Australia has more than 30 buildings shortlisted for the World Architecture Festival


It is such a reflection of the abnormal times we are living through that so many of the wonderful Australian projects announced on Tuesday as shortlisted for the annual International Architecture Olympics, the World Festival of Architecture, are currently closed for the duration of the lockdown. Eastern States. .

Amazing, expensive and imaginative buildings designed for hospitality, entertainment, office occupancy, shopping, healthcare, athletics or for armies of students, and which have just been selected as being of design world class are closed to visits or uses for which they were made.

As with the Olympics about to start in Tokyo, the WAF was postponed last year by the pandemic, and the selected entrants from 2020 have been grouped together with those from the 2021 competition, which will hopefully reunite. in Lisbon in early December to decide the overall winners.

The striking new roof of the Ken Rosewall arena by Cox Architecture. Photo: Cox Architecture

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The delay means that many of the buildings representing Australia have now become both familiar to us and highly regarded in our own reward systems: the remarkable arts center that shows brick can become almost fluid, Phoenix Central Park in Sydney, is competing in the cultural category alongside JPW’s square-shoulder and very concrete Chau Chak Wing Museum at the University of Sydney.

Of the 17 entries into the cultural group, eight come from China. It is worth noting that in the 20 different categories of this increasingly prestigious competition, now in its 13th year, China emerges as the force majeure – numerically overwhelming, in almost every group.

UTS Central on Broadway by fjmt. Photo: fjmt

But Australian sports facilities, all from Cox Architecture and various associates, which include the redevelopments of Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney and Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, and in the extended basket of two years of shortlisted entries, the very handsome Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville, give us three possible winners in the slim ranks of international stadiums.

Always trying to reflect the zeitgeist – which of course encompasses the fine-tuned thinking introduced by the global pandemic – the theme of this year’s WAF is “Resetting the City: Greening, Health and Urban Planning”.

China is also strong on sustainable and nature-friendly projects, with 10 of the 14 natural landscape applications shortlisted.

The ‘Pantscraper’ building in Melbourne by Woods Bagot.

But in the cityscapes class, Australia has two entrances: Lyon with ASPECT Studios’ Prahran Square project in Melbourne and Turf Design Studio’s Sydney Park Water Re-Use project, a beautiful new popular park with the dual task. to be a space for recreation and cleaning. and diverting stormwater rivers that contaminated Botany Bay.

China accounts for half of the 14 other entries in this group.

In the global global list of 478 projects from 62 countries for 2021, Australian shapes are as amorphous as most new residential and commercial buildings around the world.

sydney park
The Sydney Park Water Recycling Project was shortlisted for the Cityscape class. Photo: Ethan Rohloff Photography

Wood Bagot’s Collins Arch building, already known to Melburnians as the “Pantscraper,” was shortlisted twice – mixed-use and residential.

Terroir’s fantastically-faceted Penguin Parade Visitor Center is as structurally sophisticated as Kirk’s Mon Repos Turtle Center near Bundaberg, both in the display category.

The UTS Central building, by fjmt, which opened in 2019 as a student hub, is such a remarkable multi-circular building on Broadway in Sydney that it has become a landmark on the outskirts of the city center. At the same time, under the higher education category is the Woodside Building at Monash University in Grimshaw for Technology and Design.

Artist’s impression of the Foster + Partners Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi. Image: Foster + Partners

Overall, Australia has over 30 buildings on the shortlist of 20/21 completed buildings. While some are conventional, square, and designed to respect sidewalks and boundaries, others explore in just as unconventional ways the warping and shape deviations that new material technology allows.

One of the side events of the annual WAF is Future Projects, which examines buildings on the drawing board or that have just emerged from around the world.

If one relies on the images of Foster + Partners for the Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi, the future of architecture always seems more daring and ingenious.

The WAF will take place December 1-3 in Lisbon, Portugal.

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