Winner of the Best Use of Natural Light Prize announced at World Architecture Festival 2021

The 2021 edition of the Best Use of Natural Light Prize was awarded to Maggie’s Leeds Centre, created by the architects at Heatherwick Studio.

The prize was presented at the World Architecture Festival earlier this month by Programme Director Paul Finch from WAF and special advisor Tina Christensen from the VELUX Group. It is aimed at existing buildings and is awarded to architectural projects that showcase a unique use of daylight and take into consideration the impact of light on life quality and well-being.

During the pandemic, we have become very conscious of the importance of natural light to the interior environment; the more you are inside – the more you appreciate what the sun and the sky have to offer. The winning project, Maggie´s Leeds Centre from Heatherwick Studio starts with a set of restrictive conditions: the location of the plot, building constraints and limited sunlight. The project manages to turn these conditions into opportunities, and through skilful use of manmade and natural materials, together with a calculated strategy for views and daylight, it delivers an unusual project that connects with its users. The biophilic design, combining vegetation and wood, creates a unique experience in the Maggie´s Centre, where the scarcity of natural light pushes the architects to do more with less,
said Paul Finch, Programme Director and Founder of the World Architecture Festival

Since 2019, the Best Use of Natural Light Prize has been presented at the World Architecture Festival in collaboration with the VELUX Group. VELUX has been a partner of the World Architecture Festival since 2015. The World Architecture Festival 2021 was hosted as an online event on December 1-3. 

The following projects were shortlisted for the award:

  • Heatherwick Studio, Maggie's Leeds Centre
  • Batlle I Roig Arquitectura, Doctors Without Borders Corporate Headquarters - Barcelona
  • Durbach Block Jaggers & John Wardle Architects, Phoenix Central Park
  • LINK Arkitektur and 3XN in collaboration with Nickl & Partner and Kristine Jensens Tegnestue, The North Wing - Rigshospitalet
  • 3h architects Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design (MOME) Development of Campus and Creative Innovation Knowledge Park
  • FaulknerBrowns Architects, Lower Mountjoy Teaching and Learning Centre
  • Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, UTS Central
  • Foster & Partners, Hankook Technoplex

Jury members: 

  • David Basulto, Founder and Editor in Chief at ArchDaily
  • Eva Jiřičná, Founder of AI-DESIGN
  • Issa Diabaté, Partner at Koffi & Diabaté Architectes
  • Nicolas Roy, Senior Daylight Specialist at VELUX

The project Doctors Without Borders Corporate Headquarters in Barcelona, made by Batlle I Roig Arquitectura, was highly commended by the jury.


About the VELUX Group

For more than 80 years, the VELUX Group has created better living environments for people around the world; making the most of daylight and fresh air through the roof. Our product programme includes roof windows and modular skylights, decorative blinds, sun screening products and roller shutters, as well as installation and smart home solutions. These products help to ensure a healthy and sustainable indoor climate, for work and learning, for play and pleasure. We work globally – with sales and manufacturing operations in more than 36 countries and around 11,000 employees worldwide. The VELUX Group is owned by VKR Holding A/S, a limited company wholly owned by non-profit, charitable foundations (THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS) and family. In 2022, the VELUX Group had total revenue of EUR 2.99 billion, VKR Holding had total revenue of EUR 4.29 billion, and THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS donated EUR 181 million in charitable grants.

For more information about VELUX Group, visit