of passenger flows. As a result, the forecourt was designed as an extension of the city’s ‘floor’ and direct pedestrian access was established from the surrounding pedestrianised zones, while vehicular traffic has been redirected, leaving only one traffic artery north of the station. 

In its tenth anniversary, the WAN House of the Year category continues to celebrate projects that not only deliver originality and quality, but also display a commitment to creating spaces that improve people’s lives. DUST for Casa Caldera in Arizona and Walker Workshop for Oak Pass House in Beverly Hills awarded joint winners. Situated in very different and distinctive American landscapes, both houses exemplify designs that subtly complement and integrate with the natural beauty of their surroundings.

Casa Caldera is an off-grid house in Southern Arizona’s San Rafael Valley, a remote landscape 15 miles north of the US/Mexico Border. Due to the location, self-sufficiency and security were key considerations in the design by DUST. Almost entirely custom built, features including the scoria walls, steel windows, doors, hardware, wood siding, casework and framing were all fabricated and installed by DUST. Water is sourced from a well, while solar power is used for minimal electrical and appliance needs. Cooling is provided by natural cross ventilation through the zaguan and window openings, and wood fuel sourced on the property provides heating.

In a contrasting location with panoramic canyon views, Oak Pass House in Beverly Hills was also created with an eye to the property’s adjacent topography and landscape. 130 protected Coast Live Oak Trees surround the house, and were the primary drivers for Walker Workshop’s design. A sunken courtyard flanks the hallway, bringing in light and air from above, and creating a more intimately-scaled outdoor space. Bisecting the house, a seventy-five foot infinity lap pool creates continuity between the trees and their reflection.

Image credits:
The Waterfront Promenade at Aker Brygge by LINK Landskap © Tomasz Majewski
Taumanu Reserve Bridge by Isthmus Group © David St George
Nørreport Station by Gottlieb Paludan Architects © Jens M. Lindhe
Oak Pass House by Walker Workshop ©Joe Fletcher
Casa Caldera by DUST © ESTO, Jeff Goldberg