Barozzi / Veiga’s Philharmonic Hall Szczecin in Szczecin, Poland has been selected as the winner of the 2015 EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture-Mies van der Rohe Award. The design was influenced by the surrounding context and buildings, specifically by the “verticality of the city’s residential buildings, by the monumentality of the upright ornaments of its neo-Gothic churches and the heavy volumes of its Classicist buildings, by the towers that dot its entire skyline and the cranes of its port,” according to the architects. The Philharmonic Hall features large skylights and is clad with glass on the outside, providing a contrast to the surrounding buildings.
The Philharmonic Hall Szczecin was selected over four other finalist projects: Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei’s Ravensburg Art Museum; BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group’s Danish Maritime Museum; Archea Associati’s Antinori Winery; and O’Donnell + Tuomey’s Saw Swee Hock Student Centre. The five finalists presented their projects to the jury on May 7, and the official award ceremony was held this morning in Barcelona at Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion.
Below is the jury's statement regarding the Philharmonic Hall:
"The winning project, the Philharmonic Hall Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland, Barozzi/Veiga (Studio A4 collaborator) is the winning entry of an international open competition for the design of a new complex on the site of the old one. Public expectations charged the program not only with a number of integrated functions – a large hall for symphonic music and a smaller one for chamber music, a grand foyer with upper level exposition spaces – but also with a new symbolic role. The series of pitched gables which crowns the rectangular complex of the new building dialogues well with the silhouette of the nearby Castle. The main symphony hall one is clad by triangular wooden acoustic panels gilded with gold leaf. A large hall with the cafeteria and two grand open stairs take the role of a new covered square in the cold seasons, while multi-functional rooms wrap around the concert halls, offering new chances for cultural and leisure events.
This winning project finds a convincing formal and spatial strategy for a city which strives for a better future in a fast changing economy and social patterns, delivering a dignity to urban life and the same time enhancing the city’s specific historical identity with a contemporary “monument”."
An Emerging Architect Prize was also awarded to Catalan-studio Arquitectura-G for their single-family home “Luz House.” Read what the jury had to say about Arquitectura-G's Luz House in their statement below:
"The jury felt that the designers understood well and solved brilliantly the constructive and economic constraints of the project, a new structure inserted in the stone party walls of an existing town house. A direct dialogue with the client and the clear strategy to build the program around a new courtyard allowed the simple yet effective construction of this single house. The architects used the existing stone façades and adobe party walls to achieve very high spatial qualities with very cheap construction materials.
The Jury appreciated the simplicity and clarity of the spaces, their high environmental quality and the colour palette resulting from the terracotta tiles left unfinished, showing that a good architecture does not need to be expensive or spectacular."
Established in 1987 by the European Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe – Barcelona, the 60.000€ Mies Van der Rohe award is one of the most prestigious and important awards for European architecture. The prize is awarded biennially to works that have been completed in the past two years and “sets out to foster architecture in two significant ways: by stimulating greater circulation of professional architects throughout the entire European Union in response to transnational commissions and by supporting young architects as they set off on their careers.” The Fundació also publishes a catalogue for each edition of the award, featuring the selected entries and essays from jury members.
Previous winners have included the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavik, designed by the Danish architectural firm Henning Larsen in collaboration with the Icelandic practice Batteríið and the artist Olafur Elíasson, and the Neues Museum in Berlin, designed by David Chipperfield Architects and Julian Harrap.
For in-depth coverage on the award and many of the nominated projects visit our European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture / Mies van der Rohe Award page.