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Three projects by ZHA shortlisted for World Architecture Festival 2022

Three projects by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) are shortlisted for the World Architecture Festival (WAF) Award 2022; Infinitus Plaza, Guangzhou in the ‘Completed Building – Mixed Use’ category; BEEAH Headquarters, Sharjah in the ‘Completed Building – Offices’ category; and Eleftheria Square, Cyprus in the ‘Completed Building – Civic & Community’ category.

The World Architecture Festival is dedicated to celebrating, sharing and inspiring outstanding architecture, with the WAF Awards at the heart of the festival.

Infinitus Plaza is the new global headquarters of Infinitus China. Incorporating work environments designed to nurture connectivity, creativity and entrepreneurship, the new headquarters also includes the group’s herbal medicine research facilities and safety assessment labs as well as a learning centre for conferences and exhibitions. Anchoring Guangzhou’s new Baiyun Central Business District as a national centre for China’s health and wellness industries, Infinitus China’s new headquarters combines innovative design and construction technologies with proven sustainability strategies to create spaces that unite all departments and enhance communication throughout the group.

The BEEAH headquarters’ design responds to its environment as a series of interconnecting ‘dunes’ orientated and shaped to optimize local climatic conditions. Embedded within its context of Sharjah’s Al Sajaa desert, the design echoes the surrounding landscape shaped by prevailing winds into sand dunes and ridges. Ensuring all internal spaces are provided with ample daylight and views while limiting the quantity of glazing exposed to the harsh sun, the headquarters’ two primary ‘dunes’ house the public and management departments together with the administrative zone that interconnect via a central courtyard, defining an oasis within the building which is integral to its natural ventilation strategy. With a high percentage of locally procured materials including GRC panels reducing solar gain, the headquarters’ on-site water treatment filtrates waste water to minimise consumption and its solar farm charges Tesla battery packs to meet the building’s energy demand throughout each day and night. The building’s smart management system automatically adjusts lighting and temperature depending on occupancy and time of day.

Establishing the square as the city’s main gathering space, ZHA’s design creates new connections intended to unite a divided capital. Nicosia’s massive Venetian fortifications separate the old city from its modern districts, while the city’s ‘Green Line’ divides the capital into two disparate communities. Eleftheria Square is adjacent to the city’s Venetian Walls and the dry moat that encircles Nicosia. Constructed in the Middle Ages and extensively rebuilt by the Venetians in the 16th century, these substantial defensive walls define the boundary of the oldest part of the capital, dividing the ancient city from the new districts outside the walls. ZHA envisioned Eleftheria Square as the initial phase of a larger urban plan that could be a catalyst for the reunification of the capital. The design ensures unobstructed views of the Venetian Walls, establishing these fortifications as an integral part of Nicosia’s identity, while also transforming previously inaccessible areas of the moat with new civic plazas and gardens. ZHA proposes these new public spaces within the moat are extended to follow the ancient city walls and encircle Nicosia, reconnecting communities of this divided capital. The upper level bridge meets the surrounding streetscape, connecting with the city’s urban fabric and defining a new public square in the heart of the capital. The bridge and its supporting columns are crafted in concrete, their sculptural forms ensure structural integrity in this seismic region while the base of each column morphs into seating. The renovation of the square involved extensive archaeological excavations together with works to repair protect the historic Venetian Walls. New stairs and elevators directly connect with the bus terminal in Solomos Square.