Honouring architectural excellence and innovation

Valentino Architects judge at international architectural awards. This is their take-home message.
The Laguna project in Mexico City by architects Productora. Photo: Camila Cossio and Productora

The direction taken by many of the projects showcased at two prestigious international architecture awards brings the importance of community involvement to the fore, encouraging the need for a closer relationship between existing communities, designers and builders, according to the judges.

Valentino Architects were invited to judge the World Architecture Festival Awards, a global showcase that honours architectural excellence, innovation and sustainability; and the Architectural Review’s New into Old Awards, which recognises excellence in adaptive reuse.

The World Architecture Festival has been bringing the global architecture community together in different cities around the world for over a decade. Each year, it welcomes thousands of architects, designers and suppliers to celebrate their achievements, learn from their peers and discover new products and services.

Among the three entries that stood out to the practice was 19 Waterloo Street, a private residential scheme in Sydney, Australia, by SJB, that aimed to tackle the city’s problem of over sprawling development.

It demonstrated how comfortable and inspiring living spaces can work on a tiny footprint of 27 square metres.

The project was the winner of the Residential: Single Dwelling award at the Inside World Festival of Interiors – a category Peter Valentino judged live from the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, along with Fredrik Svenstedt, founder of Carl Fredrik Svenstedt Architects in Paris, and Simone De Gale, founder of Simone De Gale Architects in London.

The project went on to win the World Interior of the Year award.

The Laguna mixed-use workspace in Mexico city, México by Productora, was highly commended in the AR New into Old Awards. The entries were shortlisted by Sandro Valentino – along with judges Lu Wenyu, co-founder of Amateur Architecture Studio in China, and Mohamadreza Ghodousi, founder of Zav Architects in Iran – during an online debate mediated by the Architectural Review’seditor Manon Mollard.

The project successfully acknowledges the socio-economic potential of positioning a space for public use at the centre of the project, as well as the importance of community consolidation as opposed to gentrification, the Valentino Architects said.

The habitation of the building throughout the renovation also allowed for a more practical and symbiotic relationship between the designers and the builders, helping to optimise the construction process and break down the hierarchy that is often experienced on construction sites, they maintained.

The Kaomai Tea Barn and Museums by Pava Architects in Chiang Mai, Thailand – a new cultural centre situated in an old tobacco processing plant – was given a commendation for its organic approach to restoration and conservation on different scales.

Varying degrees of physical intervention and an incremental approach to master planning and phasing allow space for future development, depending on the needs of the community, Valentino Architects said.

The direction taken by many of the projects showcased at both events, in particular the shortlisted and winning entries, bring out the importance of community involvement, encouraging the need for a closer relationship between existing communities, designers and builders.

The realities of climate change, together with exorbitant building costs, call for retention of existing building stock not only for heritage reasons, but also for environmental, economic and social ones, Valentino Architects said.

“At the same time, this would re-establish a spirit of place and the creation of an architecture that can bring joy to society as a whole.”

Valentino Architects is an award-winning, design-led architecture practice based in Valletta. With projects spanning residential, retail and commercial sectors, the studio has built a reputation for achieving elegant, spatially innovative solutions to varied project briefs.

Related Posts