Vietnamese community space wins World Building of the Year

A Vietnamese architectural firm has come out tops at this year's World Architecture Festival, beating tough competition which included the Singapore Sports Hub.

The Chapel by Ho Chi Minh-based a21studio won the prestigious World Building of the Year award tonight. The team designed a community space in the outskirts of the city, in a place where there are few communal spots.  It has been designed for a multi-use space, and can hold events, conferences and even weddings.

The 140 sq m project was picked as the winner by a 'super-jury' of architecture stalwarts which included British architect Richard Rogers and Hong Kong architect Rocco Yim.

The jury picked The Chapel as they felt that it was a project that scored "maximum effect, with minimal materials", says festival director Paul Finch. They were also impressed with the architects' used of recycled material, which they salvaged from a demolished building from another one of their clients.

Mr Finch says: "They've managed to make poetry out of the mundane. This is a small project which makes a big statement."

The Chapel became the overall winner after first beating four other entries in the Completed Buildings - Civic and Community category on Thursday. The Singapore Sports Hub won in the Sport - Completed Building category the same day. 

Today, The Chapel went up against the festival's other 16 winners in various Completed Buildings category winners, which included the Scale Lane Bridge by McDowell+Benedetti and the Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, a cancer-treatment centre by Rice Daubney. 

Singapore's own Gardens by the Bay won World Building of the Year in 2012.

The three-day festival at Marina Bay Sands, which started on Wednesday, is considered the Oscars of the architectural world. Singapore has played host to the seven-year-old festival since 2012. It will return again next year to a new venue at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre.

natashaz@sph.com.sg