SEE WHO’S COMPETING AGAINST COBONPUE AND ZUBU DESIGN ASSOCIATES AT WAF 2019

Cebu Philippines’ Cor Jesu Oratory vies against five other finalists from Singapore, Thailand, Spain, and the UAE this December in Amsterdam

  • August 4, 2019

  • Written by Judith Torres

  • Renders courtesy of World Architecture Festival

Some judges are strict, others not so. The World Architecture Festival (WAF) is the only competition of its scale where designers present and defend their submissions in a live crit before a jury and audience of peers. Finalists have 10 minutes to present their project and eight minutes to answer the judges’ questions. I’ve seen juries stop presentations that go over the 10-minute limit. Other juries allow the finalists to finish their presentation, but this eats into the Q&A portion. What the organizers are always firm about is keeping to the total 18-minute allotment for each finalist.

They have to be firm, as the three-day festival typically conducts more than 500 crits over the first two days, with 10 or more crits happening simultaneously. This year, there are 534 finalists vying in 33 categories. The 33 winners then compete on the third day of the festival for the following awards: Small Project of the Year, Future Project of the Year, Landscape of the Year, and the top accolade, Building of the Year.

On top of the architecture competition, there are also project exhibits, a photography competition, a student charette competition, and talks by over 40 international speakers from such admired firms as Foster+Partners, Nigel Coates Studio, UN Studio, Grimshaw Architects, and annual favorites Sir Peter Cook and Charles Jencks. Then, also taking place at the same venue is WAF’s sister festival, INSIDE, with its own interior design competition and set of speakers. With all this going on, one must make maddening decisions to choose whom to watch or listen to.

The Philippines has four shortlisted entries competing this year:

  1. Future Project – Home Category: Infinity House in Makati City designed by Carlo Calma Consultancy
  2. Future Project – Civic and Community Category: Baliwag Community Center, Baliwag, Bulacan, by Alero Design Studio
  3. Future Project – Health: Sagip-Kanlungan. A Compact Hospital Model for Disaster-Prone Rural Philippines, in Pangasinan by Ar. John Ryan Santos of John Ryan Santos & Partners
  4. Completed Building – Religion Category: Cor Jesu Oratory in Cebu designed by Kenneth Cobonpue in collaboration with architect-of-record Buck Richnold Sia of Zubu Design Associates

In the Completed Building – Religion category, the jury will hold six crits with contenders from the Philippines Singapore, Thailand, Spain, and the UAE. Here are the images the six finalists submitted:

Completed Building – Religion category

CEBRA: Qasr Al Hosn: Al Musallah in Abu Dhabi, UAE


cgnArchitects: Novena Church (Church of St. Alphonsus) in Singapore


Juti Architects: Mary Help of Christian Church (Chaweng) in Suratthani, Thailand. For the design concept, read: Thailand’s Juti Architects joins ASEAN shortlisted entries in WAF 2019.


Kenneth Cobonpue and Buck Richnold Sia, Zubu Design Associates: Cor Jesu Oratory in Cebu, Philippines. To read the design concept, see WAF Shortlists Kenneth Cobonpue and Zubu Design Associates’ Cor Jesu in Cebu


LAUD Architects: Grace Baptist Church in Singapore


Pedro García Martínez: Funerary Chapel in Murcia, Spain


Previous WAF wins by the Philippines:

2018 Future Project, Civic and Community Category: The Shrunken Shrine in Cabetican, Pampanga, by BAAD Studio

2017 Future Project: Civic and Community Category: Streetlight Tagpuro in Tacloban by Furunes and Locsin Partners

2013 Grand Prize for the Student Charette Competition: University of San Carlos – Cebu, represented by Jon Adriel Go Medalla, Miguel Jorge Rocha, Kathleen Canlas, and Keshia Stephanie Lim.

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