World Architecture Festival 2012 is on the move – to Singapore, where this year’s event will take place on October 3, 4 and 5.
The venue is Marina Bay Sands, the extraordinary hotel and convention complex designed by Moshie Safdie and opened in 2011.
Our move, after four happy years in Barcelona, is partly to reflect the global (rather than European) nature of WAF. But it is also to mark our fifth year as the world’s only annual architecture festival.
When we launched in 2008, it wasn’t at all clear whether we could make the event succeed, despite encouragement from architects representing more than 60 countries who attended that first event. After all, the economic crisis, which began in the United States and spread both east and west, had begun just as we launched our first festival.
So survival has been important; economically the world is rather more stable, and of course there are boom construction markets in many parts of Asia.
Our decision to choose Singapore as a location was influenced by several factors. First, it is a hub for the huge variety of countries and communities across Asia. Second, it is an entrepot which is accustomed to dealing with people and businesses from across the world.
But most important, it has established itself as a country which has a real interest in design quality in many fields. Through the President’s Design Awards with its multiple international juries, and through the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize now in its third iteration, Singapore has demonstrated a real belief in the power of design to transform people and places for the better.
We look forward to working with the Singapore Tourist Board, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Singapore Institute of Architects, and DesignSingapore Council, and to making WAF 2012 a truly memorable event.
And of course we look forward to many hundreds of architectural practices entering the WAF Awards – last year we received more than 700 entries.
Paul Finch, Programme Director, World Architecture Festival