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AZ Awards 2022 Winner & People's Choice: Shape Tomorrow by HWKN

“Honey, I shrunk the architecture.” For its wonderfully whimsical exhibition at Berlin’s Aedes Architecture Forum, New York design firm HWKN presented a metropolis in miniature, using nine five-metre-high towers to depict a range of different building typologies. Several of these bore passing resemblance to past HWKN projects, such as New York’s 25 Kent and Munich’s Die Macherei.

AZ Awards Winner & People's Choice 2022: Shape Tomorrow by HWKN

Each of the downsized buildings was given a human name that spoke to its inherent identity: Blake was an outgoing skyscraper with an inviting public market at its base, while Skyler was a nurturing residential tower designed to support multiple generations. Intriguing glows emanating from deep within each tower accented the playfully futuristic, crisp white exhibition design. A mirror-clad wall reflected the room’s clean three-by-three grid arrangement to create an even more expansive skyline.

“Shape Tomorrow conveys a difficult thing for most people to understand about occupant empathy and abstract concepts like space and building types. It’s a great piece that’s interactive on a number of levels.”
Primo Orpilla, AZ Awards 2022 Juror
AZ Awards Winner & People's Choice 2022: Shape Tomorrow by HWKN

Upon entry, visitors were invited to choose a character from a selection of toys and imagine how it might move through daily life in the spaces depicted, all the while posing the figure for social media. Speech-bubble sticky notes also prompted people to post their reflections to the gallery’s walls, creating a rich architectural dialogue.

AZ Awards Winner & People's Choice 2022: Shape Tomorrow by HWKN

In this way, the designers inspired Berliners to think about their own interactions with the city’s buildings — seeing them not just as something to look at but as something to engage with on a more personal level. By showcasing the strong possibilities of inviting, open public realms, the installation also highlighted the importance of developing skyscrapers that are more than just insular monoliths. Moving through the city, we spend a lot of time looking at architecture as a sculptural form. But what about the inner lives of the landmarks we dart past? Fusing storybook wonder with civic engagement, HWKN successfully turned the urban realm into its own main character.

AZ Awards Winner & People's Choice 2022: Shape Tomorrow by HWKN

Team Matthias Hollwich with Dorin Baul, Jessica Knobloch, Robert May and Olga Snowden

Winner: Temporary and Experiential Installations
People’s Choice: Temporary and Experiential Installations
Shape Tomorrow

Fusing storybook wonder with civic engagement, HWKN successfully turned the urban realm into its own main character.

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2014
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