WAF names World Building of the Year
A disused railway storage shed that's been transformed into an innovative public library has been awarded the prestigious World Building of the Year prize at the 2019 World Architecture Festival (WAF). The LocHal Public Library in Tilburg, the Netherlands was crowned during a three-day event in Amsterdam where a range of prizes including Small Project of the Year, Landscape of the Year and Future Project of the Year were awarded.
The building that houses LocHal was originally constructed back in 1932 and functioned as a locomotive hangar before it fell into disuse and was slated to be demolished. Happily, Civic Architects, along with Braaksma & Roos Architectenbureau, Arup, Inside Outside/Petra Blaisse, and Mecanoo, turned it into a superb library, co-working space, and cultural center that serves the local community instead.
The interior design is sympathetic to the site's history. For example, industrial columns are left exposed and old train tracks remain in place on the concrete floor. In a nice touch, large tables built atop old train chassis can be moved up and down the tracks to create stages for outdoor events. Elsewhere, a cosy writer's room has been created by lining its walls and ceiling with books. This book motif is repeated in the children's library too, which is inspired by a nearby fairytale theme park.
Landscape of the Year
During the same event, Original Design Studio won Landscape of the Year for Demonstration Section of Yangpu Riverside Public Space. The project aims to reconnect Shanghai's urban population with the city's stretches of waterfront, while also celebrating its industrial riverside heritage.
Small Project of the Year
Lokadhatu (The World), by Studio Link-Arc, won Small Project of the Year. Consisting of a pavilion for children in Zhangzhou, China, WAF's judges lauded its originality and ability to blend interior and exterior.
Use of Colour Prize
Archimatika's Comfort Town picked up the Use of Colour Prize for its vibrant 180 low-rise apartment building development in Kiev, Ukraine. The project fosters a safe pedestrian-friendly space.
Best Use of Certified Timber
Best Use of Certified Timber was awarded to iredale pedersen hook architects for its Pingelly Recreation and Cultural Centre in Australia. WAF's judges were particularly impressed with the timber detailing of the multipurpose community building.
Future Project of the Year
The Future Project of the Year, which celebrates architecture underway but yet to be completed, went to the Connected City Oberbillwerder, by ADEPT and Karres En Brands, along with Transsolar, Büro Happold, and Kraft. Located in Hamburg, it will feature a mix of housing, business, shopping, public buildings, and recreational activities.
The WAFX Prize concerns proposals that are deemed to tackle the world's biggest challenges, ranging from climate change and carbon reduction to aging and health. X-Space|Urban Fabric Regeneration got the nod for its project Verform, which envisions creating what it calls a new 'urban living room' along a 1 km (0.6 mile) section of the Sheikh Zayed Road – the longest road in the United Arab Emirates.
Head to the gallery to see more of the 2019 WAF winners, including some additional awards, such as the Water Research Prize and Best Use of Natural Light.