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A Singaporean ‘vertical village’ that challenges the default typology of high-density housing in the region has outshone every architecture project completed in the world since 1 January 2014 to win the World Architecture Festival (WAF) World Building of the Year 2015.

Considered by some to be the most prestigious project award available to practicing architects, The Interlace by OMA/Buro Ole Scheeren was handed the coveted honour of World Building of the Year on the final day of the WAF, held at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands from 4-6 November.

The project trumped a massive field of entries and category winners that were eligible for the prize, including the world’s most impressive mixed-use development, Sydney’s ‘Casba’ by SJB in collaboration with Billard Leece Partnership, and WA’s The Walumba Elders Centre by iredale pedersen hook architects which was named the Health Project of the Year on day two of the festival.

The Interlace was praised by the awards jury for its bold and contemporary challenge to the typology of high-density housing in the Singaporean region, which has in the past produced generic tower clusters.

OMA and Buro Ole Scheeren intertwined a network of living and social spaces within 31 apartment blocks, each six storeys tall and 70 metres long, stacked in hexagonal arrangements and around eight large-scale open permeable courtyards.

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The interlocking blocks form a vertical village with cascading sky gardens and both private and public roof terraces. The design also features communal spaces for shared activity which are interwoven into the lush vegetation and offer opportunities for social interaction, leisure, and recreation.

World Architecture Festival Director Paul Finch praised the project, saying “The Interlace is blazing a trail with an example of bold, contemporary architectural thinking.

“The project presents an alternative way of thinking about developments which might otherwise become generic tower clusters.”

The Interlace is now the eighth project to claim the illustrious title of World Building of the Year, since its inception at the annual World Architecture Festival in 2008. The home project win marks the culmination of the Festival’s four-year run in Singapore, before it moves to Berlin in 2016.

Other winners on the evening included Vancouver House in Canada by Bjarke Ingells Group which took out the Future Project of the Year; Yanweizhou Park in China by Turenscape which was named the Landscape of the Year winner and Liding√∂vallen by DinellJohansson which received the Small Project Prize. Each was presented with WAF’s distinctive ‘W” award at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Images: Iwan Baan