Leisure projects triumph on World Architecture Festival opening day
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Leisure projects triumph on World Architecture Festival opening day

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Leisure architecture was a big winner on the opening day of the World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Berlin, with a quintet of projects triumphing in several categories of the prestigious WAF Awards.

The Culture category, which consisted of 17 projects, was won by Polish architects Robert Konieczny KWK Promes for their National Museum and Dialogue Centre in Szczecin, Poland.

The museum sits underground, with the roof forming part of the city’s Solidarity Square. The centre charts the city’s recent history, including the anti-Communist rallies which took place at the site in 1970, which led to the deaths of 16 protesters.

The architects wanted to create “an urban design hybrid which encloses the space as a quarter, while retaining the values of open public space”. The design, completed in 2014, eliminates any barriers encountered at the meeting point of the square and the city, reopening the site and complementing the nearby cultural landmarks, such as Estudio Barozzi Veiga’s award-winning Konzerthaus.

Category judges Miquel Adria, Jason Flanagan and Sergei Tchoban said: “The National Museum in Szcecin is a great public space, more than a museum, but the best way to [enter into a] dialogue with the city and the new philharmonic building. [It offers] a great but also simple solution with only one material - precast concrete. It also creates an opportunity to create extra programming for the area under the public space."

Zaha Hadid Architects were given an honorary mention for their Messner Mountain Museum Corones.

In the Mixed-Use category, Danish studio Schmidt Hammer Lassen (SHL) were named the winners for Malmö Live - a project which combines a concert hall, convention centre and hotel and was built in a public-private partnership.

Commenting on SHL’s win, judges David Keuning, James Pickard and Silja Tilne said: “It’s a public building in the best sense of the word: open to anyone. Not exclusive and very democratic. It cleverly eliminates the traditional division between front of house and back of house. It’s a real piece of the city and an important catalyst of urban regeneration. The architecture is restrained and uncompromising.”

In the Civic and Community - Completed category, IDOM won for the Salburua Civic Center, a building that combines sporting, cultural and administrative uses to service the neighborhood in Vitoria, Spain.

In the Civic - Future Projects category Kohn Pederson Fox won for their Hudson Yards masterplan in New York, which the category judges praised for "creating extensive park and public plaza space that is accessible to all."

In the Display - Completed Building category, Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp were named the winners for their Waterfront Pavilion at Sydney's Australian National Maritime Museum. Built to mark the centenary of World War I and commemorate 100 years of service by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the pavilion creates a transition for visitors from the waterfront dock onto the vessels HMAS Vampire and HMAS Onslow.

WAF is being held alongside the INSIDE World Festival celebrating global interiors, and the Bars and Restaurant award was given to Neri&Hu for their restaurant Rachel's Burger in Shanghai, China.

The judges said: "We felt that the approach to the narrow alley site and the reinterpretation of the Californian 'Route One' diner was well judged without becoming a pastiche."

The winners of each of WAF's 32 categories and INSIDE's nine categories will pitch their projects again on 18 November to a super jury, with the overall winner then named World Building of the Year.

Architects and designers from around the world are in Berlin for WAF to debate issues facing the industry.

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Leisure architecture was a big winner on the opening day of the World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Berlin, with a quartet of projects triumphing in categories of the prestigious WAF Awards.

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