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

24. December 2013 0 Comment



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 Fundació Mies van der Rohe 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 a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the prize.

“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 which also touch our emotions and bring people together. I would like to thank the Fundació Mies van der Rohe for their excellent collaboration in bringing the best contemporary European architecture to worldwide attention,” said Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.

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. Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen, of 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’s iconic and transparent porous quasi brick appears as an ever-changing play of coloured light, promoting a dialogue between the city 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.”

The Nave de Música Matadero (Red Bull Music Academy), which received the Emerging Architect Special Mention award, was built in only two months to host a music festival in an early 20th-century warehouse complex in Madrid. It met the technical needs of the event, while promoting and enriching artistic encounters between the musicians.

Antoni Vives, President of the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, 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 past 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.”


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