Three projects have been awarded the Houen Fund Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in Norway’s architecture and construction industry. First awarded in 1904, the prize is managed by the National Museum of Oslo with a jury appointed by the National Federation of Norwegian Architects.
“This year's winners are particularly deserving,” said jury president Kristin Jarmund. “Each of the winning achievements is exemplary as a high-end architectural production that establishes identity. However different they may be in terms of category and size, they also have a narrative dimension, characteristic of all truly successful architecture.”
Below, we have republished the three 2023 winners.
Lascaux IV: International Center for Wall Art in Montignac, France by Snøhetta
Jury citation: “With its paintings almost 20,000 years old, the Lascaux cave is known among archaeologists as the "prehistoric Sistine Chapel", one of the best-preserved artistic manifestations of that era. In creating the Lascaux facilities, the architects of Snøhetta highlighted a unique heritage, playing both on the landscape and the materials, whether above ground or underground.”
“The tour of the exterior and interior landscape is organized as an educational and mental journey through time and space. The very heart of the project is the exact reconstruction of the cave and the artworks in the basement, surrounded by a building with high architectural value, for an overall effect that is deeply moving."
Vannkunsten (The Art of Water), Oslo by Vandkunsten
Jury citation: “In 2012, the Vandkunsten architectural firm won the tender for two districts near the Opera, in the Bispevika Bay of Oslo. The completed project has the same name as the Danish company: Vannkunsten.”
“With a developed area of 35,000 m², the Vannkunsten district is divided into nine buildings, for a total of over 200 housing units. It represents a new approach in urban planning, with a city center entirely facing the sea. The neighborhoods that were supposed to emerge as part of the "fjord city" project have been replaced by an "urban coast", where compact buildings with a low environmental footprint and varying dimensions are oriented to create ever-changing spaces and viewpoints.”
Oslo City Hall by Arnstein Arneberg and Magnus Poulsson
“A significant time elapsed between the moment architects Arnstein Arneberg and Magnus Poulsson won the competition for the design of the town hall and its adjacent urban spaces in 1918, and the inauguration of the building, which took place in 1950. The project, of course, underwent significant evolution between these two dates. By 1950, the economic and cultural context had changed profoundly, following materially challenging periods and then a war.”
“The architects were inspired by various schools of thought and new stylistic requirements. Once completed, the City Hall stood out for its certain functionalism, evident in its finished geometric forms, while retaining the impulses from its lengthy completion period. The richness of the resulting design even incorporates themes from classicism and national romanticism.”
Further information on the awards can be found on the official website here.
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