The winner of the "World Building of the Year 2011" Award was presented at the World Architecture Festival. After the vote the jury decided to award the main prize to Media-ICT office building. The project was designed by Spanish architects from Cloud 9. The studio was commissioned by Zona Franca Consortium CZFB and @ 22Barcelona to create an experimental district of the city. The architects' goal was to make a digital model of the city based on information technology and communication. Enric Ruiz Geli – the founder of Cloud 9 – and the team decided that the theme of the project will be technology.
The building was built on the spot of a warehouse in an industrial district of Barcelona – Poble Nou. Media-ICT was opened recently, this year in October and has already won in the most important architectural competition in the world. The building measures 16 thousand square meters above ground and 7 thousand square meters underground (two floors), and has 200 parking lots. The overall cost amounted to €28 million.
The architects achieved the interesting shape of the body of the building by reversing the proportions and shaping the façade. The investment is based on ICT, i.e. information and communication technology, and is environmentally friendly. In order to demonstrate the technology aspect architects decided to cover the two façades which were exposed to the sun in the greatest extend with photovoltaic modules. South-western side was filled with steam and thus the pillow- façade prevents elevation from heating by 90 per cent. Thanks to blowing and removing air the coating maintains optimal climate in the building.
The roof is covered with solar collectors and plants which are watered automatically (computer-controlled) with rain water stored in water tanks. Additional sensors were installed outside to regulate temperature, humidity and pressure and help decrease energy use inside the building.
Within the building there are three zones which organise the space for large companies (top storeys), smaller enterprises, and freelancers (second and third floor), ground floor is an open space. Media-ICT houses media offices as well as ICT offices.
Favourites in this year's competition included: stadiums, private houses, museums, and even a police office. The winner of the last year's award, Zaha Hadid, favoured Guangzhou Opera House in China. Norman Foster also took part in the competition with his design of Sperone Westwater Gallery in New York. Even though Poles were nominated none of them managed to get to the top of the list: Pracownia Projektowa Maćków – Sports Hall in Bytom and office-residential building in Wrocław, and Maciej Jakub Zawadzki's project – Miami Pier Museum of Latin American Immigrations in the USA.
Speaking at the awards presentation, Paul Finch, festival director of content, said that Media-ICT was "a magnet for people with a whole range of ideas. It won for the scale and degree of difficulty of its ambition, and because it was a symbol of an emerging movement in the city of Barcelona. Also, it opens up conversations of concerns about energy and sustainability and shows that when addressing issues of sustainability, architects should lead the charge and this was the project that has most taken on this challenge".