The Arc was awarded best master plan and Future Project of the Year at the World Architecture Festival in Barcelona.
Barcelona, November 5, 2010–The 2010 <ahref=”http://www.worldarchitecturefestival.com/winners.cfm”>World Architecture Festival has given its coveted “Future Project of the Year” prize to the ”The Arc”, a visionary master plan for a Palestinian state. The Arc, designed by Suisman Urban Design of Los Angeles, in partnership with RAND Corporation, is a sweeping infrastructure and urban development plan for a future state in the West Bank and Gaza.
The prestigious architecture festival, which took place for the third year at Barcelona’s convention center, was officially opened on November 3 by Jordi Hereu, the Mayor of Barcelona. The festival is the world’s largest international architectural competition and, according to the U.K’s Independent newspaper, “the world’s biggest architectural event.” The competition is known for its ability to attract submissions from many of the world’s leading architects, and for its unusual requirement that architects present their projects in person to a panel of judges.
Throughout the first two days of the Festival, the shortlisted projects were presented to separate juries in 22 categories. In the category of “Future Projects – Masterplanning”, the Arc was in competition with 11 other master plans located as widely as China and Singapore to Turkey and Brazil. The Swedish magazine Arkitektur reported, “The greatest jubilation in the festival hall was heard when the winner in the category of “Future projects – master planning” was presented. Winner Suisman Urban Design, in its Arc project for Palestine, has produced a stunning vision of infrastructure for a future Palestinian state.” The three judges–from the U.S., England, and China–were unanimous in their decision. They concluded: “The Arc excels in translating a complex context into a clear and powerful diagram…it is rigorous, practical, and believable…an example of architecture and masterplanning helping to promote a political solution.”
As a category winner, the Arc automatically moved to a final round on the third and final day, competing against the 6 other winners in the “future project” categories. The Arc was the only master plan among the finalists, which ranged from an office complex and a concert hall to a train station and a childrens hospital. Suisman again presented, this time to a “superjury” that included top English architect Will Alsop and reknowned architecture critic Charles Jencks.
The outcome was withheld until the end of the festival’s closing ceremony, when Festival chairman Paul Finch announced that the Future Projects superjury had given the top prize among all the future projects to the Arc, earning it the prestigious title of Future Project of the Year. .) In his juror’s remarks, Alsop wrote: “The Arc needs to be recognized because of its bravery, clarity, and political significance.” Chares Jencks concluded: “The Arc project shows that architecture can be a unifying action as well as a new symbol for an emerging nation.”