World Architecture Festival 2012 comes to Singapore
MAIDEN ENTRY: Held for the first time in the Lion City after four successive years in Barcelona, the official launch celebration took off on a high note on 7 May, attended by architects from across the region
Come early October, Singapore will play host to the architectural world. Selected as the venue for the World Architecture Festival (WAF) 2012, this year’s event marks a first for the Lion City and Asia. Traditionally held in Barcelona, Spain since it was launched four years ago, WAF is one of the most highly anticipated international architectural events happening on an annual basis on the world stage.
“We decided to move to Asia after four years in Barcelona partly to celebrate our fifth anniversary and partly because we wanted to reflect the dynamism of the Asian region. So we are looking forward to the festival taking place in Singapore on 3, 4 and 5 October,” shares Paul Finch, director of WAF during the official launch of WAF in the Lion City.
According to Finch, WAF is unique because all award entries will be exhibited and the awards are open to all architects across the world. Short-listed architects also get to present their designs live to international juries. Besides the awards, there will be seminars, talks, workshops and design tours at the world’s arguably largest live 30 diverse categories of awards including completed buildings, landscapes, future and small projects. “Rethink and Renew” is the theme of this year’s WAF.
“We have created the world’s first global annual architecture festival which is what we set out to do when we launched it in 2008. As publishers of architectural magazines including the Architectural Review, we began asking why there was no equivalent of real estate festivals such as Cityscape and MIPIM.
“The reason was that nobody had thought of it! So we did our research and decided to launch it,” Finch reveals.
The festival is no small feat considering it is arguably the world’s “largest festival and live awards for the global architecture community” where architects all across the globe gather to “debate, learn and be inspired”.
This year’s panel of judges comprises the likes of leading figures in global architecture – all authorities in their own right - providing their respective critiques to the entries live in Singapore. Among them are Neil Denari, Dietmar Eberle, Edouard Francois, Tang Guan Bee, Kerry Hill, Juergen Mayer H, Ole Scheeren, Ben Van Berkel, Mok Wei Wei, Ma Yansong as well as Malaysian architect Datuk Dr Ken Yeang and Fay Cheah.
“We chose Singapore having also considered Istanbul, Shanghai and Hong Kong because of its location as an Asian hub, its connections across Asia and Australasia and because of its commitment to design through its President’s Medal programme and the Lee Kuan Yew World City prize,” he adds.
“My hope is that as a result of our move this year we will attract more awards and delegates. In five years’ time, I believe we could attract 5,000 delegates to the festival, reflecting the true importance of architecture to global culture and economics.”
Finch is expecting this year’s entries to come from more than 60 countries. Last year alone, over 700 entries were received, all displayed at the festival. This year’s deadline for entries is 30 June 2012.
Among the architects present at the launch party was Malaysian-born, Singaporean-based architect Sonny Chan Sau Yan of CSYA Pte Ltd.
“One of our cluster housing projects in Singapore was nominated at WAF 2011 in Barcelona. So we had to present the project to the jury and the public in Barcelona last year.
“The organisers invited me to be here for this year and I think it’s an opportunity for architects from all over the world to meet because they’re giving away awards to architects across the globe,” he says, adding that in more ways than one, it will be a good opportunity for networking.
Anticipating that the event in October will attract a huge global crowd, he lauded WAF for enabling architects to network face to face rather than just read about each other.
“Moving the WAF to Asia from Spain makes sense as Southeast Asia is where the money is and it is where they are experiencing intense growth,” he concludes.
Figueras Asia, based in Singapore, hosted the official launch party for WAF that saw approximately 200 architects based in the region coming together. Taking the opportunity to mingle and network, guests also had the chance to see the latest movable seating systems showcased by the global firm known for its innovative collective seating that has been used in many high profile, international projects.
In recognition of Figueras’ Spanish origins, guests got to savour authentic Spanish food including Pata Negra and Spanish wine.
Pics courtesy of World Architecture Festival.
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