Woods Bagot designs win four World Architecture Festival awards

In an “extraordinary” result, global architecture studio Woods Bagot has won four World Architecture Festival (WAF) awards for three Australian projects, cementing its reputation as one of the world’s leading design practices.

Meadowbank Schools in western Sydney won Best School and Best Use of Colour; city-shaping Melbourne CBD development 80 Collins Street won Best Mixed-Use Building, while quietly spectacular Scultpform Design Studio won Best (INSIDE) Small Workplace.

Domenic Alvaro, Woods Bagot Global Design Leader said:

“It’s extraordinary. To see us sitting at that level across such different typologies is a credit to the team. Winning these awards is very rewarding and clearly demonstrates that our designs are globally relevant and significant – we’ve had some great peer feedback.”

Nik Karalis, Chief Executive Officer, says the WAF award wins are further recognition of the “people first” design approach adopted by Woods Bagot on every project.

Karalis adds:

“The themes of sustainability and regeneration appeared again and again across the awards.”

The WAF wins come three weeks after Collins Arch, designed by Woods Bagot and SHoP Architects, was named Best Tall Building, 100-199 Meters and the Best Tall Mixed-Use Building at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s (CTBUH) 2022 awards.

Karalis says architectural awards juries are increasingly rewarding human-centric projects with strong environmental vision and credentials.

Karalis said:

“People have always been at the heart of our design credo and it’s gratifying to see that there appears to be a shift in the world of architecture toward that ethos.”

World Architecture Festival – Woods Bagot winners

Meadowbank Schools – Best Completed School, Best Use of Colour
Meadowbank Schools is part of a new breed of education facilities funded by the NSW Government and was judged the best of 17 WAF short-listed completed schools from China, Australia, India, Denmark, United States and Spain. Nestled in the landscape, the design incorporates Meadowbank Public School and Marsden High School. It was built through COVID-19, opened earlier this year, and now educates more than 2500 students of all ages. Ian Lomas, Principal at Woods Bagot, says spaces to encourage play, collaboration, connection to nature and learning underpin the Woods Bagot design. Flexibility and adaptability are also key features.

Lomas said:

“Contemporary teaching methods commanding an agile and future-focused learning environment informs the overall architectural expression and interior design approach. Creating a sense of scale and diversity of spaces for kids of all ages was important.”

80 Collins Street, Melbourne – Best Completed Mixed-Use Project
The intimacy of density is distilled in 80 Collins—the first mixed-use city block introduced to the top-end of Collins Street, Melbourne’s prime corporate address, in more than two decades. It embraces four elements —a new commercial tower, a hotel, renovation of an existing commercial tower (Nauru House), and a podium base linking the entire block. Each of the tower foyers have through and through accessibility to further add to the site permeability and immediate connections for the tower occupants. Retail is drawn through the laneways at multiple levels and tenancies typically have more than one frontage—creating activated nodes within that are rich in discovery and visible from the street.

Principal Peter Miglis explains:

“The design germinates from the rhythm of Collins heritage and resonates upwards through the towers, responding to context at all levels. It’s a complexity of scale through contextual cues that privileges people scale over tower form.”

Woods Bagot collaborated with UNStudio on the new commercial tower and hotel facade.

Sculptform Design Studio – Best (INSIDE) Small Workplace
This project blurs the lines between workplace and workshop with Woods Bagot making Sculptform’s back-of-house central to the experience. It’s a gesture that connects the design community and industry in a process of co-creation. The design is a celebration of the client’s own product, evoking the bespoke timber battening, craftsmanship and custom detailing that Sculptform is beloved for. In their winner’s announcement the judges commended the project for its “elegant scheme” which expands the traditional procurement model of architecture and brings the forest to the city.

Woods Bagot Principal Bruno Mendes says:

“It’s incredible recognition for a project that is the gift that keeps on giving. For me, Sculptform set a new paradigm for the reciprocity that can exist between client and architect and showcased the limitless potential when a design team is truly immersed in materiality.”