• World Architecture Festival commits to three years in Singapore

    30 December 2012

    The World Architecture Festival 2012 recently concluded its fifth edition at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. The event brought together over 1,500 international architects to compete and celebrate excellence in architecture. Attendees enjoyed a wide variety of keynote presentations, including an address from Thomas Heatherwick and Moshe Safdie, seminar sessions and more learning and networking opportunities than ever before.

    The festival awarded 37 category winners and concluded with recognising 3 winners for “World Building of the Year” (Cooled Conservatories at Gardens by the Bay by Wilkinson Eyre Architects), “Future Project of the Year” (Msheireb – Heart of Doha – Qatar Masterplan) and “Landscape of the Year” (Kallang River Bishan Park by Atelier Dreiseitl). 

    WAF gardens by the bayAt the conclusion of this year’s festival, PRC spoke with Paul Finch, Programme Director, World Architecture Festival (WAF). 

    “We thought WAF was a good idea because before 2008 there was no annual global architectural meeting place where architects could show their work, take part in an international competition which was all about quality of ideas, and enjoy lectures and talks from international practitioners. The fact that it is a Festival, rather than just a conference or trade exhibition, has made it different to other events – a mixture of live presentations and judging, intelligent discourse and lively social events. And of course on the final day you get the chance to see category winners re-presenting their designs to ‘super juries’ of major professionals, who have to decide the best-in-show winners.” 

    “For architects thinking about attending in 2013, I think the main recommendation can be summed up as: WAF is an event which reminds you about why you wanted to become and architect; it is about inspiration and knowledge in a friendly atmosphere with fellow professionals from all over the world.” 

    “In 2012 we had nearly 1,900 attendees from 64 countries, an increase of more than 400 on 2011. We expect this encouraging trend to continue. In addition, our interiors event, INSIDE, will be taking place within the WAF event, with its own awards and talks programme, giving those concerned with interiors design and architecture and additional reason to attend.” 

    WAF 2012a“We noticed an increase in the number of clients who attend WAF following our move to Singapore, but WAF is fundamentally about architects and architecture. We make clients welcome and offer them complimentary passes to the show where their buildings have been shortlisted, or where architects attending the event would like to invite them. We have in the past been asked to organize meetings between clients and potential architects and are always happy to do this. We think that the clients most likely to attend WAF will be those with a real interest in architecture and design.” 

    WAF’s role in Asia 

    “The interest of architects in the wider Asian area for taking part in WAF as awards entrants, speakers and attendees was very strong. From an organizers’ viewpoint, the attraction of Asia as a region (particularly with Europe’s current economic circumstances) is that there is a major focus for construction and design energy; and is engaged in addressing major questions facing the world in respect of population, urbanization and climate change. “ 

    “The effect of our move to Singapore (from Barcelona) has been to increase the number of attendees, a majority of the increase accounted for by Asia, and by engaging with the most important growth area in the global environment to give WAF greater vitality. This year 807 attendees were from Asia.” 

    Talks, keynote sessions and exhibitors 

    WAF0_128The talks programme takes place in relation to a thematic programme; in 2013 the WAF theme will be ‘Value and values’. This will partly concern the value and added value that architecture and design can bring about, covering economic value, social value, aesthetic value and cultural value. But it will also cover the values which underlie the way architecture is taught and practised across the world, in respect of history, philosophical and moral/ethical approaches. The INSIDE programme, ‘Inside Out’, will examine the way in which the world of interior architecture and design, far from being a silo of professional activity, is related to wider world of the built environment and what takes place within it. 

    Keynote addresses will be given each evening and will feature major architects and contributors to architectural thinking, concluding with a Friday lecture reminding attendees of the delights of architecture and design. Exhibitors and sponsors are generally major companies who operate internationally and who have a profound interest in promoting high-quality architecture and design. 

    World Architecture Festival 2013 will be held on 2-4 October 2013 at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.  More information at www.worldarchitecturefestival.com.

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