The Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Iceland has won this year’s European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - the Mies van der Rohe Award
The Henning Larsen Architects, Batteríið Architects and Studio Olafur Eliasson-designed Harpa building was picked from a shortlist which included no UK entries.
Finalists vying for the prestigious £50,000 award were: Ghent Market Hall by Robbrecht en Daem architecten and Marie-José Van Hee architecten; Superkilen, Copenhagen by Bjarke Ingels Group, Topotek1 and Superflex; Home for Elderly People, Alcácer do Sal by Aires Mateus Arquitectos; and Metropol Parasol, Seville by J Mayer H.
Jury chair Wiel Arets praised Harpa said: ‘Harpa’s iconic and transparent porous quasi brick appears as an ever-changing play of coloured light, promoting a dialogue between the city 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 jury included Frédéric Migaryou who is head of the Bartlett School of Architecture and architecture and design director of the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen, of Henning Larsen Architects, said: ‘On behalf of the team I would like to thank the European Commission and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe for this award. We are immensely honoured. Harpa is the result of collaborative process that has involved many people and with their efforts, strong commitment and drive Harpa has become a symbol of Iceland’s renewed dynamism.’
Previous UK winners have been Norman Foster (1990), Nicholas Grimshaw (1994), Zaha Hadid for her Hoenheim-Nord Terminus and Car Park (2003) and David Chipperfield for his Neues Museum (2011).
The biennial award was set up in 1987 as a partnership between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe.