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A
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Behind the scenes at the 2019 World Architecture Festival
Current
2020
list Article list

Behind the scenes at the 2019 World Architecture Festival

When it comes to The Architecture Drawing Prize’s winning and commended entries on display at the 2019 World Architecture Festival, there truly was much more than meets the eye. I greatly enjoyed hearing each of the winners describe their work and accept audience questions on the main festival stage on the Thursday afternoon.

I found it incredibly refreshing to hear Anna Heringer, winner of the hand-drawn category, describe the process and creative techniques behind her captivating take on drawing, manifested in her woven sari entry, which received no shortage of attention at the festival. Masterplan Rudrapur, Bangladesh involved contributions from local women in Bangladesh and represented the region’s high aspiration for sustainability, a theme woven through the festival. Hearing about the extraordinary layers of community collaboration involved in this work helped me finally decide which was my personal favourite drawing!

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The Architecture Drawing Prize panel discussion with chair Owen Hopkins from Sir John Soane's Museum, 2019 overall winner Anton Markus Pasing and artists Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell

Alongside Anna’s piece in the exhibition hall were works from overall and digital winner winner Anton Markus Pasing and hybrid drawing winner Jerome Xin Hao Ng, as well as a huge digital display touch screen that captured everyone’s attention throughout the festival. After studying in awe the other 15 or so shortlisted entries on this screen, I quickly realised that I did not envy the judges’ task to choose a winner.

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The Architecture Drawing Prize stand with the three winning entries. Overall and digital winner: “City in a box: paradox memories” by Anton Markus Pasing; hand-drawn winner: “Masterplan Rudrapur, Bangladesh” by Anna Heringer; and hybrid winner: “Metabolist of a Dementia Nation” by Jerome Ng

The Architecture Drawing Prize panel discussion was one of many sessions on the programme at WAF. I made the decision from the offset to attend as many crits, panel discussions and keynote presentations as possible during the three-day festival. I was struck by the range and diversity of the presentations; it seemed that no stone was left unturned, with every major and minor theme discussed at some point. The peer review format of the festival was fascinating, and I greatly enjoyed watching each presenter passionately pitch and defend their work to a strongly opinionated jury panel. While the white inflatable crit tents were often packed to the gills, you could hear a pin drop during the panel interrogation at the end of each presentation. I particularly enjoyed the ‘Knowledge Flows: Radical, Restorative and Regenerative Approach’ discussion on the main stage.

Amsterdam was a fabulous location for the festival, enriched further by incredibly intricate city Christmas decorations which provided a perfect backdrop. Amsterdam’s Old Town was a short 20-minute walk away for those of us who could temporarily prise ourselves away from the spoils of the festival. The city’s quaint buildings, fused together with its seemingly endless network of historic canals, provided a great opportunity to get some fresh air and stretch our legs. While some of us felt a little robbed when distant city views were stolen by dense, icy fog – part of the joys of a December event – the city transformed itself at night, resembling a beautiful snow globe with its unique and tasteful display of festive lights.

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OMA's nhow Amsterdam RAI Hotel building in the fog

The festival culminated in a highly anticipated gala dinner on the final evening, during which the remaining prizes were announced. The dinner was the final gathering before everyone returned home to their various corners of the globe. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the festival. I know everyone is already excited to see what WAF 2020 has in store for us in Lisbon and to find out who will be showcasing their drawings as the 2020 Architecture Drawing Prize winners. Special thanks to all the World Architecture Festival hosts and to everyone at Sir John Soane’s Museum and Hare Group for their much-appreciated and very generous contribution to the Drawing Prize.

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WAF gala dinner at Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam
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Frank Filskow from Make alongside 2019 overall winner Anton Markus Pasing and Gary Simmons from Hare, sponsor of The Architecture Drawing Prize

This post forms part of our series on The Architecture Drawing Prize: an open drawing competition curated by Make, WAF and Sir John Soane’s Museum to highlight the importance of drawing in architecture. The winning and shortlisted entries for 2019 have been announced and will be on display at Sir John Soane’s Museum from the 15th January 2020.