It’s that time of year when the news from the many, many international architecture awards begins to fill my inbox. The most well publicised was the World Architecture Festival’s awards, which named Lochal building of the year. Led by Civic Architects, the old-warehouse-turned-new-library and public space in Tilburg, Netherlands, recently took top prize at the respected Dutch Design Week awards too. Monocle’s report – in our June issue – will help you to understand why this masterwork of adaptive re-use is worthy of being called the world’s best building.
The question of which architecture awards matter most (and whether some are even worth considering) is a conversation for another day. What’s interesting right now is the types of projects winning top honours. Lochal is not sleek and it’s not built on an epic scale; in some ways the deliberate exposing of the building’s industrial past in the refurb means that its aesthetics are scrappy. It’s a far cry from when lavish skyscrapers – remarkable feats of engineering – were considered the world’s best buildings. Lochal is about thoughtful, responsible architecture – and we’re glad that this is what is carrying kudos internationally as we move into a new decade for design.