Architizer, one of the leading websites devoted to architecture, launched the A+ Awards competition in September 2012 to recognise the best idea, space and structure design across the globe. More than 200 members were invited to form part of the jury, together with Snarkitecture, designers of the MTV and Emmy statuettes. The grand-finale award ceremony is scheduled in New York City in May 2013, with red-carpet celebrations and "no panel discussions!", as the organisers’ press release declares.
The jury board voted on the winners of this year's edition in mid-February, but their decision will be kept under wraps until the gala ceremony in May. Additional voting for the Popular Choice winner is open to the public via an online poll until the 8th of March.
Keret House, known as the world’s thinnest home, was designed for Israeli writer Etgar Keret. The art installation fills a 1.3-metre gap between two houses – a pre-war building at Żelazna 74 and a communist apartment block at Chłodna 22 - was designed by Polish architect Jakub Szczęsny together with the Centrala collective. It is built on a triangular plane, with its widest side taking up 152 cm and the narrow end stretching over only 92 cm - thus claiming fame as the world’s narrowest house.
Keret is a patron of the space and its primary, symbolic resident. The House is a creative centre that will host a revolving roster of artists in residence invited by Keret and Szczęsny.
The three-storey building is fitted with functional elements in sizes dictated by the building’s scale – the staircase's last step, for example, serves as a shoe-scraper, and the tiny aluminum fridge fits only a few soft drinks.
On the project’s website, Jakub Szczęsny explains the main ideas behind the concept:
The House is raised in a place where two different architectural tissues which emerge from two different eras, come into contact. [...] Their neighbourhood is a coincidence, like many other architectural solutions in Warsaw. The Keret House in inscribed into this spatial context of the 'isolation' of these tissues. It is a structure which cuts itself away from the surroundings, and yet it simultaneously constitutes a peculiarly cementing element. The city’s war history adds yet another dimension, as the site of the House marks the border between two Ghettos, a large and a small one.
The A+ Awards competition includes 50 categories divided into two sections, Typology and Plus. The Typology Category comprises buildings raised over the past three years (with Residency, Commercial, Cultural and Institutional subcategories). The Plus Categories select both realised and unrealised projects, which place particular emphasis on the social aspect of architecture.
The jury of the competition includes names from different milieu and genres: Joseph F. Coughlin, the head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab, Ned Cramer, the curator of the American Pavillion at the 2012 Venice Biennale, the artist Olafur Eliasson, director of Storefront for Art and Architecture Eva Franch I Gilabert, the Dutch architect Rem D. Koolhaas and the curator of the Guggenheim Museum, David van der Leer.
During the official award ceremony on the 16th of May, the results of the Firm of the Year, Building of the Year and Client of the Year competitions are also to be annouced alongside the Architizer A+ Award laureates.
For more information, see: architizerawards.com