Harpa, the Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Iceland, is the winner of the 2013 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award, the European Commission and the Mies van der Rohe Foundation announced on the 29th April.
Harpa,designed by Henning Larsen Architects, Batteríið Architects and Studio Olafur Eliasson, the building has helped to transform and revitalise
Reykjavik harbour and brought the city and harbour district closer together. The 'Emerging Architect Special Mention' award goes to María Langarita and Víctor Navarro for the Nave de Música Matadero (Red Bull Music Academy) in Madrid, Spain.Harpa's crystalline structure was inspired by Icelandic landscapes and traditions. Its dramatic design captures and reflects the light of the city, ocean and sky to thrilling effect.
Wiel Arets, Chair of the Jury, said: "Harpa has captured the myth of a nation Iceland that has consciously acted in favour of a hybrid-cultural building during the middle of the ongoing Great Recession. The iconic and transparent porous 'quasi brick' appears as an ever-changing play of coloured light, promoting a dialogue between the city of Reykjavik and the building's interior life. By giving an identity to a society long known for its sagas,
through an interdisciplinary collaboration between Henning Larsen Architects and artist Olafur Eliasson, this project is an important message to the world and to the Icelandic people, fulfilling their long expected dream."
The Nave de Música Matadero Madrid (Red Bull Music Academy) was built in only two months to host a nomadic annual music festival in an early 20th-century industrial warehouse complex in Madrid. It responded to the technical and acoustic needs of the event, while promoting and enriching artistic encounters between the participating musicians.
The winners were chosen from 335 submitted works in 37 European countries. Five works were shortlisted for the main award. The other finalists were: Market Hall (Ghent, Belgium by Robbrecht en Daem architecten; Marie-José Van Hee architecten); Superkilen (Copenhagen, Denmark by BIG Bjarke Ingels Group; Topotek1; Superflex); Home for Elderly People (Alcácer do Sal, Portugal by Aires Mateus Arquitectos) and Metropol Parasol (Seville, Spain by J. Mayer H).
Launched in 1987 and co-funded by the EU Culture Programme and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, the prize is the most prestigious in European architecture. It is awarded every other year to works completed within the previous two years. The winner receives 60.000,-