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Ordinary and Heroic

MIes van der Rohe Award 2017

30/08/2017


The biennial European Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award has gone to the unique renovation of the deFlat Kleiburg residential complex in Amsterdam, built by the Dutch firms NL Architects and XVW architectuur. The other finalists were the Ely Court apartments by Alison Brooks, the Kannikegarden building by Lundgaard & Tranberg, the Katyn Museum by BBGK Architekci, and the Rivesaltes Memorial by Rudy Ricciotti (see Arquitectura Viva 195).

As unexpected as it is ultimately deserved, the awarding of the prize to a work where the original and the new architects are confused, and where attention shifts from the object to processes and results, inevitably constitutes a statement of intentions in relation to one of the challenges that architects are increasingly having to address: recovering the outskirts of cities. Described by the competition jury as “heroic and ordinary at the same time,” it has involved the diligent and refined refurbishment of a 1960s rationalist block – 400 meters long and containing 500 apartments on 11 floors – that has been saved from demolition thanks to an operation based on clearing up spaces, restoring decorum, and financial feasability.

The jury of the award, which will be given in a ceremony scheduled for 26 May at the Barcelona Pavilion, has also announced this year’s Emerging Architects: the Brussels-based firms MSA and V+, for their joint Navez social housing development located in the municipality of Schaerbeek (Belgium).


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