The European Commission and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe announced today that the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet, Oslo, Norway by Snøhetta is the winner of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2009.
The Jury also awarded the Emerging Architect Special Mention to STUDIO UP/ Lea Pelivan and Toma Plejić for Gymnasium 46° 09’ N / 16° 50’ E, Koprivnica, Croatia.
The 60,000 € Prize funded with support by the European Union, one of the most important and prestigious prizes for international architecture, is awarded biennially to built works completed within the previous two years.
By supporting the prize, the European Commission underlines the role of architecture as a driver for creativity and innovation, opens up culture to audiences beyond national borders and draws attention to the European professionals’ contribution in the development of new ideas and technologies that impact Europeans’ everyday life.
This landmark building by Snøhetta, who also designed the new Library of Alexandria (2002), is the largest cultural center built in Norway in 700 years. Its sloping stone roof - made up of 36,000 fitted pieces – rises up from the fjord; allowing members of the public, residents and opera goers alike, to walk over the building, developing a relationship with the public structure. Integral to the
1,000-room interior, which is largely lined with crafted woodwork (using the traditions of Norwegian boat builders), are a number of art commissions interwoven into the structural fabric, including a cloakroom, a collaboration with their 2007 Serpentine Pavilion collaborator Olafur Eliasson.
There will be a press visit to the winning building on May 7, 2009 and a special granting ceremony at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona on May 28, 2009.
A traveling exhibition and catalog featuring the works chosen by the Jury – the Prize Winner, Special Mention, the finalists and the shortlisted works – will be presented in September this year.
The European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, Ján Figel’ said: “Architecture is a highly visible showcase of creativity and innovation, and today’s prize winners show the benefits of investing in European architectural talent, in our creativity and innovation. This is all the more relevant this year, as stimulating new ideas and highlighting entrepreneurial efforts are key parts of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009”.
The Jury, chaired by Francis Rambert includes: Ole Bouman, Irena Fialová, Fulvio Irace, Luis M. Mansilla, Carme Pinós and Vasa J. Perović.
Francis Rambert, Chair of the Jury said: “The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo is more than just a building. It is first an urban space, a gift to the city. The building can be considered a catalyst of all the energies of the city and is emblematic of the regeneration of its urban tissue.”
Tarald Lundevall, project architect for Snøhetta said: “Snøhetta considers the Mies van der Rohe Award among the worlds most prestigious architectural acknowledgements. We are greatly honoured to receive this prize for the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet.”
The EU Culture Programme also funds the European Border Breakers Awards, the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards, which will be presented in Taormina (Sicily, Italy)
on 5 June 2009, and the forthcoming European Union Prize for Literature to be awarded in
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