Neue Galerie und Kasematten / Neue Bastei wins the International Piranesi Award 2019
ZAA Zamboni Associati Architettura, Atelier arhitekti, Bevk Perovic Arhitekti,
The 37th edition of the Piran Days of Architecture annual conference recently took place in Portorož, in the district of Piran in Slovenia. At the end of the conference and of the various meetings focused on architecture, respecting a convention that goes back to 1989, the International Piranesi Award 2019 was given out. The awards are named after the famous Italian engraver and artist Giovan Battista Piranesi, whose family came from the Slovenian town of Piran. The winner of the 31st edition of the award is the Neue Galerie und Kasematten project, designed by the Bevk Perović arhitekti studio in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. Honourable mention went to the Atelier arhitekti and ZAA Zamboni Associati Architettura architecture firms, respectively for the project of the main square in Novo Mesto (Slovenia) and for the recovery of the Cloisters of San Pietro in Reggio Emilia (Italy). A special section of the award, introduced in 2008, is reserved for students. The 2019 award recognised the graduation thesis written by Rok Staudacher, student at the University of Ljubljana and entitled Architecture of mind: Conceptual design of the University Psychiatric clinic Ljubljana”. Students from 17 European architecture schools participated in the award, from the cities of Graz, Spittal, Vienna, Banja Luka, Sarajevo, Split, Zagreb, Thessaloniki, Budapest, Pescara, Trieste, Bratislava, Ljubljana, Maribor, Belgrade, Novi Sad and the AA School of London.
The International Piranesi Award and the related honourable mentions are prizes reserved for projects completed only in specific countries in Southern and Eastern Europe: Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia, to which Serbia was added in 2018 and Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2019. The projects are selected by national specialists and submitted to the international jury, which in 2019 was led by Eva Mavsar, Špela Nardoni Kovač, Damjana Zaviršek Hudnik and Tatjana Sirk. The winning projects, together with a number of selected finalists are on display as part of an exhibition that will continue until January 5, 2020. The selection was based on some key criteria including being in harmony with the reference context, respecting the natural and cultural heritage, but with an innovative and contemporary character, adopting traditional architectural elements, but with great attention to innovative details, to colour, materials, textures and light. Features that are certainly apparent in the winning projects.
The Neue Galerie und Kasematten / Neue Bastei designed by the Bevk Perović arhitekti studio, for example, was recognised and appreciated by the jury precisely for its ability to integrate the new building with the existing one. A result that the architects obtained through a compositional scheme rooted in an attentive interweaving between the two buildings and a sophisticated scale ratio. An architecture that seems to intimate a contrast with the existing structure but which, upon closer inspection, finds its inspiration in the old building, as in the case of the brick vaults. For the two mentions of honour, the renewal project for the main square in Novo Mesto (Slovenia), designed by the Atelier arhitekti firm and the recovery of the monumental complex of the Cloisters of San Pietro in Reggio Emilia (Italy), designed by the ZAA Zamboni Associati Architettura firm, the recurring theme in the jury’s motivation is “simplicity”. In other words, the simplicity with which the two studios developed projects to, in the first case, give back to the city a shared space for public life and in the second case, to transform the private space of the monastery into a new public place.
Images courtesy of PDA, photo by David Schreyer (01-04), Boštjan Pucelj (05-07), Alessandra Chemollo (08-10)