World Architecture Festival heads to Berlin

The world’s largest annual international architecture event will take place at Arena Berlin, Germany from 16-18 November 2016

The World Architecture Festival (WAF) has announced that this year’s event will take place at the Arena Berlin in Germany from 16-18 November.

Returning for its ninth edition, and following four successful years in Singapore, the Festival returns to its European roots and will be housed in Franz Ahrens’ historic former bus depot, now known as Arena Berlin.

WAF and its co-located sister event INSIDE World Festival of Interiors, will welcome more than 2,000 of the world’s leading architects and designers to the city for three days of conference programmes, awards, exhibitions and fringe events.

The German capital provides the perfect cultural backdrop for the world’s largest annual celebration of architecture. Berlin’s eclectic and constantly evolving cityscape owes much to the city’s turbulent history, and features an assortment of architectural styles, from Prussian Classicism through National Socialist design to Postmodernism, making it a fitting third host city for the Festival. The Festival will be taking advantage of this architecturally rich location by expanding its fringe programme, with tours and events planned across the city.

WAF programme director Paul Finch commented:

‘After four happy years in Singapore we are delighted to be moving to Berlin for our 2016 Festival. This is a city with an extraordinary history, and one which has been a breeding ground for architectural ideas, historical and contemporary. We look forward to staging our first Festival in Europe since 2011, and to welcoming architects from across the world to our ninth edition.’

The WAF Awards, the ‘Oscars of architecture’, sit at the heart of the Festival and celebrate global architectural excellence across completed buildings, future projects and landscape projects. Entries for the 2016 edition are now open, ahead of the submission deadline on 19th May. Attracting entries from over 60 countries, shortlisted projects compete across 30 categories and all present live at the Festival in Berlin.

The first members of this year’s ‘super-jury’ have been announced: David Chipperfield1, Luisa Hutton2 and Professor Frédéric Migayrou3. The esteemed panel of venerated architects will decide on the Festival’s ultimate prize – The World Building of the Year.

David Chipperfield will also deliver a keynote speech, responding to the Festival’s theme “Housing for everyone”. The Festival’s conference programme will debate the growing understanding of how demographics and global urbanisation are forcing change in the way we think about housing, with imperatives to create shelter at one end of the spectrum, and sufficiency for occupation and investment at the other. In all cases, while acknowledging that wider forces are at play, the programme will examine the significant contribution that architects can make.

The 2015 WAF awards were claimed by some of the world’s biggest architects as well as emerging talent with the World Building of the Year going to OMA/Buro Ole Scheeren for The Interlace and Bjarke Ingels Group receiving the Future Project of the Year for Vancouver House.

The Arena Berlin is one of the German capital’s best-known venues for cultural events. The Arena was built in 1927 as a bus depot for Berlin's public transport system, and at the time was Europe's largest free-standing hall. Officially closed following Germany’s reunification, the venue was reborn following extensive refurbishment works in the early 1990s.



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