Grafton Architectsâ€™ new faculty building for the Luigi Bocconi University in Milan has become the first World Building of the Year at the inaugural World Architecture Festival. Speaking at the awards ceremony, Festival director Paul Finch described the building as â€˜a totally 3d piece of designâ€™ and praised it for its relationship with the city.
Catherine Slessor, managing editor of The Architectural Review, gives an exclusive insight into the judging process. She writes: After a day spent absorbing and critiquing presentations by the 17 category winners, the super-jury of Cecil Balmond, Ricky Burdett, Charles Jencks and SÃ¼ha Ã–zkan retired to consider its verdict. Robert Stern was chairman, presiding over a lively and good humoured debate. Discussions were underpinned by the aim of premiating architecture that Â´thought about complex issues in an imaginative wayÂ´, according to Stern.
A shortlist was quickly arrived at for more detailed discussion. This included Sou FujimotoÂ´s Final Wood House â€“ Â´gets right to the core of what the creative architectural mind can doÂ´, noted Ricky Burdett and Coop Himmeb(l)auÂ´s BMW World, singled out by Charles Jencks as an Â´inventive exploration of a new kind of hybrid buildingÂ´. But it became quickly apparent that there was strong support for Grafton ArchitectsÂ´ faculty building in Milan, which impressed the jury with its physical and conceptual density. It takes the tough, rebarbative DNA of Milan and Â´lifts its skirtsÂ´ according to Ricky Burdett.
Cecil Balmond admired the Â´effortless with no histrionicsÂ´ structural solution that suspends offices for 1000 professors over a subterranean concourse. SÃ¼ha Ã–zkan admired the way it Â´brought the city into the campusÂ´, uniting the life of Milan with the life of the university. With its allusions to Modernist megastructures reprised and reconceived for the twenty-first century, Â´itÂ´s one of those great buildings that allows you to see a moment of the past in a totally fresh wayÂ´ commented chairman Stern.
Images: World Architecture Festival, Grafton Architects
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