2017 Architizer Awards are "a stunning celebration of innovative architecture"

architizer awards
Screen capture Architizer awards

When I was asked to be a juror in this year's Architizer Awards I was honoured, but had absolutely no idea how much work it was. Over the course of a week all my non-TreeHugger time was devoted to looking at and trying to decide among hundreds of entries. It was exhausting. And when you look at the list of jurors, there are hundreds of them, and it is a really stellar list; I am squeezed between Liz Diller of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Lockhart Steele, who founded Curbed. Just putting all the L's in a room would be a great party.

kamikatz exterior© Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP

Green Building is not a typology, given that everybody claims that they think about sustainability these days. But there is the Plus page that looks at concepts and included an "architecture + sustainability" category. I was not a judge in this category but love this brewery, the Kamikatz Public House, in Tokushima prefecture in Japan by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP

windows© Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP

Kamikatsu in Tokushima prefecture is committed to zero waste, aiming to become a sustainable recycling society....To create continuity of production and consumption, we started by positioning functions in chronological order in the linear building—from the raw material warehouse to the brewery and then to the pub where the beer will be served. To make the pub a local symbol when looking up from the town, the windows comprising fittings from abandoned houses were set eight meters high


interior view© Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP

We gathered windows that illuminated the town in the past and dedicated our wish that they would serve as a lantern of hope to shine upon the town struggling with a declining population. The space is full of improvisation and discoveries with this creative combination of waste material for this architecture.

MASS exterior© MASS Design Group

My favorite project of all the ones I judged was in the "Concepts-Architecture +Humanitarianism" category, MASS Design Group's Maternity Waiting Village. This is terrific architecture with a mission:

full of people© MASS Design Group

In Malawi, maternal and neonatal mortality continue to be major public health challenges, largely because few deliveries are attended by a skilled professional; in 2010, one in thirty-six Malawian women had a lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy or delivery. Maternal waiting homes address this issue by providing a facility within reach of a health center where expectant mothers, after their 36th week, can stay until their delivery period in order to receive care. Past attempts at using this model have been less successful as the homes have lacked places to sleep, adequate ventilation, and sanitation.

court© MASS Design Group

MASS Design Group’s new prototype “village” reflects the vernacular by creating clusters of four-bed units around small courtyards, offering women a protected, comfortable, and dignified space in which to carry out daily activities. Designed around replicable modules and built of locally-made CSEB (compressed stabilized earth blocks), the facility can be replicated and adapted to other sites as part of the country’s drive to improve maternal health.

Löyly© Avanto Architects Ltd/ Löyly spa in Helsinki

I have just picked two of the more modest out of the two hundred winners; see all the fancier ones at Architizer.

2017 Architizer Awards are "a stunning celebration of innovative architecture"
They deserve an award for putting on such a terrific award program.

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