Supporting architects and designers around the world to create healthier urban landscapes during and beyond the pandemic, GROHE is proud to have been the main sponsor of the World Architecture Festival (WAF) 2021, a role taken on by the brand upon the inception of the festival in 2008. As a founding partner, GROHE, a leading global brand for complete bathroom solutions and kitchen fittings, represents the unique role water plays for the design discipline, and helps shape innovative architectural visions and solutions around the element of water. During the challenging times of the past years GROHE has continued to support the architect community by sponsoring this year’s WAF and the Water Research Prize 2021.
Greener, cleaner cities
The festival’s theme, “Resetting the city”: Ecological concerns regarding city planning, biodiversity and sustainability now meet the overall need to create healthier, safer surroundings more than ever. As concepts for sourcing clean energy, reducing pollution
, and clean water supplies are now directly linked to the control of pandemics, they are becoming the center of urban planning strategies across the globe, and have also become the focus of this year’s festival. A total of 320 hours of inspiring keynotes, sessions and panel discussions were presented to the WAF community. As a highlight of this year’s festival, architects from all over the world came together to compete with one another to win “The World Building of the Year”, an award which was unveiled by GROHE on December 3rd as the grand finale.
Inspired by nature – a win to fight global water scarcity
In this context, GROHE was proud to once again award the annual Water Research Prize to projects aiming at finding creative solutions for water in the built environment. This year’s award went to Techlab laboratory and its “Aquasorbent Façade”. Inspired by the Namib desert beetle, the research team designed a façade using honeycomb-like modules which absorb and use moisture in the air to reach indoor thermal comfort. Designed with peaks and troughs on their surface the modules help retain water molecules from the air. The collected water will be stored in vertical tanks embedded in the façade on every storey. By adjusting the modules according to the optimal rainfall angle of every region, collecting water from both humidity and rainfall conditions will be possible in all climates around the world. The jury was delighted by this unique solution which tackles water scarcity around the globe. “This innovative project tackles water scarcity and I particularly loved the inspiration directly taken from nature,” said Stefan Schmied, Leader, Business Unit Projects, LIXIL EMENA. Paul Finch, Programme Director of the World Architecture Festival added: “All the judges appreciated the inspiration and application of this nano–technology that could help solve the lack of water in stressed areas of the planet.”
The Water Research Prize has been part of World Architecture Festival since 2017, when the WAF X Manifesto was first published. The manifesto identified the most important challenges for architects within the next ten years, including water in relation to the built environment. With this year’s festival focusing on the improvement of the quality of life in urban areas through greener, healthier infrastructures, the close connection to water is particularly striking. By sponsoring the award, GROHE has been supporting research in the field of unique architectural challenges around water for the past four years and is proud to continue doing so at this year’s festival.
A virtual venue loaded with content
The digital edition of the festival was available exclusively via the WAF app. By purchasing a digital pass, participants were granted access to 50 digital crit rooms and the largest amount of content in the history of the festival. GROHE has exclusive access to the festival content via its digital brand platform, GROHE X.