European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award 2017
The Jury of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award decided to award the 2017 Prize to DeFlat Kleiburg in Amsterdam, commissioned by KondorWessels Vastgoed to NL Architects and XVW architectuur.
The jury members met on three occasions. In their first meeting held in Barcelona on January 19- 22, 2017, the Chairman suggested jury members should develop a shared position – a framework for assessing projects and a statement of intent, a common vision of what role the best of Europeanarchitecturecanplay. “WeallbelieveintheEuropeancities’abilitytoevolvewhilecontinuing to embody the spatial pleasures of urban life: interaction through multiplicity of use and spatial proximity. We believe in continuity, as eloquently argued by Ernesto Nathan Rogers in 1957, and in the need for contemporary work to engage not only with the new, but also the specificity of place, history and the culture of architecture. We want to acknowledge the city as a background to our lives, to find pleasure and art in the less overt, but no less accomplished production of the profession.” The jury concurred that their approach could be summed up by Peter Smithson’s words: “Things need to be ordinary and heroic at the same time".
The Jury reviewed the 355 works that had been nominated by the national architects’ associations, experts and the Advisory Committee. After extensive discussions over three days, 40 works were shortlisted, from which 5 finalists were chosen. They also selected the winner of the Emerging Architect category: NAVEZ - 5 social units as northern entrance of Brussels in Schaerbeek, commissioned by the City of Schaerbeek to MSA/V+.
The Jury agreed that housing is a vital topic throughout Europe and felt that MSA/V+ understood and solved brilliantly the constructive and economic constraints of the programme and site: 5 flats in a very small corner site at the northern entrance of Brussels. The Jury commended the high quality of the flats, each unique, filled with natural light, with access to outdoor spaces, impressive views and dynamic spatial experiences both in the common and private spaces. They also recognised that the architects had carefully and meticulously worked to integrate the building and its residents into the neighbourhood and to have met the client’s request for a landmark.
Between April 29 and May 2, the Jury members visited the 5 finalists: The Rivesaltes Memorial Museum by Rudy Ricciotti; the Katyn Museum in Warsaw by BBGK Architekci, Jerzy Kalina and Maksa; Kannikegården in Ribe by Lundgaard&Tranberg Architects; DeFlat Kleiburg in Amsterdam by NL Architects and XVW architectuur; Ely Court in London by Alison Brooks Architects.
The second jury meeting took place on May 3 in London and the Jury selected the Winner. Common reactions emerged and jurors agreed that each project represents important aspects of what they wished to highlight as the best of European architecture: buildings with a narrative, that explore ideas of continuity, a sense of atmosphere, a material presence; “architecture as background, conceptually strong, urban, mediating with its context, relevant to the European condition, inventive...”.
After an extended discussion on the merits of each of the works, the jury agreed to award the Prize to DeFlat Kleiburg. They noted that the transformation of the original building designed by Siegfried Nassuth in 1971 inspires reflection on the new and complex reality of contemporary living. It proposes new forms of “affordable housing”, adding to what is universally a complex and multi-layered offer (ranging from fully subsidized rent, to shared ownership, to rent-purchase schemes) by providing options for the large majority who have a little money but cannot afford to get on the conventional property ladder. They also underlined the words of Kamiel Klasse of NL Architects, who stated that the project is “a collective effort by many people about facilitating individual dreams”. The Jury praised the transformation of the Megablock from uniform living units with the separation of vehicle and pedestrian circulation into a contemporary residential building that lands on the ground positively, which allows flexibility in internal planning, creates a new edge to the street and landscape with minimal intervention on the part of the architects.
Kleiburg and Navez help us imagine a new kind of architectural project, which responds to changing household patterns and lifestyles in the twenty-first century: the transformation of an existing building and a revitalisation of typologies of the past that are as relevant and radical as experimenting with new, untested models. Two buildings that are both heroic and ordinary at the same time.
22 December 2016 - Nominees Announcement
13 January 2017 - Jury Members Announcement
20-22 January 2017 - Jury Meeting in Barcelona
30 January 2017 - 40 Shortlisted Announcement
15 February 2017 - 5 Finalists Announcement, Press Conference in Barcelona
16 February 2017 - Presentation of the 5 Finalists in Matchmaking Conference in Museum of Architecture and Design - MAO, Ljubljana