Practical innovation recognised during P/A Awards

by Darren
Practical innovation

Ten projects were honoured, each for its holistic approach to design with a consideration for practical realisation.


Innovation that is practically realisable was what the adjudicators of the 61 Annual Progressive Architecture (P/A) Awards were looking for.

Coming out on top was the Tianjin EcoCity Ecology and Planning Museums, China, designed by Steven Holl Architects. The museums are built on opposite sides of a plaza in a new eco-city that is being developed on a reclaimed salt pan and polluted tidal flats in Tianjin. They incorporate exhibition and event spaces, offices and a café.

The one museum, the rectilinear Planning Museum, has a rectangular shape with large cavities and an exterior shear wall made of bamboo-formed concrete. In turn, the curvilinear Ecology Museum seems to incorporate the collective pieces that were seemingly carved out of the other and features a spiral ram that traces the edge of a large atrium. On the inside of both, irregularly shaped spaces continue the design concept.

“It has a strong identity and is compositionally interesting,” commented one of the jurors, Lise Anne Couture. “There is coherence between the interior and exterior and between one interior space and another.”

The P/A Awards recognise projects during the design and construction phases, prior to completion, and has received more than 150 submissions. The judges recognised ten projects deemed able to achieve its potential. Apart from the winning entry, the others included:

Award: Kaohsiung Port Terminal, Taiwan
– RUR Architecture
The terminal, which includes a conference hall, retail and office space, is sited laterally with regards to the city grid and accommodates pedestrian traffic via an elevated promenade, parallel to the waterfront.

Award: National Music Centre of Canada
– Allied Works Architecture
A series of nine concrete and steel towers, clad in terracotta and metal panels curved upwards and joined in a canopy that arches over a city street, is part of the restoration of the 1905 King Edward Hotel, which now houses one of Calgary’s oldest music clubs.

Citation: Liverpool Department Store, Insurgentes, Mexico City
– Rojkind Arquitectos
To meet the challenge of building close to two busy streets with pedestrians, the building’s steel-framed, aluminium and fibre-glass honeycomb facade was thickened and opened up, allowing shoppers to move inside the hexagonal cavities, and animating the facade to people from the street.

Citation: Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne, Australia
– John Wardle Architects and
At the centre of the building, the four-storey studio hall is surrounded by metal mesh enclosed balconies, with a canopy that provides natural light and ventilation.

Citation: Soccer Centre at St. Michel Environmental Complex, Montreal
– Saucier + Perrotte Architectes/Hughes Condon Marler Architects
The centre, which includes a soccer field, entrance hall, bleacher seating, training and locker rooms, offices and a café, is enclosed by a continuous roof that folds into the grandstands and is supported by a laminated wood structure.

Citation: The Broad, Los Angeles
– Diller Scofidio + Renfro/Gensler
A “veil and vault” design concept, the building comprises a public exhibition space and an art archive, mainly constructed out of glass-fibre reinforced concrete.

Honourable mention: Fayetteville 2030, Food City Scenaro
– The University of Arkansas Community Design Centre
Fayetteville 2030 aims to introduce urban agriculture to benefit local communities through community gardens, composting networks, greenhouses, aquaculture facilities and edible parks, with food being distributed through exchanges, hubs and markets.

Honourable mention: TBA 21, Argentina
– Xefirotarch/Hernan Diaz Alonso
Situated in traditional grassland, segments of this pavilion’s metallic spheres are decorated in cowhide with others draped in what appears to be beef slabs.

Honourable mention: Albuquerque Rail Yards Master Plan
– Eric Owen Moss Architects
Once a railway service yard and then a filming location and event space, the site is now earmarked for a mixed-use development with office and cultural spaces, as well as commercial facilities and workforce housing.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to www.architectmagazine.com for the information given to write this article.

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