Mr Eric Chang, who is a Beijing-based partner at Buro Ole Scheeren who represented the firm at the awards, says the win was unexpected, but he felt it was serendipitous given that a Singapore project won on home ground.
He said: “How we designed and thought about The Interlace came out of the conditions of Singapore. It’s also a project that speaks beyond architecture – it has created a sense of community, social connectivity and a return to nature. So it’s rewarding to see that recognised.”
The Interlace project team had won in the Housing – Completed Buildings category of the festival on Wednesday, beating 13 others including the likes of home-grown firm SCDA Architects, who submitted their SkyTerrace@Dawson, a Build-To-Order (BTO) HDB project.
It then went up against other winners of completed buildings in 17 categories, including mammoth projects such as the Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu shopping complex and Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies in Doha for the Building of the Year award. There were 338 projects submitted this year.
This is not the first time Singapore has won the festival’s top accolade – Gardens by the Bay won the prestigious title in 2012, when Singapore hosted the festival for the first time.
There were two other Singapore winners at this year’s festival.
Oasis Terraces, an integrated neighbourhood centre and polyclinic in Punggol by Serie + Multiply Consultants, a joint venture team, won in the Commercial Mixed Use – Future Projects category, while Homefarm, a conceptual proposal for the next generation of urban retirement housing by the Singapore office of Spark Architects took home the prize in the Experimental – Future Project category.
Winners were chosen by a jury that included celebrated architects and architecture professionals such as Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto and Lyndon Neri, founding partner of Neri&Hu Design and Research Office in Shanghai.
The Interlace win is a bittersweet one for the festival. This is the last time that it will be held here. The festival will move to Berlin, Germany next year. Before coming to Singapore, it was held in Barcelona, Spain for four years.
From next year, instead of just one big festival, there will be satellite events in various cities, with more localised content. These have already been planned for Dubai in February and London in June.