Five Finalists for 2019 EU Mies Award

John Hill
13. February 2019
Image courtesy of European Commission and Fundació Mies van der Rohe

The European Commission and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe have announced the five works in the running for the 2019 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award.

The winner will be announced at the end of April after the jury (Dorte Mandrup, George Arbid, Angelika Fitz, Ștefan Ghenciulescu, Kamiel Klaasse, María Langarita and Frank McDonald) visits each of the five finalists. They determined the final list from the 40 shortlisted works that were culled from the 383 nominated works in this edition of the biennial prize.

The finalists, listed and illustrated below, are found in five countries (Albania, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain) and encompass five diverse programs: collective housing, culture, health, mixed-use commercial, and public space. Most winners of the EU Mies Award, established in 1988, have been cultural. But the 2017 prize went to a Dutch housing project that was also a renovation (DeFlat Kleiburg), signaling a trend toward a diversity of functions and approaches beyond new museums and the like.

Linking the five 2019 finalists is the jury's contention that the works "tackle undetermined programs which allow people to find different ways of using spaces and transform them into different places." 

Descriptions by the architects are found below, with links to the EU Mies Award page where more images and information on the finalists are available.

PC CARITAS in Melle, Belgium, by architecten de vylder vinck taillieu (Photo: Filip Dujardin)

PC CARITAS in Melle, Belgium, by architecten de vylder vinck taillieu

What if a built environment that has lost its meaning and purpose and what if that building is not to be refurbished towards another program or functionality and so by that is expected to be demolished...what if the building is just kept and prepared to become an experimental space to re-discover and -explore and -define possible other ways of life[?]

Plasencia Auditorium and Congress Centre in Plasencia, Spain, by selgascano (Photo: Iwan Baan)

Plasencia Auditorium and Congress Centre in Plasencia, Spain, by selgascano

We plotted to make this building set the stage for a different method and preserve an island of natural earth in the future expansion zone, even if it meant being a small puddle in the sea, as a possible reagent for the rest of the constructions to come, which will find themselves insinuated and become beached similarly in this whiffed sea: the Extremadura countryside used as an equivalent for the ocean.

Skanderbeg Square in Tirana, Albania, by 51N4E; Anri Sala; Plant en Houtgoed and iRI (Photo: Filip Dujardin)

Skanderbeg Square in Tirana, Albania, by 51N4E; Anri Sala; Plant en Houtgoed and iRI

The square’s green belt was treated as the beginning of an urban forest, the starting point of a reflection on the whole city as an urban ecosystem. The square was approached as part of a metabolism, contributing to the improvement of its environment and conscious of the various connections with its immediate as well as more remote surroundings.

Terracehouse Berlin in Berlin, Germany, by Brandlhuber+ Emde, Burlon and Muck Petzet Architekten (Photo: Erica Overmeer, David von Becker)

Terracehouse Berlin in Berlin, Germany, by Brandlhuber+ Emde, Burlon and Muck Petzet Architekten

The building’s envelope is built out roughly in concrete and plywood, only including central cores with elevators and bathrooms. All other additions, such as spatial separations, are made by the users themselves according to their needs. Although today the project meets the legal standards of a commercial building, it is aimed at overcoming the separation between living and working, commercial and residential, questioning existing norms.

Transformation of 530 dwellings - Grand Parc Bordeaux in Bordeaux, France, by Lacaton & Vassal architectes; Frédéric Druot Architecture and Christophe Hutin Architecture (Photo: Philippe Ruault)

Transformation of 530 dwellings - Grand Parc Bordeaux in Bordeaux, France, by Lacaton & Vassal architectes; Frédéric Druot Architecture and Christophe Hutin Architecture

The project consists in the transformation of 3 social housing’s buildings of 530 dwellings. Built in the early 60's, they needed a renovation after their demolition has been ruled out. The transformation of the dwellings full occupied, starts from the interior, through the addition of extended winter gardens and balconies, to give to every dwelling new qualities: more space, more light, more view, and upgrade the facilities.

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