Emirates Glass LEAF Awards 2013 winners announced

French architects Archi5 sweep the board

by Malcolm Clark
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The 10th Annual Emirates Glass LEAF Awards proved to be a huge success attracting a whole host of recognisable and not so recognisable faces from the architectural community. This spectacular evening took place in the luxurious surroundings of the Four Seasons Park Lane Hotel in London which was admired by the many guests that attended.

The 2013 shortlist included some of the world’s most iconic buildings and designs. The undoubted protagonist of the evening was French Architectural office archi5 which won three awards for their two nominated projects: the Médiathèque Mont de Marsan won the overall award and the award for best public building of the year - culture, while the Léo Lagrange Stadium Toulon, France won the best public building of the year – sport.

In explaining their choice the judges said: “The Mont-de-Marzan (sic) media library … is a beautiful achievement, technically very strong and a highly credible, uplifting cultural symbol for the city, clearly supported by the painstaking and sensitive peripheral vision on the part of the architects. Designed as a covered square at the centre of an austere quadrangle of former barracks (today the Public Record Office), by making its facades transparent, this generously designed building meets the full the technical challenges the architects defined. … Instead of the easy option of an overbearing design language, the building engages with its wider environment and with its users of all ages by hybrid means. We regard the library as one of the very finest public buildings across the globe we have seen in recent years, one we expect will be long-lasting, a much loved asset and source of optimism for the city.”

Other winners included Marcio Kogan's Studio MK27 which won Residential Building of the Year (Single Occupancy) for Casa MM in São Paulo Brazil which the judges described as:  “...a beautiful, interesting, extremely well judged, low tech house design for a site in Braganca Paulista, a wooded municipality of São Paulo made up of two perpendicular rectangular footprints.” and Oscar Tusquets Blanca and MN's Toledo metro station, Napoli which won Public Building of the Year – Transport.

The judges described it as “(an) Impressive public transport scheme – a veritable gem, in fact – that is part of of Naples’ Art Projects programme.... for which Oscar Tusquets Blanca commissioned a number of noted artists, designers and architects to create a design on the theme of water and light on mosaic-covered walls. ….. The judges admired this discerning use of public money, enhancing an everyday urban facility for the enjoyment of all who travel through it.”

China was also strongly represented amongst the winners which included Steven Holl Architects' Sliced Porosity Block for mixed use building of the year. The judges particularly appreciated … the architects’ bold yet discerning design strategy coupled with a mature micro-urban plan for a new terrain of public space in the form of an urban terrace on the metropolitan scale of Rockefeller Center, sculpted by stone steps and ramps with large pools that spill into stepped fountains.”

Best Futures Building – Culture/Education went to -scape's drawing board project for the MEIS – Museo Nazionale dell’Ebraismo Italiano e della Shoah in Ferrara. The judges commended the project in which “The original, massive, red brick cell block is preserved as a memory of suffering and transformed into the core of the new museum in which the Jewish heritage of creativity, culture, professionalism and genius is articulated through exhibitions and displays.”

A special mention went to young British architect Adam Knibb for his Bluebell Pool House which the judges called: an “Excellent new sustainable and discrete sited private dwelling of minimal impact with a sedum/green roof, with timber cladding and prefabricated cross-laminated timber panels to aid a quick and efficient build process.”

A complete list of the winners can be found here here.

    Médiathèque Mont de Marsan 31

    Médiathèque Mont de Marsan

    Mont-de-Marsan / France / 2012

    Léo Lagrange Stadium Toulon 8

    Léo Lagrange Stadium Toulon

    Toulon / France / 2013

    Casa MM 476

    Casa MM

    Bragança Paulista / Brazil / 2012

    Toledo metro station, Napoli 15

    Toledo metro station, Napoli

    Naples / Italy / 2012

    Sliced Porosity Block 74

    Sliced Porosity Block

    Chengdu / China / 2012

    Bluebell Pool House 37

    Bluebell Pool House

    Crawley / United Kingdom / 2012