The 2015 Nykredit Architecture Prize has been awarded to Gottlieb Paludan Architects (GPA) for their contribution to the design of public utility and industrial buildings. Founded by the Nykredit Foundation, the 500,000-DKK prize has become Scandinavia’s foremost architectural award, with past winners including Jørn Utzon, Bjarke Ingels and CEBRA.
GPA is known for a timeless and iconic style, attributing a sense of identity to buildings often overshadowed by flashier projects. With the type of projects the firm usually tackles, pedestrian interaction is less common and many of GPA’s buildings focus on their interaction with the landscape, communicating a dignity and reliability to the public.
“Reliable supplies of power, heating and water are basic amenities, but an efficient infrastructure and mobility are crucial too for modern life. Without these there can be no growth, development or welfare. These basic functions therefore deserve architectural identities that are worthy of their importance,” said Kristian Hagemann, CEO and Partner of GPA.
GPA's highlighted works include the Kastrup Peak-Load Plant, an emergency backup plant situated near the Copenhagen airport. Every day, thousands of airline passengers see the plant, which has the appearance of a soft, grassy hill with a slice removed at its westward face. A glass façade displays the inner workings of the plant, and at night produces a warm glow.
Other works include the Kastrup Substation, and the Odense Foot and Cycling Bridge. Recently, the firm has also been selected to design Copenhagen’s new biomass-fired CHP unit, called BIO4. The project will be open to tourists and Copenhageners, who are invited to explore and see sustainable energy production firsthand.
“In our busy and noisy society where everything is constantly changing, I believe that we need some pockets of calm and beauty. We want to create works that speak quietly and cohesively to you and which invite you to explore your own experience. At the same time, we want to recognize that public utilities constitute the foundation of our modern society and should therefore be duly celebrated," Partner and Creative Director, Jesper Gottlieb, said.