Architecture Week
August 2002

World Architecture magazine has recently announced the second annual Arup World Architecture Awards for the “best buildings” of 2001. Entries came from 45 countries, and represented a wide range of building types and firm sizes.

The award for “Best Building of 2001” went to the American Folk Art Museum in Manhattan, designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien and Associates. Naomi Stungo, the editor of World Architecture, said of the museum: “The design is a very interesting response to New York, where buildings are usually so glassy. Here there is a real weightiness; it suggests a different take on contemporary architecture.”

One of the regional winners was the Mediatheque at Venissieux, in Lyon, France, designed by Dominique Perrault. Set at the center of a new pedestrian square, the building impressed the judges by its social commitment and specially developed facades. “Perfectly detailed” and “really ingenious” were among the judge’s comments.

Altair Apartments in Sydney, by architects Engelen Moore, was chosen both as best multifamily housing scheme worldwide and as best single building completed in Australasia. “In Australia,” Stungo says, “where so much development is low density and suburban, this forward-looking building was especially praiseworthy. It showed that high-class, well planned, and sustainable accommodation can be provided in the city center.”

Other regional award winners were a synagogue in Dresden, Germany by Wandel Hoefer Lorch + Hirsch; the Hotel Habita, Mexico City, by Ten Arquitectos; the Sendai Mediatheque, Japan, by Toyo lto & Associates Architects; the Druk White Lotus School, Ladakh, India, by Arup Associates; and the Alexandria Library, in Egypt by Snohetta Hamza.

Awards were also handed out to buildings in special categories: for best one-off house, the Naked House, in Saitama, Japan by Shigeru Ban Architects; for best office/retail building, Lloyds Register of Shipping, London, by Richard Rogers Partnership; and for best sports/leisure building, the Eden Project in Cornwall, United Kingdom by Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners. The best “green” building designation was awarded jointly to the Computer Science Building at York University, Toronto, Ontario, designed by Architects Alliance and Busby Associates and the Druk White Lotus School.

The projects were judged by a panel of leading architectural experts from around the world. The jury also considered commentary from the clients and occupants. One of their objectives of the awards program is to showcase the wealth of emerging architectural talent in the world.

Architects’ great storeys are a tale of world success
By Geraldine O’Brien, Architecture Writer
July 30 2002

The Sydney architectural firm of Engelen Moore first made the local fraternity sit up and take notice with a radical reinterpretation of the Sydney terrace, sitting stark and white in Redfern.

Now its distinctive approach to housing has been recognised in the World Architecture awards announced in Berlin, with the Altair apartments in Kings Cross winning three awards: Building of the Year for Australasia, Oceania and the Pacific Rim, the international Housing Residential Building of the Year and a special sponsor’s award.

Ian Moore and Tina Engelen were out of contact yesterday; Moore was flying back from Berlin and Engelen was out of mobile range on a skiing holiday. But Mr Moore’s wife, Catherine Fisk, said he had phoned from Berlin on Saturday morning Sydney time, just after the awards presentation, and was “absolutely thrilled”.

“We are so isolated here, we don’t get that pat on the back. It was a thrill to sit with all those architects internationally and discover how well regarded the firm is,” she said.

According to the awards jury, the Altair took the award because “it represented excellence in contemporary design, [it] made good use of a difficult site, and it showcased environmental design”. The apartments themselves were “very well planned and socially sound”.

A resident says much the same things in layman’s language: “It’s a fantastic building to live in. The cross-ventilation is great, we keep the place at the right temperature by adjusting the blinds and windows.

“There’s a sense of air and space … the way the building operates and breathes is just amazing. It’s a most unlikely location, but anyone above the eighth floor has wonderful harbour views.”

The building also boasts “lots of thoughtful things like a car cleaning area and a bike [storage] room”, which add to its practicality and liveability.

Caroline Pidcock,the NSW president of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, said the win was “proof that Australian architecture is world class”.

“What has been recognised by this award is attractiveness that is more than skin-deep,” Ms Pidcock said.

The awards drew almost 300 entries from 45 countries. The best individual housing award was won by the Naked House in Japan, while the Building of the Year was the American Folk Museum in Manhattan.