And the world’s best building is…

The first ever World Building of the Year Award winner has been announced, beating off more than 700 other entries from 63 countries…

You may well wonder what a Spanish rubbish dump, the Royal Danish Yacht Club and a Japanese Dental Clinic have in common.

I'll put you out of your misery- they were all shortlisted for the first ever World Building of the Year Award, which celebrates architectural prowess.

Entries consisted of buildings that were new, restored, rehabilitated or converted and completed between January 1st, 2007 and June 20th, 2008.

Paul Finch, Editor of The Architectural Review and Programme Director of the World Architecture Festival (WAF) Awards, said that the most significant building in the world in any given year was not necessarily one of the most high-profile.

"It could be that a primary school in Glasgow or a small church in Peru is actually the building doing most to alter the way we think about the building type," he said.

In the end, Dublin based Grafton Architects' new faculty building at Milan's Luigi Bocconi Free University grabbed gold at the awards in Barcelona.

The University dates back from 1902 and has grown in the past 100 years from a privately funded institution to an international university for business, economics and law.

The campus now comprises an entire neighbourhood within a residential and commercial district.

The winning faculty building contains new conference and lecture rooms, auditorium and research offices for 1000 professors and postgraduate students.

Pic: Bocconi Free University's new faculty building

The 722 entries were split into different categories according to the building's purpose, ranging from learning, civic, culture, shopping, sport and pleasure. The winning building fell into the ‘learning' category.

Each of the categories chose a winner, and then the overall winner was deemed the ‘World's Best Building for 2008.'

The aforementioned Spanish rubbish dump, (which had been transformed into a green terraced agricultural landscape) won the Energy, Waste and Recycling category.

The judging panel, which was headed up by Robert Stern, who replaced Sir Norman Foster at the last minute after one of his designs made it to the final, was looking for ‘architecture that thought about complex issues in an imaginative way.'

The ‘totally 3D' building was chosen as the overall winner as it ‘fitted within the urban landscape but still stood out.'

Mr Stern said, "The use of space, light and local materials captured the essence of the city and the desire of the university to be connected with its surroundings.

"We were impressed by the building's physical and conceptual density," he added.

The new faculty building will have its official opening later this week.

Picture by pontuse

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