The InBetween House wins World’s Best Villa Building at WAF Awards 2011

The InBetween House, Japan, designed by Koji Tsutsui & Associates

InBetween House, Japan, designed by Koji Tsutsui & Associates, has won the ‘World’s Best Villa Building’ award at the prestigious World Architecture Festival (WAF) Awards 2011. The presentation of the WAF Awards are taking place during the largest global celebration of architecture – the World Architecture Festival, which is being held at the Centre Convencions International Barcelona (CCIB) this week.

Surrounded by Japanese larch trees in a mountainous region of Karuizawa, Japan, this 178sqm house sits on an artificially levelled area of the site created thirty years ago and left unused. Since the client wanted a house that seamlessly blends into the natural surrounding, topography and local culture, the architects designed this house as a cluster of small mountain cottages using local materials.

The building was selected by a panel of esteemed architects and designers, beating off competition from a shortlist of 12 entries.

The InBetween House, Japan, designed by Koji Tsutsui & Associates

The judges commended the project, saying: “The completed villa category is the architect’s laboratory. It is also an opportunity for the architect to demonstrate a clear relationship between themselves, the client, the craftspeople and the site. The InBetween House demonstrates this clarity in its process of making. It is simple and sophisticated in its formal language, which is articulated in both the social and private space, from the spatial
configuration of its interior to the exterior detailing.

“What makes this villa stand out from the other entrants is the social ambition of the project. It is not just a project for one client and their family, but also offers the potential to extend the typology to larger iterations (such as a small community or even the expansion of this dwelling).

“This robust and rigorous project, highlights that a villa should be a direct representation of the client’s dreams made manifest by the architect. Here, it is done with simple clarity.”

The InBetween House, Japan, designed by Koji Tsutsui & Associates

Speaking at the WAF Awards 2011 Paul Finch, WAF Programme Director, said: “The World Architecture Festival is the world’s largest, live, truly inclusive and interactive global architectural awards programme. Attracting entries from internationally renowned practices to small local architects, the stellar quality of this year’s designs demonstrates their commitment to designing the world’s most exciting buildings. This year we’ve attracted more entries than ever before, with over 700 submissions from 66 different countries. Our congratulations go to the winners for a truly accomplished project.”
This is the 4th year the World Architecture Festival Awards have been presented, and by the end of the awards 38 WAF Awards will have been announced across the three main sections of Completed Buildings, Structural Design and Future Projects. The Festival culminates with the announcement of the prestigious ‘World Building of the Year 2011’ award.

Previous winners include ‘World Building of the Year 2008’ – Luigi Bocconi University, Milan, designed by Irish practice Grafton Architects; ‘World Building of the Year 2009’ – Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre in South Africa, designed by Peter Rich Architects of Johannesburg, and ‘World Building of the Year 2010’ – MAXXI (National Museum of the 21st Century Arts) in Rome, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects.

The WAF Awards see unsung local buildings take on internationally acclaimed projects in what is the world’s biggest architecture contest. Unlike other architectural competitions, architects present their work in front of leading industry judges and a live public audience as they compete for the accolade of ‘World Building of the Year’.


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