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2023 World Architecture Festival: 5 Winning Structures that Showcase Sustainability

We are surrounded by remarkable architecture, blending the essence of ‘modernism’ with sustainability and prioritizing occupants’ comfort in innovative ways. These structures redefine conventional norms. The 2023 World Architecture Festival celebrates such buildings across diverse categories.

Sustainability in construction is essential for reducing environmental impact and securing a resilient future. Today, we’ll explore five winning structures from the 2023 World Architecture Festival that are not only visually captivating but also embody sustainability.

2023 World Architecture Festival – ‘Sustainable’ Winners

What makes a building sustainable? The materials used in its construction, methods employed to reduce emissions, and minimizing reliance on fossil fuels are key factors. Furthermore, these buildings incorporate natural lighting and ventilation, eliminating the necessity for artificial systems and further decreasing energy-related emissions.

Here are 5 winning structures completed in 2022, each showcasing its unique contribution to sustainability-

Kaomai Museums and Tea Barn

This adaptive-reuse project by PAVA Architects transforms a 68-year-old tobacco processing plant in Chiang Mai, Thailand into Kaomai Museums and Tea Barn. Old barns are repurposed for educational, recreational, and commercial use through thoughtful design changes that maintain their original character. This involves preserving elements for the museums, adding steel structures for flexibility, and renovating the Tea Barn with reclaimed materials, water management systems, and discreet lighting. The project involves local artisans and former workers to preserve history, and construction methods, and use local materials, all aimed to revive the community’s spirit for the future.

Victorian Heart Hospital

The Victorian Heart Hospital, situated at Monash University’s Clayton campus, is a collaborative effort among the Victorian Health Building Authority, Monash Health, and Monash University. As Australia’s premier dedicated heart hospital, it’s a hub for research, teaching, and clinical care. The design prioritizes patient and staff well-being, featuring abundant natural light, an open courtyard, and a thoughtfully organized layout for public, research, and clinical spaces. The exterior integrates weathered steel and terracotta tiles and utilizes passive design elements like perforated façade screens for mitigating heat. Inside, timber accents and a nature-inspired color and material palette create calming and stimulating environments to enhance well-being.

Surat Diamond Bourse

The Surat Diamond Bourse in Gujarat is a 6.6 million sq. ft. structure, making it the world’s largest single-office building. Symbolizing sustainability and high-density office architecture, it fosters community interaction through shaded courts, a central spine, and towers housing various diamond-related functions. Innovative cooling techniques reduce energy consumption by 50%, natural light illuminates 75% of internal spaces, and common areas run on solar power. These efforts have resulted in the building earning the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) Platinum rating. 

The Courtyard CCR Lab

The project, nestled within an 1100-acre cement plant, houses multiple departments, including a control room, research & testing labs, conference and training rooms, a gymnasium, a library, and a cafeteria. The building’s layout promotes natural ventilation and lighting, reducing reliance on artificial systems for energy efficiency. Angled external fins minimize heat gain and glare while directing internal spaces for indirect natural light. The spacious landscaped courtyard, shaded and designed like traditional Indian courtyard houses, combines open and enclosed areas for effective work settings, hosting events and recreational activities.

Boola Katitjin

Boola Katitjin, meaning ‘lots of learning’ in Whadjuk Noongar, is a new campus building at Murdoch University, Western Australia. It houses contemporary learning spaces, student services, and academic workspaces, emphasizing environmental education and campus culture. The mass timber structure integrates with the land, embracing Noongar Country’s relationship with the environment. The building’s distinct design includes a gabled roof, shaded areas, and exposed eucalypt timbers, connecting students to the surrounding landscapes. It serves as an arrival point, cultural hub, and learning center, featuring areas for industry engagement, events, and informal student spaces. The roof also generates renewable energy, reducing the building’s operational energy footprint significantly and contributing to environmental sustainability by minimizing embodied carbon and promoting a circular economy.

These award-winning structures redefine eco-conscious design by blending innovation, sustainability, and functionality. They mark a new era in architecture and construction driven by innovation and green building and balancing environmental harmony with style.


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