The Wienerberger Brick Award provides architects from all over the world with an opportunity to show-case modern, innovative architecture with ceramic materials. It aims to inspire architects and people alike, to share design concepts and explore new ways of fulfilling built ideas. 2018 marks the eighth time that Wienerberger is presenting this internationally established award. Nearly 600 projects from 44 countries were submitted, this year with a particularly strong European focus.
“The projects submitted this year impressed the jury with innovative spirit and quality. They represent bold and creative architectural concepts for sustainable and forward-looking living spaces. However, always keeping in mind the most important point of reference in architecture – the individual. When creating new living space, the prime focus needs to be on human beings and their needs. We are proud that so many innovative urban projects meet current societal challenges by using natural ceramic building materials, to create an affordable, high-quality living environment,” commented Heimo Scheuch, CEO of Wienerberger AG, in describing the international projects.
Prizes were awarded in the following categories: Feeling at home, Living together, Working together, Sharing Public Spaces and Building outside the box. The last category is aimed at innovative concepts and ways of utilizing brick, new construction technologies or the usage of custom-made bricks and new ornamentation in the project.
The award is endowed with a total of € 34,000 in prize money in five categories, including Grand Prize and Special Prize winners. After the end of the submission phase an independent pre-jury narrowed down the projects to 50 nominations. From this shortlist a jury of five internationally renowned architects selected the winners.
This year, two projects were awarded the Grand Prize. One went to the Westkaai Towers 5 & 6 by Tony Fretton Architects, in collaboration with De Archtitecten NV. Situated in Belgium – the towers are part of a larger residential project within a new developed mixed-used quarter. Thanks to the brick work an overall monumental expression is combined with an individual façade. The project is also the category winner of “Living together”.
The second Grand Prize winner, Kunstmuseum Basel Extension by Christ & Gantenbein, Switzerland, fits well to the existing listed building. The solitary grey brick structure is connected through an underground hall with the main building. LED lights are integrated in the relief-like grooves made of moulded bricks in the façade – informing passers-by about current exhibitions. In addition, this project also came out as winner in the “Sharing public spaces” category.
In the category “Feeling at home” Atlas House by Monadnock, The Netherlands could convince the jury the most. A private living space organized on three floors on a small plot, it is a good answer to demonstrate how private quality housing can be built in small-scale. The brickworks both in- and outside are carefully detailed and perfectly fit to the house.
Terra Cotta Studio by Tropical Space is the working and living place of a famous ceramic artist in Vietnam. The category winner of “Working together” is a brick cube at the foot of a river, bamboo shelves protect the artwork for occasional flooding. The unusual perforation of the façade already attracts attention at first glance and allows the wind to blow through and cool the workspace naturally. The building combines working production and domesticity.
Category “Building outside the box” prize winner Värtan Bioenergy CHP Plant by U.D. Urban Design & Gottlieb Paludan Architects, is located in the city of Stockholm. It includes the world’s largest urban biofueled cogeneration plant and makes a significant contribution to the reduction of the city’s CO2 footprint. The over ground part of the plant has been clad in a curved façade of vertical ceramic elements.
This Special Prize winner, San Bernardo Chapel by Nicolás Campodonico Estudio is a small masterpiece. It is dedicated to the patron saint of a small community near where it was erected, in the Argentine Pampa. Neither running water nor electricity are available at the site itself. Only the light of the sun and nature determine the atmosphere. The sunlight, together with two wooden poles shade a Christian cross on the wall in the east once a day. It belongs to the category: Sharing public spaces.
The revitalization of Old Church of Vilanova de la Barca by AleaOlea architecture & landscape was awarded with the second Special Prize. Dating back to the 13th century, the church was destroyed during the Spanish Civil war. The renovation of it is an unusual approach to dealing with historical building fabric. This project shows the versatility and adaptability of brick and creates a unique dialog between the present and history. The project was listed in the category: Building outside the box.