Eclectic Dutch firm Mecanoo wins European Prize for Architecture
Netherlands-based firm Mecanoo has been declared the winner of this year's European Prize for Architecture. Now in its 11th year, the award celebrates the achievements of the finest European architects.
The annual European Prize for Architecture was established by the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design. Previous winners read like a who's who of European architectural talent and include BIG, Santiago Calatrava, and Graft Architects.
"As one of Europe's most creative and cutting-edge offices, Mecanoo has shaped unique solutions for each varying situation, in which the disciplines of architecture, urban planning, landscape and interior combine in a non-traditional way," says Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, Museum President, The Chicago Athenaeum. "Over the years, they have learned that functions inevitably change, requiring an amazing amount of creative flexibility and acute aesthetic dexterity in order to create buildings that are prepared for (un)predictable change."
We've selected a few of our favorite projects by the firm below that highlight the sheer variety of its output, from public library to plush private home.
The Netherlands' LocHal Public Library, which was created in collaboration with Civic Architects, Arup, and more, won Mecanoo the prestigious World Building of the Year prize in 2019 for its repurposing of an old railway storage shed into a community library. Rather than hide its past, the superb project embraces it, incorporating old train tracks and even a disused train chassis to lend it a unique feel.
While perhaps not the most privacy focused home around, the open design of the Glass Villa on the lake in the UK does have its benefits: it was designed to give residents the impression of floating on the water and ensures the interior is filled with natural light. It's relatively energy efficient too, and includes a heat pump, heat recovery systems and triple glazed glass, as well as solar panels, which reduce its draw on the grid.
The National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts in Taiwan is a huge arts center that references the local landscape with its undulating roof. Built on former military land, the facility sits alongside subtropical parklands and is inspired by Banyan trees, a species typical in the area. The building's cavernous interior is host to multiple performance spaces.
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