The Mies van der Rohe Award, a prize for contemporary architecture presented by the European Union every two years, was won by residential projects in both categories for the first time in 2017. While awaiting the 2019 edition of the award, an exhibition opening on August 23 at the Architeckturzentrum in Vienna focuses on the finalists and winners in the 2017 competition.

Europe’s best buildings on show in Vienna

After Barcelona, Brussels, Heerlen and Warsaw, the travelling exhibition of works selected for the Mies van der Rohe Award 2017, a biennial award for contemporary architecture presented by the European Union, comes to Vienna. Starting on August 23 visitors to the Architekturzentrum Wien will be able to explore 40 projects considered the best of European contemporary architecture through videos, images and models.
Along with a selection of the 40 participants in the last edition of the prize, the exhibition features the work of the finalists: the Kannikegården by Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects, Ely Court by Alison Brooks Architects, Rivesaltes Memorial Museum by Rudy Ricciotti and Katyn Museum by BBGK Architekci, as well, of course, as the prize-winners in both categories: the DeFlat Kleiburg in Amsterdam by NL architects and XVW Architectuur, winner of the Mies van der Rohe Award 2017, and the Navez social housing project by MSA / V + in Brussels, winner of the Emerging Architect Award. The exhibition also presents all 18 of the Austrian projects that competed for the European award and is accompanied by a complete catalogue including all entries.
Another interesting new development in the field of travel and holidays is a free app called Eumiesaward which allows travellers in Europe to get directions on how to reach all the architectural projects that competed in the 2017 contest and all works nominated for the award in Austria, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Malta, Luxemburg, Cyprus, Slovakia and Albania since 1988.

For the first time in the history of the award, the 2017 winners in both categories were residential projects, two works that might be called pioneers in their field.
The winner of the main prize, the renovation of the deFlat Kleiburg housing development in Amsterdam by NL Architects and XVW architectuur, focuses on a theme of great interest and relevance in Austria too, as Az. W. director Angelika Fitz emphasises; a participatory design programme in the Dutch project permitted residents to become involved in the process of renewal and redevelopment of a housing complex built starting in the '60s. Austria is experiencing a growing need for rapid social, functional and technical renewal of important housing complexes designed by modern architects after the Second World War.
Another important point worth noting, according to the director of Az W, is that this focus on social housing must be based on conversion and reclamation of existing buildings rather than on new constructions. It is therefore a clear sign of architecture oriented toward fair construction and responsible, economical use of resources.

(Agnese Bifulco)

Mies van der Rohe Award 2017

Prize Winner
NL DeFlat Kleiburg, Amsterdam, NL Architects / XVW architectuur

BE NAVEZ — 5 social units at northern entrance to Brussels, Schaarbeek, MSA / V+

DK Kannikegården, Ribe, Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects
UK Ely Court, London, Alison Brooks Architects
FR The Rivesaltes Memorial Museum, Rivesaltes, Rudy Ricciotti
PL Katyn Museum, Warsaw, BBGK Architekci; Jerzy Kalina; Maksa

Dates: 23 August / 22 October 2018
Location: Exhibition Hall 2, Architekturzentrum Wien
Images courtesy of Architekturzentrum Wien, photos by: Kevin Dolmaire, M. Hedelin, Paul Riddle, Juliusz Sokolowski, Anders Sune Berg, Serge Brison, Stijn Spoelstra, Marcel van der Burg.