Winners of the AHI European Award Announced
The sixth edition of the European Award AHI (Architectural Heritage Intervention) recognises interventions carried out with sustainability and inclusivity criteria in social housing and urban cultural facilities.
The international jury of the European Award AHI has given the award in the Built Heritage category to the refurbishment of Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie, one of the most important examples of the modern movement. The project was carried out by the architectural practice of David Chipperfield, the latest winner of the Pritzker. The winning entry in the Exterior Spaces category is the ecological restoration of the garden of El Tanque Cultural Space in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, housed in the tank of an old oil refinery, a project undertaken by the architect Fernando Menis. In the Urban Planning category, the award has gone to the project for the regeneration of the Gràcia neighbourhoods in Barcelona, by the Jornet Llop Pastor Arquitectes office, together with the Urban Planning Department of Barcelona City Council. Finally, in the Disclosure category, the winning entry is the film “La vie en kit”, by the Belgian architect and filmmaker Elodie Degavre.
This year, the European Award AHI has also included two Special Mentions, chosen from all the submitted projects: one for Restoration, which has been awarded to the restoration project of the Gruuthusemuseum in Bruges, Belgium, a project carried out by the B-juxta architecten office; and a newly created one, the New European Bauhaus, which the jury has awarded to two projects: that of 34 emergency social housing units located in Sant Feliu de Llobregat, undertaken by the MIM-A office (Mariona Benedito and Martí Sanz), and the Master Plan for the Integrated Restoration of the Neighbourhood of Las Flores in A Coruña, a project of the Territoris XLM and BCQ arquitectura office.
The Award is a biennial event organised by the Barcelona-based platform AHI (Architectural Heritage Intervention) and the Architects’ Association of Catalonia, with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Catalonia, Barcelona City Council and the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona. In its sixth edition, a total of 241 projects have been submitted by architectural firms from 28 European countries, the highest figure reached to date.
Celebrating 12 years of existence, the Award continues to grow in importance and recognition in Europe, as evidenced by the fact that 55% of the projects have been submitted by first-time entrants. It has thus cemented its status as the leading European award for architectural restoration, together with the Europa Nostra Awards.
Award in the Built Heritage Category
The international jury in the Built Heritage category, made up of the architects Dikkie Scipio, Susana Valbuena and Kimmo Lintula, has given the award to the project for the restoration of Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie, by the British firm David Chipperfield Architects. This building, inaugurated in 1968, is a shining example of the modern movement and was designed by the architect Mies van der Rohe for the purpose of housing the 20th century art collection of the city of Berlin.
The jury considers that the intervention returns the building to its original state, in such a way that “it is almost as if nothing has happened in order for everything to happen. It is a meticulous intervention down to the very last technical detail, resulting in a powerful architectural statement. It represents architecture, heritage and intervention at their finest.”
Award in the Exterior Spaces Category
The winning entry in the Exterior Spaces category, chosen by an international jury made up of the architects Chris Rankin, Pasqual Herrero and Maria Viñé, is the ecological restoration of the garden of El Tanque Cultural Space, in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, by the architect Fernando Menis. El Tanque is set in a post-industrial area that has been a listed heritage site since 2014. The ecological restoration of its garden has provided the Cabo Llanos neighbourhood in Santa Cruz de Tenerife with its first green public space.
The jury considers that the project “works with ecology and heritage to offer a creative, cultural and socially inclusive public space. The project demonstrates sensitivity at all scales, including in the reuse of industrial waste for the design of furniture and lighting.”. The garden of El Tanque “is a very complete project in terms of sustainability, social benefits and respect for local identity and landscape design.”
Award in the Urban Planning Category
In the Urban Planning category, the international jury made up of the architects Sara Bartumeus, Maria Chiara Tosi and Carlo Atzeni has given the Award to the project for the regeneration of the Gràcia neighbourhoods of Barcelona, undertaken by the Jornet Llop Pastor Arquitectes office in conjunction with the Department of Urban Planning of Barcelona City Council.
The jury praised the winning project for its “innovative proposal for addressing the challenges of contemporaneity, climate change and social inclusivity through affordable housing within the historical context of its location. The project transfers the principles of the conservation of built heritage to urban structure, to the ordinary urban landscape, and proposes an urban planning regulation that incorporates the environmental dimension.” The involvement of the private sector in the environmental restoration project has also been highlighted.
Award in the Dissemination Category
Finally, the winning entry chosen by the international jury in the Dissemination category, made up of the architects Devi Kituashvili, Nicola Regusci and Verena von Beckerath, is the documentary “La vie en kit, une aventure architecturale”, by the Belgian architect and filmmaker Elodie Degavre. The film tells the story of how four architects in the 1970s thought about the houses of the future, creating eclectic projects in the cities of Brussels, Charleroi and Liège, with the aim of putting dwellers and their needs at the centre of the construction process. The film was co-produced by Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF).
The jury commended the project for “the unique nature of its subject matter, which allows us to discover the little-known story of a group of architects who adopted a utopian and idealistic approach, and whose way of understanding architecture has gained relevance today.” The jury also highlighted the variety of shots and angles used in the documentary, “successfully transmitting the compactness and functionality of the architecture it shows.”
New European Bauhaus Special Mention for Two Spanish Projects
Turning to the New European Bauhaus (NEB) Special Mention, the jury made up of the directors of the Award – the architects Ramon Calonge, Oriol Cusidó, Marc Manzano and Jordi Portal – together with the MEP Marcos Ros has awarded this Special Mention to the project for theconversion of an office building in Sant Feliu de Llobregat into an emergency social housing unit of 34 dwellings, carried out by the MIM-A office (of the architects Mariona Benedito and Martí Sanz).
The jury lauded the conversion for “perfectly combining and reflecting all the values of the New European Bauhaus: sustainability, thanks to the improvement and optimisation of the envelopes to achieve better energy efficiency and natural lighting; beauty, through the improvement of the built surface; and inclusivity, inherent to emergency housing, in this case achieving living spaces of the highest quality with a great economy of means.” The conversion project “is an excellent response – elegantly and efficiently resolved – to the current social demand.”
The other winning entry of this Special Mention is the Master Plan for the Integrated Restoration of the Neighbourhood of Las Flores in A Coruña, by the architectural firm Territoris XLM and BCQ Arquitectura. The jury has considered this project “an inspiration, whose most valuable aspect is the integrated and social nature of the proposal, which addresses a widespread problem throughout Europe by proposing innovative solutions that favour a sector of the population – the elderly – deserving of special attention.”
The winning entries of this Special Mention and of the Restoration Special Mention have been chosen from the 241 projects submitted this year to the Award.
Restoration Special Mention
The jury of the Restoration Special Mention, made up of the directors of the Award – the architects Ramon Calonge, Oriol Cusidó, Marc Manzano and Jordi Portal – together with the architect Pedro Rodríguez Cantalapiedra, has awarded this Special Mention to the restoration project of the Gruuthusemuseum in Bruges, Belgium, a project carried out by the B-juxta architecten office.
The jury has highlighted three key aspects of this project that make it unique: “its methodology, encompassing every aspect from the analysis of historical documentation to the detail of finishes and final materials; the construction and decorative techniques employed following the original lines, in relation to the volume of the work; and, last but not least, the sincere and clear approach to the project, maintaining the previous elements and colours, contributing to its permanence and conservation.”
Finalist Projects and Teams of the Sixth Edition
Built Heritage Category
- Wintercircus Mahy, Ghent, Belgium. Atelier Kempe Thill, aNNo architects, Baro Architecture and SUM Project
- Bijloke Concert Hall, Ghent, Belgium. DRDH Architects and Julian Harrap Architects
- City Hall of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium. HUB - Origin - Bureau Bouwtechniek offices
- Unió de Cooperadors, Gavà, Spain. Meritxell Inaraja
Exterior Spaces Category
- Last chance for a slow dance, Larrabetzu, Spain. Behark
- Gasworks Area, Stockholm, Sweden. Sweco
- Rec Comtal (irrigation canal) in Vallbona, Barcelona, Spain. Carles Enrich Studio
- “Viewpoint Aljibes” Space, Álora, Spain. WaterScales arquitectos
Urban Planning Category
- Ecodistrict laMercedes, Barcelona, Spain. Batlleiroig
- Master Plan for the Integrated Restoration of the Neighbourhood of Las Flores in A Coruña, Spain. Territoris XLM and BCQ Arquitectura office
- De Meelfabriek - Renovated Factory Masterplan, Leiden, The Netherlands. Studio Akkerhuis Architects
- KANAL: THINKING / #1, Brussels, Belgium. Atelier Kanal. Publishers: Stephen Bates, An Fonteyne.
- El Tanque Cultural Space. History of a Citizen’s Battle for Art. Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain. Cultural Association of Friends of El Tanque Cultural Space.
- Documentary: The secrets of the Abastos Market in Santiago de Compostela. Spain. Ruth Varela.
- The Scandinavia Project. Aarhus, Denmark. Andriette Ahrenkiel, Sara López Arraiza, Nacho Ruiz Allén.
Invited by the Department of Interior Design at Istanbul Bilgi University, Prof. Graeme Brooker, Head of Interior Design at the Royal College of Art, London was in Istanbul for workshop and public talk. Looking at Radical Heritages, the workshop focused on a Han in Eminönü, while the public talk at SALT Galata presented a broader overview and positioning for the future of interior design. Can Altay, Head of Interior Design at Istanbul Bilgi University, who hosted Brooker in Istanbul has interviewed him on how interior design, as a spatial discipline deals with the existing spaces, and its role in the future of the built environment (or the world as we know it).