world architecture

The World Architecture Festival (WAF) announced the ultimate accolades of World Building of the Year, World Interior of the Year, Future Project of the Year and Landscape of the Year. 

A host of special prizes, including the International Building Beauty Prize, Best Use of Colour Prize and Small Project of the Year Prize, were also announced at the closing event, to celebrate the 16th edition of the festival.  

World Building of the Year 

This award was given to Huizhen High School by Approach Design Studio/Zhejiang University of Technology Engineering Design Group in China. The project was initially shortlisted in the Completed Building School category. 

Located in Jiangbei District, Ningbo City, Huizhen is a bold exploration of “efficiency-first” campus design, where time can be “wasted” seriously. The boarding school campus is a “floating forest” with classrooms hung in each corner of the forest and joined by meandering paths. Scattered tree houses provide students with temporary escapes from the burden of school. 

A ramp leads up to a gentle sloping roof, which doubles as an open-air lecture hall and a rooftop park with sporting facilities – usable by the public over weekends and creating a new typology of architectural promenade. 

world architecture

The WAF World Interior of the Year 2023: 19 Waterloo Street. Described as a tour de force, the 30m² home is an exercise in limiting the footprint but expanding connections. Photo credit: Anson Smart

World Interior of the Year 

This award was given to 19 Waterloo Street by SJB in Australia. Originally shortlisted in the Residential (Single Dwelling) category, the winning interior utilises expanded connections creatively within a limited footprint to create an open and quiet oasis in the city. 

Wedged onto a narrow strip adjacent to the road, judges described this small multi-storey house as “like a wardrobe for the architect himself to live in”. There are unique furniture pieces and a work of art that was commissioned as a catalyst for the project. Craft and detail are everywhere, partly as a result of using materials salvaged from other projects.  

Future Project of the Year 

world architecture

The WAF World Building of the Year 2023: Huizhen High School. A bold exploration of campus design, with areas for efficiency and others for “wasting time”. Photo courtesy of WAF23

The award for Future Project of the Year went to The Probiotic Tower by Design and More International in Egypt. The project was initially selected from the Experimental category. 

The Probiotic Tower’s central proposition is to repurpose obsolete water towers to positively address climate change as an adaptive system for cities, particularly in the developing world. At the core of the Probiotic Tower is a large algae bioreactor tank that absorbs CO from local sources. Other features to promote the absorption of CO include facade algae panels, reed beds for treating wastewater and photovoltaic panels.   

A school in China, a small house in Australia and an experimental tower in Egypt took the top awards at the World Architecture Festival 2023. 

Full acknowledgement and thanks go to and for the information in this article. 


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