3XN’s Quay Quarter Tower is WAF 2022 World Building of the Year

Dream Pathway declared Future Project of the Year, with Pingtan Library for Interiors and Gaodang Landscape Rehabilitation for Landscape of the Year

Words Mel Patrick Kasingsing, with Miguel Llona, WAF
Images World Architecture Festival

Quay Quarter Tower by 3XN © Martin Siegner Header: Quay Quarter Tower by 3XN © Phil Noller

“We plan to be live in Lisbon in December 2022!”

Those words proclaimed by Paul Finch back in 2021 were music to every architect and designer’s ears, as it meant a return to normalcy for the World Architecture Festival and INSIDE Festival in the beautiful city of Lisbon, no less. It’s been a long journey back—after being shelved in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world’s largest architecture and design fest had to make do with an online event last year, with architects interacting with their juries through their computer screens. With the WAF’s return to a live event, that barrier is now removed as architects presented their shortlisted projects in front of jury panels assigned to them, just like before.  

With 491 projects shortlisted across 43 categories for Completed Buildings, Future Projects, Landscape, and INSIDE, the three-day event in Lisbon delivered thrills, surprises, and interactions that can only be experienced live. The winners chosen for each category, after enduring intense critiques and deliberations from their juries, had to present their projects again in front of the Super Jury, the prestigious panel tasked with declaring the overall winners of the festival. Find out who these well-deserved winners are in our recap below, together with the jury’s comments.

WAF 2022 Winners

Quay Quarter Tower by 3XN © Fred Holt

World Building of the Year: Quay Quarter Tower by 3XN

Paul Finch, Programme Director of the World Architecture Festival: “The winner was commissioned to provide a building on a world-class site, and to retain a huge proportion of an existing fifty-year-old commercial tower. The result was an excellent example of adaptive reuse. It has an excellent carbon story, and it is an example of anticipatory workspace design produced pre-COVID which nevertheless has provided healthy and attractive space for post-pandemic users. The client was prepared to risk building out an idea on a speculative basis – it worked”.

Pingtan Children Library by Condition_Lab © Sai Zhao

World Interior of the Year: Pingtan Children Library by Condition_Lab

WAF comment: Judges were impressed by the “traditional craftmanship” of the design for children, “the real users of this delightful structure, where they can play on the steps, reach for a book or peak at their friends”. They congratulated Condition_Lab on creating “a space for the community and achieving it”.

Dream Pathway by CAATStudio (Kamboozia Architecture and Design Studio)

Future Project of the Year: Dream Pathway by CAATStudio (Kamboozia Architecture and Design Studio)

WAF comment: Judges described the project as an “original architectural and urban concept that lives up to its project title and ambition” and congratulated it on its “exquisitely controlled geometry” which they felt “provided a surprising continuity” between the “city’s street pattern and the district’s new parkland destination”.

Preservation and Rehabilitation of Rural Landscape of Gaodang © Anshun Institute of Architectural Design

Landscape of the Year: Preservation and Rehabilitation of Rural Landscape of Gaodang by Anshun Institute of Architectural Design

WAF comment: The judges praised the project as an “incredibly sensitive village conservation scheme, breathing life back into rural China”. The project brought together a rich diversity of stakeholders over the last seven years, to realize a design that ensures this rural community will last into the future.

The ten shortlisted Pinoy projects for WAF 2022

Pinoy Pride at the WAF

This year’s batch of Filipino architects might not be as rewarded as last year’s, but it was definitely a learning experience, and all finalists performed admirably amidst the competition, with jurors giving praise and more than a few good words across the board. The increase in the number of shortlisted entries this year, with ten projects from eight firms across eight categories, is already a win in itself, which will surely embolden more entrants in the upcoming years. More than just being the highest turnout for Pinoys in the World Architecture Festival, this batch also proved to have a diverse range of typologies, from the usual residential projects to forest city masterplans, from climate-sensitive resort villas to Martian colonies.

WAF favorites such as WTA Architecture & Design, BAAD Studio, and Jorge Yulo Architects and Associates graced the field once again, the latter of which sadly remains without a category win despite strong performances year after year. Their wealth of experience in the competition helped not only themselves, but also the newly shortlisted Pinoys in DST Design and Build, Bersabarc Design Studio, and Studio Fuerzo, who benefited greatly from the veterans’ tutelage during the private practice crits organized by GROHE Philippines and Kanto last October and November. These WAF newbies can now boast of having immersed themselves in a once-in-a-lifetime experience that exposed them to the international architecture industry.

The accolades may not have been there, but the Philippines continues its strong push towards global relevance in architecture and design thanks to the strong performance of the architects in their crits. Below are the rewards reaped by this year’s contingent.

Looking towards the future—in Singapore

Unless another black swan event disrupts the world, the WAF remains all systems go for 2023, with the festival returning to the familiar grounds of Singapore for its next venue. The Asian country has played host to the WAF from 2012 to 2015, and is notably the home of three World Building of the Year winners (Cooled Conservatories at Gardens by the Bay in 2012, The Interlace in 2015, and Kampung Admiralty in 2018) which could give architects more reason to fly and attend the festival.

The expectation for the Philippines, together with its ASEAN neighbors, remains the same—to increase its presence for next year’s WAF. The batches of Pinoy entries grow larger each year, and ASEAN architecture particularly from countries like Vietnam and Thailand continues to be recognized on the global stage. More than joining for the accolades, the hope is for these ASEAN architects to continue to innovate toward finding solutions for the world’s most pressing problems. Because while things may be back to normal now, there’s no telling when things could go awry again, and the design industry will need to step up more than ever. • 

View all the winners of the World Architecture Festival 2022 here.

Thanks to GROHE Philippines for sponsoring the practice crits that Kanto organized for Filipino WAF finalists. Your support is building a community of architects and designers who believe in life-long learning and critical thinking.

Kanto.com.ph is an official media partner of the World Architecture Festival 2022

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