Architecture Cultural Award II

Young Visionary Architecture Competition 2023 - Winners


Ngoc Anh Mai | Vietnam

Project Typology: Cultural Architecture

Project Description

The project represents a thoughtful and strategic response to the pressing issue of a high incidence of visual impairment in Puebla, Mexico. The region faces a significant lack of architectural infrastructure, especially in the realm of comprehensive rehabilitation centers designed for the needs of individuals with visual disabilities. This architectural deficit not only hampers their physical mobility but also imposes restrictions on their social interactions, educational pursuits, employment opportunities, and overall spatial experiences. Addressing this gap is crucial not only for the affected individuals but also for fostering a more inclusive and accessible society.

One of the distinctive aspects of the project lies in its effort to challenge prevailing stigmas associated with rehabilitation facilities in Mexico. Many of these institutions traditionally focus on conventional rehabilitation methods, often overlooking the importance of a holistic and integrated approach to rehabilitation. The project aims to break away from this paradigm, emphasizing the need for comprehensive rehabilitation that takes into account the multifaceted aspects of an individual's life affected by visual impairment.

The urban concept driving the project is that of permeability, a concept strategically woven into the entire architectural design. Permeability, in this context, denotes a seamless interaction between individuals with and without disabilities. To achieve this concept, architectural elements and compositional axes are carefully integrated to foster transparency, facilitating a dialogue not only among the building's occupants but also between the structure and the surrounding urban landscape.

A fundamental consideration in the architectural design is the impact on the inhabitants, especially the primary users navigating the world without the sense of sight. The project strives to create environments conducive to their needs, incorporating features such as therapeutic gardens, tactile pathways, and elements supporting echolocation. These considerations go beyond mere accessibility, seeking to provide spaces that positively contribute to the well-being and rehabilitation of people with visual disabilities.

The user-centric approach is evident in the meticulous attention given to stimulating various senses. From the tactile guidance offered by window frames to the auditory experiences facilitated by water mirrors, and the olfactory richness brought forth by strategically placed plant species, the architecture becomes a medium for a multisensory engagement that transcends the limitations imposed by visual impairment.

In essence, the project's overarching goal, articulated through its architectural design, is to create a world that is not only physically accessible but also emotionally and socially enriching for individuals with visual disabilities. By creating a safe and inclusive environment, the project aspires to prepare its users for a world that might not always seem designed with their specific needs in mind. It is a testament to the transformative power of architecture in shaping a more equitable and welcoming society.

1st runner up

Ngo Thanh Quy | Vietnam

Project Title: Phu Quy Island Community Living Center 
Project Typology: Cultural Architecture

Project Description

“The Traces of Stone” is an architectural concept inspired by the history and natural landscape of an island shaped by volcanic eruptions. The long stretches of rock along the coast, a testament to the island’s formation, serve as a conspicuous reminder of the past. This architecture, known as the Black Rock Beach, creates an interaction between the existing rock formations and the surrounding environment.

The design philosophy aims to blur the boundaries between architecture and nature, integrating the built environment into the natural landscape as a coexisting entity. The intention is to guide visitors through a series of spaces intertwined with nature, allowing them to experience the architectural lines, light, salinity, harsh weather, and immerse themselves in the natural surroundings, thereby affirming the power of architecture.

The architectural flow extends into the interior spaces, incorporating necessary gaps and pauses for reflection on the context, history, and inherent beauty of nature. The design aims to provoke clear, transparent thoughts, acknowledging the dangers and changes brought about by time and the rapid industrialization era.

Phu Quy Island, the designer’s birthplace, is a land of majestic nature surrounded by the sea. The design philosophy considers buildings as part of nature, existing and developing symbiotically based on nature’s instincts. The strategy balances architecture and context, shaping a new future for a building that serves as a gathering place, linking small communities on the island into an organized place for learning, cultural exchange, vocational transmission, and preservation and development of historical and cultural values.

The building blocks are designed to develop modularly, self-sustaining, and evolving in harmony with nature. They leverage the area’s energy, promote sustainable development through rainwater reuse, and harness light and wind to generate electricity, creating a green and sustainable space.

In essence, “The purest is not to disappear into nature, but to become part of nature.”

2nd runner up

Sofia-Rafailia Mandi | Greece

Project Title: Cultural Cell: The formation of a Cultural Center in Edessa
Project Typology: Cultural Center

Project Description
  1. This project aims to establish a cultural center in Edessa, a northern Greek town surrounded by mountains and situated on a rock, crossed by the Edessaios River, that flows from west to east forming waterfalls. Despite Edessa’s rich cultural scene, current spaces are inadequate. This sentiment extends to the municipal library, emphasizing the pressing need for dedicated infrastructure capable of hosting the town’s cultural events and providing a new home for its library. The cultural center is seen as educational, intellectual, cultural, and entertainment epicenter, aiming to not only serve the local community but also foster a platform for social interaction and creative engagement during leisure time. Additionally, it can serve as a tourist attraction, boosting the region's economy.

    The selected location for the building replaces the current site of the Municipal Stadium, undergoing relocation with other sports facilities near Edessa. Situated strategically at a crucial intersection adjoining commercial and tourist districts, the site is currently enclosed by a high fence around the stadium, creating a significant obstacle to pedestrian movement between different areas and contributing to the visual degradation of the town's center. This transition paves the way for a vibrant cultural center, fostering urban revitalization.

    The design draws inspiration from Edessa's natural features, such as water bodies and the distinctive topography enveloping the town. The form of the river delta is reflected in the building's plan. The curved morphology of the roof reproduces the natural environment's topography. Simultaneously, the building's volume gracefully recedes from the plot's boundaries to create inviting entrances. The atrium serves as a passage from the more urban to the more natural zone, also addressing the absence of a recreational space in town.

    The cultural center encompasses various public spaces, including a central foyer with the versatility to function as an exhibition area, a library, a children's library, two cinema halls, a lecture hall, a small music ensemble hall and two larger halls dedicated to theater and music. The layout of these two halls facilitates the operation of a unified larger stage with an arena layout, complemented by stands in the atrium. Secondary amenities, such as lockers or cloakrooms etc., are organized in typologies of autonomous cells inside the building’s structure. The external design incorporates both an open amphitheater and a covered one, offering versatile spaces for cultural events. Additionally, the center houses a café-bar, a restaurant, and gardens, on the top level, one of which leads to a spacious balcony providing panoramic views. Controlled access to the atrium during outdoor performances ensures a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors.

    Dedicated auxiliary spaces, accessible only to staff, are strategically located, including waiting areas for artists, storage facilities and workshops. Placing workshops in full view, elevated within the restaurant space, provides a unique perspective for the audience, enriching their theatrical experience. The allocation of specific levels to different artistic disciplines and administrative functions ensures an organized and efficient operation.

    In conclusion, this cultural center represents a promise of community engagement, artistic expression, and economic prosperity, providing a space that meets immediate needs while evolving with the town and its people.

Honorable Mention

Dylan Baliski | Canada

Project Title: LOCH ON WOOD
Project Typology: Wildlife reserve and Visitors Centre

Project Description
  1. In RSPB Scotland’s own words through the project brief:

    “RSPB Scotland Lochwinnoch nature reserve is one of RSPB’s main visitor sites in Scotland. It is located within easy reach of the population of greater Glasgow and has a direct connection by rail with both Glasgow and Irvine. Locally it is a well-loved reserve with a long history of delivering environmental education and a variety of events, as well as being an important place for people to walk and enjoy nature. The reserve shop is well patronised and respected as a place to purchase optics and bird care. Although works in recent years have resulted in significant improvements for both nature and people, the reserve has suffered from a lack of major investment for a long time. As a result, even with the effort and work that has gone into the operation, visitor numbers are declining. Additionally, the site’s infrastructure is preventing the site and its staff from realising the full potential the reserve has to offer. RSPB Scotland’s ambition for the reserve is to deliver a range of significant habitat and visitor improvements that will enable the site to deliver more for wildlife, while also capitalising on its potential to be a flagship RSPB visitor experience that is accessible and welcoming to all.”

  2. Throughout a visitor's journey through the visitors centre, they will be immersed with views of the loch, creating an outdoor connection and providing a nudge to explore the area. There needs to allow a clear view of the landscape from the entrance and beyond, drawing in onlookers/families driving past. People need to feel the need to stop and explore.

  3. The private circulation should run vertically within the site, allowing a view of the entrance space and remaining separated from the public spaces. This will allow the staff and volunteers to have their own space away from the bustling exhibition and viewing areas.

  4. The exterior and interior design is inspired heavily by the bird's external anatomy, using wings and flight as reference when exploring the concept.

  5. Rainwater capture was at the forefront of this proposal from the jump. It was a determinant of both the development, and the final product. Employing a blue/green roof hybrid system was the obvious choice as they can work seamlessly together to both retain and distribute grey water to the building. Bird-proof fritted glass will be implemented on the exposed glazing. This will allow a seamless view of the loch while protecting the birds that call it home. A compact trench ground source heat pump will be implemented to provide the buildings’ electricity. The pipes will be heavily insulated, so as to avoid any escaping heat. This will be placed underneath the entrance space boardwalk as the soil there is pulpous enough and not in a compromising position. Underfloor heating will provide the source of heat which fits within the same system as the ground source heat pump.

Honorable Mention

Peter Karuga Kanyeki | Kenya

Project Title: Mbagathi Cancer Care Centre
Project Typology: Healthcare Facility

Project Description
  1. Introduction: The Cancer Care Centre is a pivotal response to the research on "The Role of Architecture in Promoting Well-being and Enhancing Quality of Life for Cancer Patients in Nairobi." The findings underscored the significant role architecture plays as a backdrop for the healing process. The design of the Cancer Care Centre aligns with the national Cancer Policy and is strategically located within a county referral hospital in Nairobi.

  2. Site Selection and Justification:
    The selected site is within a county referral hospital, aligning with the Cancer Policy of the country. This strategic placement ensures seamless integration with existing healthcare infrastructure, fostering collaboration between specialized cancer care and general medical services. Proximity to the hospital also facilitates streamlined patient transitions, promoting efficient and comprehensive healthcare delivery.

  3. Functional Requirements:
    Integration with Referral Services: The design must seamlessly integrate with the existing hospital infrastructure, allowing for easy access to referral services and collaborative care.

  4. Comprehensive Cancer Care Facilities: Develop dedicated spaces for various cancer treatments, counseling, support groups, and rehabilitation services, enhancing the overall cancer care experience.

    Treatment Areas
    Counseling and Support Spaces
    Rehabilitation Services