Maxwan wins first prize in the competition for a new cultural centre and park in the city of Ostrava, Czech Republic. Ostrava is bidding to become the 2015 Cultural Capital of Europe. Every year the European Capital of Culture is designated to act as catalyst for the cultural development and the transformation of the chosen city.
The focus of the competition was not merely on the buildings, but to create an identity for the area as a whole, while linking the city centre to the river. The proposal included designs for a Concert Hall, Exhibition hall (Kunsthalle), Centre for Modern Music, School (preschool, primary and secondary), Creative incubator combined with a school of arts management, and residential buildings.
According to the director of the Ostrava 2015 project, Čestmír Kopecký, "For me personally, it is a great satisfaction. One of the fundamental principles of the candidacy project is realistic idealism. And this design is something so beautiful that if it is implemented it will give our work great meaning."
Jury chairman Josef Pleskot stated, the winning design is noteworthy for its architectural and urban design treatment of the space, which does not emphasize the individual buildings but the overall space. "This design impressed an overwhelming majority of the jury, because it radiates an undeniable allure. It is a terribly interesting conception of a specific and original urban space…This design managed to put its finger on its essence on this forgotten space which lies between the city and nature. It managed to connect nature to the city, and the city to nature".
There were a total of 70 architecture studios registered for the competition. Among the competing international participants were Foreign Office Architects (Great Britain), NL Architects (the Netherlands) and Lacaton & Vassal Architects (France).