Starting with 40 shortlisted projects to five competitive finalists, DeFlatKleiburg in Amsterdam by NL Architects and XVW architectuur won the 2017 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award, one of Europe's most prestigious architecture accolades. The awards ceremony will take place at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona on May 26.
Completed in 2016, DeFlatKleiburg is the first renovation project of an existing building to receive the main prize, instead of a completely new construction. The colossal historic housing megablock is 11 stories tall and 400 meters long, and comprises 500 customizable apartments. NL Architects was awarded the 2005 Emerging Architect Prize in 2005 for BasketBar in Utrecht.
Read on for more about the project (and check out a video below!)
First built in the 1960s as part of city planner Siegfried Nassuth's masterplan, the Kleiburg eventually became dilapidated and was at risk for demolition. Protests in recent years prompted a competition seeking the most economically feasible solution to save the structure.
Dutch firms NL Architects and XVW architectuur won the competition with their proposal to renovate the existing building into a “Klusflat”, a DIY concept that lets residents customize the apartments by themselves. The architects focused on renovating the main-structure elevators, galleries, and installations, while leaving the apartments unfinished and unfurnished.
The renovation offers flexibility in internal planning, and creates a new edge to the street and the landscape. At €1,200 per square meter, the project proposes new forms of affordable housing, including fully subsidized renting, shared ownership, and rent-purchase schemes.
When the award jury visited the project, they cited the project as “‘both heroic and ordinary at the same time’”.
“It challenges current solutions to the housing crisis in European cities, where too often the only ambition is to build more homes year-on-year, while the more profound question of what type of housing should be built goes unanswered,” the jury chairman described. “Kleiburg helps us imagine a new kind of architectural project, which responds to changing household patterns and lifestyles in the twenty-first century. A revitalisation of typologies of the past is as relevant as experimenting with new, untested models in this quest, just as radically transforming existing buildings is.”
Name of work: DeFlat Kleiburg, Amsterdam, NL
Offices: NL Architects and XVW architectuur, Amsterdam
Authors: Pieter Bannenberg (NL); Walter van Dijk (NL); Kamiel Klaasse (NL); Xander Vermeulen Windsant (NL)
Images courtesy of 2017 EU Mies van der Rohe Award.
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