Zaha Hadid’s car park and terminus in Strasbourg, France wins the Mies van der Rohe award

This years European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture-Mies van der Rohe Award is granted to Zaha Hadid's design for a car park and terminus in Strasbourg. Jürgen Mayer H. recieved the Emerging Architect Special Mention for his Scharnhauser park town hall in Ostfildern (Germany). Where he transformed a town hall into multifunctional public building providing space for anything from offices to sports facilities to a special room for weddings.

The biennial prize for European architecture – granted by the European Union and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe –  calls attention to the important contribution of European professionals in the development of new architectural concepts and technologies and is a means by which citizens as well as public institutions can come to a better understanding of the cultural role of architecture in the construction of cities and communities.

Hadid's project is a part of a new tramline service the city of Strasbourg has been developing to combat increasing congestion and pollution in the city centre and includes a tram station and a car park at the northern apex of the line. The overall concept towards the planning of the car park and the station is one of overlapping fields and lines that knit together to form a constantly shifting whole. These 'fields' are the patterns of movement engendered by cars, trams, bicycles and pedestrians. Each has a trajectory and a trace, as well as a static fixture. This sense of three-dimensional vectors is enhanced in the treatment of space in the station: the play of lines continues as light lines in the floor, or furniture pieces or strip-lights in the ceiling. Viewed in plan, all the 'lines' coalesce to create a synchronous whole.

The car park is divided into two parts to cater for 700 cars. The notion of the cars as being ephemeral and constantly changing on-site elements is manifest as a 'magnetic field' of white lines on the black tarmac. These delineate each parking space and start off aligned north/south at the lowest end of the site, then gently rotate according to the curvature of the site boundaries.

As an ensemble, the tram station and the car park create a synthesis between floor, light and space. By articulating the moments of transition between open landscape space and public interior space, it is hoped to create a new notion of 'artificial nature', one that blurs the boundaries between the natural and artificial environments to contribute to improving civic life in Strasbourg.