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The 2014 Wienerberger Brick Award Winners exemplify brick's potential in contemporary architecture, transforming the common brick into something spectacular. This year's jury featured 2012 Pritzer winner Wang Shu, who commented on the "spatial and secret" feeling of the Grand Prize Winning Kantana Film and Animation Institute. See all seven winners after the break.
Residential Use Winner
Jury Statement, Ewa Kuryłowicz, Poland
"What the architects did, and what was later constructed with significant input from the local society, is an implementation of the typical layout of the Chinese house from that area. It gathers renewable resources, such as by collecting water on the roof, making the roof very sculptural and multifunctional. The bricks are used in an innovative way and are double-layered. The first layer is an infill for insulation. These are the mud bricks which are made in situ with the use of a special machine. The other layer is for the exterior finish, made of bricks, which in this area of China are readily available. It is a very interesting and unique use of bricks, which doesn’t call for the use of any other insulation materials. It’s not only a very wise project, but also a graceful and beautiful one.“
Public Use Winner
LRO Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei GmbH & Co. KG - Ravensburg Art Museum
Jury Statement, Pavol Paňák, Slovakia
"The outstanding quality of this project lies in the certain timelessness of its appearance, of its architecture. It’s not strikingly fancy or modern architecture, it’s timeless. I think a very important role was played by its recycled brick from the demolition of a former monastery, so it’s reused brick. In the gallery we need a certain mass of the walls of the structure to keep the climate stable internally, and therefore it’s logical that the brick is used as a wrapping shell for the mass of the building. On the top floor of the exhibition spaces there is a very interesting warped structure made in a new way. The highest architectural quality is the double-meaning of its appearance; it’s new and old in the same moment."
Public Re-Use Winner
Jury Statement, Vera Yanovshtchinsky, The Netherlands
"It is an old factory and the architects made interventions with modern architecture. This project used brick the way we often use brick in the northern countries: as a far-developed, industrial, modular, perfect building product. The masonry, the way of building it, suits this building with the perfection of the material. The result, however, is not a traditional or common one. The result is unique, because what you get is a brick that makes a fabric almost with the quality of silk, where the color nuances are the most striking feature. It makes a harmonious combination, in terms of both space and material, between the old and the new. I find it a very beautiful way of creating harmony and tension at the same time; it combines what seem to be opposites into a new harmony. What really made a big impression on me about this building is the combination of intelligence and sensitivity. I have the feeling that they have reached the maximum result by using the material and the design in such a sophisticated way.“
Urban Infill Winner
Jury Statement, Pavol Paňák, Slovakia
"As the winning project of the ‚Urban Infill‘ category, we have chosen the conversion of a former slaughterhouse into a cooking school. In the sense of its spatial organisation and its materiality, the project is very much inspired by local tradition, but it deals with it in a very contemporary way. The way the ceramics are used on the roof of the school enriches the silhouette of the town in a traditional but non-sentimental way. Those are the outstanding qualities of this project. Unusually, it uses just one type of brick and one type of tile for all the vertical and sloping areas as well as the horizontal surfaces. This gives the building a sense of monomateriality. It looks very strong in its appearance, almost like a statue; quite interesting, very convincing."
Grand Prize And Special Solution Category Winner
Jury Statement, Wang Shu, China
"The Kantana Film and Animation Institute uses a spatial brick wall, and you recognise the relation it has to the traditional temples. The building blends in with the trees and the surrounding green landscape, which gives it a very spatial and ‘secret’ feeling. It’s a very good example of combining function with this beautiful feeling. The layering of the bricks, one on top of the other, is a very typical skill in the tradition of brick construction. In the case of this project, the brick is not just about decoration, it’s also about the whole structure of the construction, which I think is very important; very simple, but very beautiful. It’s the first project where I instantly thought, it’s good.
Special Prize Winner
"The granite Paasitorni “Fortress” dating from 1908 originally served as headquarters of the local trade union. Meanwhile, it has been established as a hotel and conference centre. A new wing now emphasises the characteristics of the different construction periods (1908, 1925, 1955, and 2012) and provides sufficient room and light. Ivory-coloured bricks were chosen for the facade, which use omissions to create conspicuous structure and light effects. Also new is the floor underneath the sea level, which is reserved for logistic and other services."
Special Prize WInner
Rusan Arhitektura - Lumenart – House of Light
"The office complex of the “Lumenart” Company has been conceived as a white building with an unusual crystal shape. The core, a brick and concrete cube, functions as a skeleton for the internal and external panelling. The choice fell, among other materials, on brick because the natural and compatible material was perfectly suited for the special design of the building. The three-dimensional façade creates shadow plays, which distinctly emphasise the different shapes of the complex. At night, the façade illumination stages the company’s technical and creative repertoire."