WAF celebrates the artists of architecture with 2021 Drawing Prize
Gleaming high-rises and luxury homes are all well and good, but sublime architectural design usually begins with a drawing. The World Architecture Festival (WAF) aims to celebrate the importance of this skill – both digital and good old-fashioned pencil and paper – with its Architecture Drawing Prize.
This year's Architecture Drawing Prize category winners are split into three, well, categories: Hand-Drawn, Hybrid and Digital.
However, unlike previous years, the overall winner has not yet been announced. Instead, the category winners will be exhibited at the Sir John Soane's Museum in London from 19 January until 2nd February, with the winner will be declared on 25 January. Let's have a look at the contenders.
The Winner of the Hand-Drawn category is Reconfiguring Addis Ababa's Narratives, by Antonio Paoletti (below). The drawing takes the form of a graphic novel and depicts the redevelopment of the dilapidated historical districts in the Ethiopian city of Addis Ababa.
"This impressive drawing uses an unusual format to place narrative and the impact of buildings on peoples' lives at the heart of architectural drawing," says Sir John Soane's Museum's Exhibitions Curator and Architecture Drawing Prize judge, Louise Stewart. "This approach highlights the vibrancy of architectural drawing today, and the way it facilitates creativity and experimentation."
Unusually, there are not one but two joint winners in the Hybrid category. The judges were equally impressed by Fluid Strata, by Filippa Dafni, and (Un)homeliness, by Boji Hu. Fluid Strata is a drawing that imagines responding to the climate emergency in Central London with the activation of something the artist calls the "Deep Ground" as a flood defense.
"As a jury we were all impressed by Fluid Strata and the way it blurs the lines between physical objects and drawing with great skill and imagination, making it a truly exceptional example of a hybrid rendering," says Ken Shuttleworth, founder of Make Architects and judge.
Boji Hu's (Un)homeliness, meanwhile, consists of a hand-drawn short film and a set of images exploring the boundaries of private and public spheres and imagines using vacant urban spaces to shelter homeless people, refugees, and asylum seekers.
"(Un)homeliness is a powerful story told with a moody suggestive pencil gesture," says fellow judge and architect Lily Jencks, co-founder of Lily Jencks Studio/ Jencks Squared. "It was exciting to see the stills animated with sound to convey a strong atmospheric urban scene, accompanied by beautiful renders to give a sense of a full potential of hybrid architectural drawings."
Finally, Site(s) of Flux, by Zachary Higson, won both the Digital category and The Lockdown Prize, which was established during the pandemic, and is awarded to one of the finalists in the Hand-Drawn, Hybrid and Digital categories. It's described by WAF as a location-based project investigating the nature of place that questions how a traditional architectural project should be carried out.
"This drawing was generated in the potentially claustrophobic context of home isolation during the pandemic," says World Architecture Festival Director, Paul Finch, who chaired the judging panel. "The depth of constructive engagement with the immediately available, and the work that resulted, make Site(s) of Flux a worthy winner of this year's Lockdown Prize."
That's it for the category winners. We’ll be back next year with the overall winner.