World Architecture Festival 2023: Unveiling the Future of Design in Singapore

A comprehensive preview of the highly anticipated World Architecture Festival 2023, set to take place in Singapore, showcasing groundbreaking discussions, impressive finalists, and captivating fringe events.

After almost a decade, the World Architecture Festival (WAF) is making its highly anticipated return to Singapore. From November 29 to December 1, 2023, the city’s iconic Marina Bay Sands will serve as the backdrop for this prestigious event. With the theme “Catalyst,” the festival aims to explore how architecture and design can drive positive change for the environment, individuals, and institutions. The program promises to be an immersive experience, featuring live award judging, inspiring talks by renowned speakers, and a series of captivating fringe events. Let’s delve into what the World Architecture Festival 2023 has in store.

Previewing the Main WAF Program:

The World Architecture Festival 2023 program is set to be a star-studded affair, with 76 international speakers leading discussions on the main stage and in The Festival Hall over the course of three days. The theme of “Catalyst” will be explored through thought-provoking keynotes and talks, shedding light on how architecture and design can drive positive change. Among the notable speakers are Charu Kokate from Safdie Architects, Mario Cucinella, Sir Peter Cook, Islam El Mashtooly from OBMI, Mouaz Abouzaid from Verform, and Wim Walschap from Herzog de Meuron. Running parallel to the main program is the World Festival of Interiors, Inside, which will feature renowned architect Nigel Coates as a headline speaker. The live WAF awards judging will showcase 495 shortlisted projects across 17 crit rooms, competing in categories such as Completed Buildings, Future Buildings, and Landscape. The festival website provides a complete list of the 2023 finalists.

Unpacking Fringe Events:

In addition to the main program, the World Architecture Festival 2023 will feature a series of captivating fringe events. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in seven guided architectural tours, exploring local landmarks and previous award-winning projects from the festival. These tours will be led by qualified architects and, in some cases, the lead architects themselves. Landmarks on the tour include Heatherwick Studio’s Learning Hub building, Wilkinson Eyre’s Gardens by the Bay, W Architects | M Moser’s St James Power Station, and Safdie Architects’ Jewel at Changi Airport. The Architecture Drawing Prize exhibition, sponsored by Iris Ceramica Group, will celebrate the art of drawing in three categories: hand-drawn, digital, and hybrid. The exhibition will showcase the winning and shortlisted drawings at Sir John Soane’s Museum in London. Another exhibition curated by Mario Cucinella Architects, titled “The Future is a Journey to the Past,” will explore the evolution of sustainable thinking from prehistory to the present day. Lastly, attendees can look forward to a Wes Anderson-inspired short film by local architectural photographer Kevin Siyuan, capturing the essence of Singapore’s urban landscape through a unique cinematic lens.


As the World Architecture Festival 2023 prepares to make its grand return to Singapore, the stage is set for an immersive and thought-provoking event. With a lineup of renowned speakers, captivating fringe events, and a focus on driving positive change through design, the festival promises to be a catalyst for innovation and inspiration. From exploring landmark projects to celebrating the art of drawing and experiencing the urban landscape through the lens of a cinematic tribute, attendees will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of architecture and design. The World Architecture Festival 2023 is poised to leave a lasting impact on the architectural community and shape the future of the industry.






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