Harpa Concert Hall wins the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2013

Winner / Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre / Courtesy of

Harpa, the Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Iceland, is the winner of the 2013 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award the European Commission and the Mies van der Rohe Foundation announced today. Designed by Henning Larsen Architects, Batteríið Architects and Studio Olafur Eliasson the building has helped to transform and revitalise Reykjavik harbour and brought the city and harbour district closer together.  The ‘Emerging Architect Special Mention’ award goes to María Langarita and Víctor Navarro for the Nave de Música Matadero (Red Bull Music Academy) in Madrid, Spain. The award ceremony will take place on 7 June at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona, coinciding with the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the prize. More information after the break.

Winner / Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre / Courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

“Architecture is one of the most visible expressions of our contemporary culture. My warmest congratulations go to this year’s winners – indeed, to all of those who made the final shortlist. They have created buildings which are not only of the highest aesthetic and technical quality, but also places which touch our emotions and bring people together. I would also like to thank the Mies van der Rohe Foundation for their excellent collaboration in helping to bring the best of contemporary European architecture to worldwide attention,” said Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.

Winner / Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre / Courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

Harpa’s crystalline structure was inspired by Icelandic landscapes and traditions. Its dramatic design captures and reflects the light of the city, ocean and sky to thrilling effect.

Winner / Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre / Courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen, from Henning Larsen Architects said: “On behalf of the team I would like to thank the European Commission and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe for this award. We are immensely honoured. Harpa is the result of collaborative process that has involved many people and with their efforts, strong commitment and drive Harpa has become a symbol of Iceland’s renewed dynamism.” Wiel Arets, Chair of the Jury, said: “Harpa 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 and artist Olafur Eliasson, this project is an important message to the world and to the Icelandic people, fulfilling their long expected dream.”

Emerging Architect Special Mention / Red Bull Music Academy / © Miguel de Guzman

The Nave de Música Matadero Madrid (Red Bull Music Academy) was built in only two months to host a nomadic annual music festival in an early 20th-century industrial warehouse complex in Madrid. It responded to the technical and acoustic needs of the event, while promoting and enriching artistic encounters between the participating musicians.

Emerging Architect Special Mention / Red Bull Music Academy / © Luis Diaz Diaz

Antoni Vives, President of the Mies van der Rohe Foundation, said: “It has been an honour for the city of Barcelona and the Mies van der Rohe Foundation to grant this Prize with the European Commission for the last 25 years: a quarter of a century of the best European architecture. I would like to congratulate the winners of this 13th edition and I would like encourage architects to continue to play their role as catalysts for transforming cities.”

Emerging Architect Special Mention / Red Bull Music Academy / © Luis Diaz Diaz

The winners were chosen from 335 submitted works in 37 European countries. Five works were shortlisted for the main award. The other finalists were: Market Hall (Ghent, Belgium by Robbrecht en Daem architecten; Marie-José Van Hee architecten); Superkilen (Copenhagen, Denmark by BIG Bjarke Ingels Group; Topotek1; Superflex); Home for Elderly People (Alcácer do Sal, Portugal by Aires Mateus Arquitectos) and Metropol Parasol (Seville, Spain by J. Mayer H).

Finalist / Market Hall in Ghent / © Tim Van de Velde
Finalist / Superkilen / © Iwan Baan

The jury members who selected the finalists for 2013 are: Wiel Arets, Chair of the Jury, Principal, Wiel Arets Architects, Maastricht/Dean, College of Architecture, IIT, Chicago; Pedro Gadanho, Curator, Contemporary Architecture, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Antón García-Abril, Principal, Ensamble Studio; Louisa Hutton, Principal, Sauerbruch Hutton Architects, Berlin; Kent Martinussen, CEO, The Danske Arkitekter Center (DAC), Copenhagen; Frédéric Migayrou, Director, Architecture & Design, Centre Pompidou, Paris; Ewa Porebska, Editor-in-Chief, Architektura-murator, Warsaw; Giovanna Carnevali, Secretary of the Jury, Director, Fundació Mies van der Rohe, Barcelona.

Finalist / Alcácer do Sal Residences / © FG+SG
Finalist / Metropol Parasol / © Javier Orive

For more information, including videos from the Emerging Architect Special Mention, Finalists and Commissioner can be found here.

Cite: Jordana, Sebastian. "Harpa Concert Hall wins the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2013" 29 Apr 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 21 Oct 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=366147>