• WAF 2021 shortlist unveils best designed buildings and landscapes from around the world

    21 July 2021

    Some of the best architecture by today’s foremost practices is revealed as the World Architecture Festival (WAF) Awards announces its 2021 shortlist, celebrating buildings and landscapes to have been completed across the world between 2019 and 2021. The 200-strong shortlist has been selected from over 700 entries from countries ranging from China and Japan to Mexico and Ecuador.

    Amongst the shortlist for the WAF Awards, the world’s biggest architectural awards programme, are: a stylised urban landscape linking Abu Dhabi’s desert to its modern city grid; Heatherwick Studio’s Singapore skyscraper, Eden; China’s Culture Exhibition Centre featuring a sun and a moon pavilion, and a tourist development on a Persian Gulf island built to empower the local community.

    The theme for the 2021 edition of the festival is: ‘Resetting the City: Greening, Health and Urbanism’ and the awards attracted 732 entries from 55 countries, submitted across 20 completed buildings and landscape categories; an increase of 44% in submissions from 2019’s edition of the festival.

    WAF will reconvene this year in Lisbon, at the FIL exhibition centre, from 1-3 December, the first time the event has been hosted in the Portuguese capital following previous editions in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Singapore and Berlin.

    Other major world architects shortlisted this year include: B.I.G. Architecture, Zaha Hadid Architects, Foster + Partners, Rafael Viñoly Architects, Grimshaw Architects and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). The 20 completed buildings and landscape categories range from Housing, Office, Transport, Health and School to Civic and Community, Sport, Religion, Culture, and Production Energy and Recycling, with entries representing the most beautiful to the most innovative in contemporary architecture.

    The architects and designers behind each shortlisted project will compete for category prizes live at WAF in December. Presentations of the shortlisted designs will be made to more than 100 international juries in front of festival delegates. Category winners then compete against each other on the final day of the festival, to compete for the ultimate accolades of World Building of the Year, Future Project of the Year, Interior of the Year and Landscape of the Year.

    WAF programme director Paul Finch commented: ‘We are delighted with both the quantity and quality of this year’s entries. This promises to be the most competitive awards programme we have ever run, and we look forward to meeting the shortlisted architects in Lisbon.’

    The completed buildings ‘Super Jury’ which will decide the World Building of the Year 2021, includes: Jeanne Gang, Founding principal and partner, Studio Gang, Abdelkader Damani, Artistic Director, Frac Centre-Val de Loire | Biennale d’Architecture d’Orléans, Kim Herforth Nielsen, Co-Founder & Principal, 3XN Architects and Christina Seilern, Principal, Studio Seilern.

    The ‘Super Jury’ for the Landscape of the Year includes: Robert Schäfer, Landscape Architect & Journalist, Brita von Schoenaich, Principal, Bradley-Hole Schoenaich Landscape, Lily Jencks, Founder, LilyJencksStudio | JencksSquared, Todd Langstaff-Gowan, Landscape Architect, Historian, Author and Collector, and Todd Longstaffe-Gowan Landscape Design.

    Clockwise: Al Hosn Masterplan by Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi; Eden by Heatherwick Studio; Chinese Culture Exhibition Center by Qingdao Tengyuan Design; Majara Residency by ZAV Architects

    WAF and its co-located event, INSIDE World Festival of Interiors, will welcome the world’s leading architects and designers to Lisbon for three days of conference programmes, awards, exhibitions and fringe events from 1-3 December.

    For more details on the 2021 World Architecture Festival and the WAF Awards please visit:


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