The World Architecture Festival awards the most impressive architectural works and projects of the year. Taking place from December 1 to 3 2021 in Lisbon, the festival receives hundreds of entries every year. 6 Emirati works have been shortlisted in 2021.
While the most anticipated awards are the Building of the Year and Project of the Year, the festival awards a large number of other prizes, in no less than 33 categories. The Water Research Prize is the most eagerly awaited category of the year, rewarding an architectural work that has taken into consideration the current challenges related to water consumption.
The objective of the festival is to promote the design of future buildings that respect the principles of sustainable development. The committee takes into account the environmental impact, in the choice of materials as well as in the building’s capacity to produce and store energy. It must also be a venue that can host events throughout the year. Covid-19 has also accelerated the search for places focused on well-being: the emphasis is on ventilation and self-cleaning surfaces.
The United Arab Emirates is not to be outdone with no less than 6 projects in the running this year:
- Zayed National Museum. Named after the ruler who died in 2004, it is in the future projects category. The future museum of Emirati history already won the festival’s cultural identity award in June.
- Sharjah House of Wisdom. This exhibition space hosts an innovative library with a book printer on demand. Close to the University of Sharjah, this House of Wisdom is destined to become an intellectual Mecca in the Emirates.
- The Buhais Geology Park Interpretation Center. The museum opened its doors in January 2021. It features fossils tracing the geological history of the region since prehistoric times. Hiking trails surround the buildings, offering breathtaking views.
- The Sustainability Pavilion. This pavilion aims to promote sustainable development in its many exhibition rooms. It is an eco-responsible building, which produces and stores its own energy through solar panels, including sunflower-shaped “energy trees” that orient themselves according to the sun.
- Al Fay Park. With its 2,000 trees, this has become one of the liveliest places in Abu Dhabi. It offers many places to relax, stroll and enjoy sports activities.
- Qasr Al Hosn Park. This quiet place surrounds the former royal residence, the oldest building on Abu Dhabi Island, which is now a museum. Between tradition and modernity, this garden is a real oasis in the heart of the ever-expanding city: between the shade of mangroves and palm trees, one can stroll under the alcoves of yesteryear.