The judging panel has announced the shortlist for the Emirates Glass LEAF Awards 2008 in the most hotly contested competition to date.

The awards, also sponsored by sister website Design Build Network, are now in their fifth year and celebrate architectural excellence in the fields of innovation, structural design and sustainable development across both commercial and residential sectors.

Judges were particularly impressed with the diversity of the entries from around the globe. They praised the clarity of design, variety of materials used and the richness of the projects as they judged each building on its balance of form and function.

The judging panel included some of the most highly respected members of the industry. Ben Morris, architect and managing director of Vector Foiltec; Irving Brauer, principal of Brauer Associates; Albert Williamson-Taylor, Contractor, AKT Engineers and Steve Andrews, Project Design Executive, Canary Wharf Group came together on 4 September to decide the shortlist.

They praised the ‘exquisite design’ of some of the entries, loved the simplicity of the designs as well as the use of natural light.

“It is not about sophistication and plugging as much money you can into a project, it is about simple design, looking good, making sure a building fulfils its function and ensuring its sustainability,” one judge commented.

Another argued for the importance of making sure the building feels like a resolved piece of work and fulfilled the age-old balance between form and function.

They were particularly impressed with the elegance of the entries in the Commercial Building of the Year Award which combined both excellence of design with clear function.

Two of the categories proved particularly hard to judge, with the panel divided between exceptional entries in each case.

However, the judges were unanimous in their opinion that good architecture should be promoted. They also argued that talent of young designers should be nurtured at a very early age.

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen will host the evening ceremony held on 23 October at The Dorchester, London, where the eventual winners will be announced.

With well over 100 entries received this year the judges were overwhelmed with a large and diverse range of projects from which to choose. They decided to split this year’s Residential Building of the Year category into multiple-level projects and single-storey buildings. The judges felt that it would be fair to split this category as it proved an impossible task to compare the different innovation and technology techniques used in each of the two sub-categories.

The shortlist is as follows:

Mixed-Use Building of the Year

  • Performers’ House, Silkeborg, Denmark – Schmidt Hammer-Lassen Architects
  • Media Library, Delft, The Netherlands – Dok Architecten
  • Elmpark Development, Dublin, Republic of Ireland – Bucholz McEvoy Architect

Residential Building of the Year – Multiple Level

  • Newton Suites, Singapore – WOHA
  • BLUE Residential Tower, New York, USA – Bernard Tschumi
  • eScape: Eden Village, Sittingbourne, Kent, UK – PCKO Architects

Residential Building of the Year – Single Storey

  • 784 House, Cheshire, UK – Stephenson Bell
  • Studio-House Acorán II, Acorán Housing Estate, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife – gpy arquitectos
  • Industrial Designer House, Seijo Setagaya-Ku Tokyo, Japan – Koji Tstsui Architects
  • Black House, Valle de Bravo, Mexico – bgp arquitectura

Commercial Building of the Year – Public Building

  • Uppsala Concert and Congress Hall, Uppsala, Sweden – Henning Larsen Architects
  • Suntory Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan – Kengo Kuma & Associates
  • Ondo Civic Centre, Kure City, Japan – Kengo Kuma & Associates
  • Beijing South Station, China – Terry Farrell & Partners

Commercial Building of the Year – Private Building

  • Sodic Sales Centre, Cairo, Egypt – Eklego Design Ltd
  • 28 Dorset Square, Regent’s Park, London, UK – John McAslan & Partners
  • Cocoon, Zurich, Switzerland – Camenzind Evolution Ltd

International Interior Design Award

  • NYU Department of Philosophy, New York, USA – Steven Holl Architects
  • Ross Street Residence, Melbourne, Australia – Hassell
  • GSC Offices, New York, USA – Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
  • Light House Cinema Dublin, Republic of Ireland – DTA Architects

Young Architect

  • Arreletes Day-Care Centre, Els Alamús, Lleida, Spain – Xavier Vilalta Studio
  • Contador-Weller House, Casablanca, Chile – Riesco & Rivera Arquitectos Asociado
  • La Estancia Chapel, Cuernavaca, Mexico – Bunker Arquitectura

Best Sustainable Development

  • United States Census Bureau
    Headquarters, Suitland, Maryland, USA – Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
  • New General Building of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France – Art and Build Architect
  • Limoges Concert Hall, Limoges, France – Bernard Tschumi
  • Cley Marshes Visitor Centre, Norfolk, UK – LSI Architects LLP
  • 16 Noel Street, Morgan Lovell HQ, London, UK – Morgan Lovell

New Innovation of the Year

  • MAS – Modernisation of Acute Services,
    Central Nottinghamshire, UK – Swanke Hayden Connell Architects
  • Covent Garden, Brussels, Belgium – Art and Build Architect
  • Longshan Church, Beijing, China – WSP Architectural Design Consulting
  • The Lighthouse, Sports and Events Arena,
    Belfort, France – Archi5

Best Structural Design of the Year

  • Manchester Civil Justice Centre, Manchester, UK – Mott Macdonald
  • Beijing International Airport Terminal, China – Foster + Partners
  • Smithsonian Institution Courtyard, Washington DC, USA – Foster + Partners