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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Civic Building of the Year 2009

Quality and variety of projects is 'heart-warming' says panel member Robert Adam
As a category, Civic Buildings is as enthralling as it is broad. Receiving the largest number of entries to any sector so far, projects entered in the WAN Civic Building of the Year 2009 award encompassed everything from the smallest Mexican chapel, to the grandest Swedish concert hall, from a ticket booth in New York, to a gymnasium in China. With such variety it can come as little surprise that WAN have the pleasure of awarding two projects as joint winners of Civic Building of the Year 2009.

"The variety across the world, the different strands of civic building, the different ways that people treated it was really genuinely very interesting and actually heartwarming," said jury member Robert Adam.

A jury of six members of the architectural glitteratti was formed for the award: Michel Rojkind - founder of rojkind arquitectos, Robert Adam of Robert Adam Architects, John McAslan of John McAslan + Partners, Kate Goodwin - curator of the Architecture Programme at the Royal Academy of Arts, Peter Murray - founder of New London Architecture and WAN's very own Editorial Director Michael Hammond came to the conclusion that the two very different but equally spectacular winners each deserved the title of Civic Building of the Year on their own merit.

Manchester Civil Justice Centre by Denton Corker Marshall and Amsterdam Public Library by Jo Coenen can therefore both celebrate their crowning as WAN Civic Building of the Year 2009.

The original approach to a building typology which is traditionally secretive saw jurors impressed by Manchester Civil Justice Centre's application of transparent space. "It's interesting that it's challenging how we see law courts. Its organisational relationship of space in a vertical way, in terms of challenging a typology it becomes quite important," said Goodwin.

Amsterdam Public Library was praised for its composition in a context where the building must be viewed with different sympathies on each side.

"It's really a collection of buildings put together in one building but managing to be one building at the same time," remarked Adam.

Our congratulations go out to Denton Corker Marshall and Jo Coenen whose projects will now both be automatically entered for the ultimate prize of WAN Building of the Year 2009.

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