WORLD ARCHITECTURE NEWS – WAN Future Projects Commercial Award 2016 Shortlist Announced
21 February 2017
“Now in its second year, the WAN Future Projects Commercial Award 2016 was founded to celebrate excellence in ‘design only’ projects across seven core sectors, welcoming innovative entries that demonstrate vision and progressive thinking. The concepts submitted to the commercial category were ambitious in scale and scope, showcasing dramatic structures that will not only effectively host economic activity, but also promise to become iconic structures for their surrounding locations.
The judging panel faced the difficult task of selecting a shortlist from a longlist of 25 entries. This year’s jury, chosen for their expertise in this category, were: Jason Balls, Design Director at EPR Architects, John Mcrae, Director and Co-Owner of Orms, and Julian Anderson, Studio Director at Bates Smart. Designs were assessed on factors including originality and context, and then considered in relation to how successfully they met the client brief and pushed the accepted boundaries for commercial building typology.
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In an ethereal landscape at the edge of desert and sea, this new resort and spa is designed with simplicity and clarity in mind, creating a coherent composition without obvious spectacle. However, despite this move towards elegance rather than showmanship, the judges recognised the ambition inherent in the concept. Jason said: ‘We all have to take our hats off to the ambition of this scheme, relating to the geological aspects of the Qatar landscape.’
The topographic transition from the desert dunescapes to the beach creates a transition from sand to sea, and the discrete carvings into the earth provide several opportunities for drama and surprise. Julian commented: ‘I think the imagery is a beautiful contrast of a man-made structure colliding with the natural world, It creates a real level of interest.’
An observatory within the spa recalls ancient journeys, ancient navigation, Arabic discoveries in mathematics and astronomy and the new worlds that this opened. The landscape dissolves to a scattering of the luxurious units, which are interspersed with verdant gardens. Jason said: ‘Looking at some of the potential spaces they are making, it could be absolutely spectacular. I would love to see it starting on a slightly smaller scale because it’s a huge undertaking, but I think it could be fantastic.’ John agreed, saying: ‘I think it’s hugely seductive…It would be a great scheme to see in reality.’ . . . ”
Rendering Credit: Luxigon