Edition 2013

European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2013. Jury Proceedings

In their second meeting held on April 24, 2013, the jury members of the 2013 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award decided to grant the 13th Prize to the Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavik, Iceland.

They also decided to give the Emerging Architect Special Mention to the Red Bull Music Academy in Madrid, Spain. This intervention by María Langarita, Víctor Navarro/Langarita-Navarro Arquitectos was highly considered by the jury for the way in which it resolves the problem of adapting the interior of an early 20th-century warehouse to accommodate a music festival through the construction of an urban structure that permitted flexibility and functionality.

The jury met on two occasions. In their first meeting held in Barcelona on January 25-26, 2013, the 335 works that had been nominated by the experts, ACE-member associations and other national architects' associations and the Advisory Committee, were reviewed by the jury members. Following an extensive discussion, they proceeded to make a selection of 40 exemplary projects to be presented in the catalogue and exhibition.

From among these, five were singled out as finalists for the Prize:

Market Hall, Ghent, Belgium by
Paul Robbrecht, Hilde Daem
Robbrecht en Daem architecten
Marie-José Van Hee
Marie-José Van Hee architecten

Superkilen, Copenhagen, Denmark by
Bjarke Ingels, Nanna Gyldholm Møller, Mikkel Marcker Stubgaard
BIG Bjarke Ingels Group
Martin Rein-Cano, Lorenz Dexler
Topotek 1
Jakob Fenger, Rasmus Nielsen, Bjørnstjerne Christiansen

Nursing Home, Alcácer do Sal, Portugal by
Francisco Aires Mateus, Manuel Aires Mateus
Aires Mateus

Metropol Parasol, Seville, Spain by
Jürgen Mayer H., Andre Santer, Marta Ramírez Iglesias

Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre, Reykjavik, Iceland by
Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen, Osbjørn Jacobsen
Henning Larsen Architects
Olafur Eliasson
Studio Olafur Eliasson
Sigurður Einarsson
Batteríið Architects

After visiting these five works on April 21-24, 2013, the jury members met for the second time in Iceland where they engaged in a lively debate about the five works and their respective merits.

The Market Hall was commended for its capacity to transform a former parking lot into a multifunctional public space that restores activity and vitality to the historical centre of Ghent. Superkilen was admired for how it recuperates a deteriorated part of a Copenhagen neighbourhood by utilitising an approach that insists on the role of urban space making as a catalyst for change while rejecting the typical gentrification process. The jury members appreciated the elegant and well-executed design solution offered by the Nursing Home in Alcácer do Sal to a health-care programme that is becoming increasingly relevant in today's ageing society. The Metropole Parasol represents an example of how an urban space can have impact as a new landmark for Seville, promote tourism and at the same time be appropriated by the citizens as a centre for public activities and events.

The jury noted with satisfaction that the Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre has captured the myth of a nation – Iceland – that has consciously acted in favour of a hybrid-cultural building during the middle of the ongoing Great Recession. The iconic and transparent porous 'quasi brick' appears as an ever-changing play of coloured light, promoting a dialogue between the city of Reykjavik and the building's interior life. By giving an identity to a society long known for its sagas, through an interdisciplinary collaboration between Henning Larsen Architects, Batteríið Architects and artist Olafur Eliasson, this project is an important message to the world and to the Icelandic people, fulfilling their long-expected dream.

All of these qualities make the Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre an especially appropriate choice for the 13th edition, which is at the same time, the 25th anniversary of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award.