Grafton Architects' Town House at Kingston University wins the 2022 EU Mies van der Rohe Award
By Alexander Walter|
Tuesday, Apr 26, 2022
Following the recent announcements of 40 shortlisted and seven finalist projects, the jury of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture — Mies van der Rohe Award today revealed the final victors of the two 2022 trophies: Town House, the new Grafton Architects-designed academic and arts space at Kingston University, London, was selected as the grand winner of the Architecture Prize, while the Emerging Architecture Prize went to the La Borda cooperative housing project by Lacol in Barcelona.
"It is particularly encouraging to see the
contribution of contemporary architecture to improving the well-being of citizens in
Europe like we are also doing with the New European Bauhaus," said Mariya Gabriel, European Union Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.
For Dublin-based Grafton Architects, winners of the 2020 Pritzker Prize, this is the latest in a wave of recognitions for Town House after winning last year's Stirling Prize for the best new building in the UK as well as picking up a RIBA London Award and RIBA London Client of the Year in 2021.
Per the jury's report: "The client is Kingston University, and it is rewarded for its remarkable environmental quality that creates an excellent atmosphere for studying, dancing, gathering and being together. The building creates an emotional experience from within and through the multi-level façade colonnade that creates a domestic atmosphere on different levels. It accommodates dance, library and study spaces using layers of silence and layers of sound which work perfectly well together. This is the first time that a university building wins the architecture prize, and it shows that there is a need for public educational projects with the quality of this one, which dignifies people’s lives through education and being together and gives the same educational possibilities to everybody."
This is the last prize edition that a building from the UK, like Town House, was eligible to participate following the country's split from the European Union.
About the winner of the Emerging Architecture Prize, Lacol's La Borda cooperative housing, the jurors had this to say: "This cooperative project is transgressive in its context because although housing production is mainly dominated by macroeconomic interests, in this case, the model is based on co-ownership and co-management of shared resources and capacities."
"The model goes beyond the specific project of cooperative housing: the studio is also run as a cooperative where fourteen professionals with different expertise offer a role model and an active tool for promoting political and urban change from within the system, based on social, ecological and economic sustainability."
The 2022 jury of the €60,000 ($64,000) biennial prize was comprised of Tatiana Bilbao, Francesca Ferguson, Mia Hägg, Triin Ojari, Georg Pendl, Spiros Pengas, and Marcel Smets.
An official awards ceremony will take place on May 12 at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona in the context of Model. Barcelona Architectures Festival.
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