The World Architecture Festival 2017 in Berlin

A floating residential container in Copenhagen harbour, a plant-covered high-rise office building in Tokyo, and a surreal automotive museum in Los Angeles: These are just a few of the highlights of this year's World Architecture Festival(WAF) shortlist, which once again features an impressive collection of architectural showpieces from 51 nationalities in 68 countries. A total of 434 construction projects of every kind, shape, and size qualified for one of the 30+ award categories. And Berlin, as the creative capital, is hosting the architecture event for the second time in a row from 15 to 17 November.

From innovative to experimental architecture

More than 100 international jurors fine-tuned the shortlist, which traditionally includes both completed buildings and conceptual project plans.


From extraordinary private homes, residential housing and urban infrastructures to public buildings, museums, and artistic landscape designs, the World Architecture Festival covers the full spectrum of architecture. Cultural works such as the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) at Lisbon's waterfront stand just as much a chance of winning an award in 2017 as the sculptural "Garden of the Mind" dreamscape in Berlin or London's inverted-arc-shaped viewing platform, "The Smile". The particularly high number of UK architectural projects showcased this year at WAF is striking. These include the 162-metre "British Airways i360" tower and the experimental Walmer Yard project – both of which have already won a RIBA National Award.

Impressions of nominated architectural works


Contemporary architectural showpieces

Zaha Hadid continues to have a profound influence on contemporary architecture, and catches great attention at the World Architecture Festival. The architectural icon has two projects in the running this year: a faceted glass structure on the roof of Antwerp's Port House, and the Salerno Maritime Terminal, which seems to float like a futuristic hill between the working harbour and the marina. Already last year, her Messner Mountain Museum – an Alpine work of art, equipped with state-of-the-art building technology from Gira – was shortlisted for "Building of the Year".  

The 18 award winners for completed projects, who will each receive a category award in Berlin in mid-November, are also eligible for this highest honour. Besides this, the WAF's 'super jury' will select the "Landscape of the Year" and the "Future Project of the Year". The futuristic infrastructure project "Brommy New Footbridge", which offers Berliners a contemplative walk, could for example be a likely candidate. Equally future-oriented is the "Shelter on the Edge" project in Aleppo, designed to allow refugee camps to flourish in new, congenial surroundings.  

Outstanding architecture by Zaha Hadid


Shaping the future – in the spirit of the WAFX manifesto
To adequately mark the tenth anniversary of the festival and strengthen its focus, the WAFX-Manifest puts forth the key responsibilities for architecture in the next decade. As a part of this, WAF will present ten additional awards to projects that offer ground-breaking solutions for the architectural challenges of our time. These include innovations in energy and resource use, residential concepts for the growing and ageing global population, and architecture leveraging intelligent technologies.

A packed 3-day programme – with interior design right next door
More than 2,000 leading architects and designers from around the world are expected to attend the 3-day WAF in Berlin. In addition to the award ceremony, there will also be a conference on the topic of performance, an exhibition of the award candidates, as well as sponsor, networking, and social events. And the WAF's baby sister, INSIDE World Festival of Interiors’ award and conference programme run in parallel.

One thing's for sure: when it comes to diversity, innovation, and originality, the World Architecture Festival 2017 leaves nothing to be desired.

Have you already discovered your personal architectural highlight on the shortlist? We look forward to receiving your comments.

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