An innovative revamp of a run-down 400m-long apartment megablock in Amsterdam, led by NL Architects and XVW architectuur, has won this year’s Mies van der Rohe Award
The ‘heroic yet ordinary’ Kleiburg project was chosen for the the highest accolade in European architecture – officially the biennial European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – ahead of four other shortlisted schemes.
The only UK-based finalist firm in the running for the €60,000 (£51,000) top prize was Alison Brooks Architects, with its RIBA Award-winning Ely Court development in north-west London.
The Dutch architects oversaw the radical overhaul of the main structural elements and communal areas of the demolition-threatened 500-flat slab in the Bijlmermeer district, as well as setting up a system with client KondorWessels Vastgoed allowing residents to fit out their own flats.
The jury chairman said: ‘[The winning scheme] challenges current solutions to the housing crisis in European cities, where too often the only ambition is to build more homes year-on-year, while the more profound question of what type of housing should be built goes unanswered. Kleiburg helps us imagine a new kind of architectural project, which responds to changing household patterns and lifestyles in the 21st Century.
‘A revitalisation of typologies of the past is as relevant as experimenting with new, untested models in this quest, just as radically transforming existing buildings is.’
deFlat Kleiburg in Amesterdam, the Netherlands, by NL Architects and XVW architectuur - plan
In December it was revealed that 19 schemes from the UK had made it onto a 356-strong longlist for the prestigious European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture. They included FAT’s A House for Essex; MUMA’s Whitworth Gallery in Manchester; Caruso St John’s Newport Street Gallery in London; DRDH’s Stormen concert hall and library in Bodø in Norway, and AL_A’s MAAT cultural centre in Lisbon.
Founded in 1987, the biennial award recognises architectural excellence and promotes the role of European architects in developing new technologies and ideas. Previous winners have included David Chipperfield’s Neues Museum in Berlin (2011), Stansted Airport by Norman Foster (1990) and Waterloo International railway station by Nicholas Grimshaw (1994).
The winners will be presented with their prize on 26 May at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, Barcelona.
Winner and finalists
- DeFlat Kleiburg in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, by NL Architects and XVW architectuur (winner)
- Ely Court by Alison Brooks Architects
- Kannikegården in Ribe, Denmark, by Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects
- Katyn Museum in Warsaw, Poland, by BBGK Architekci
- Rivesaltes Memorial Museum, France, by Rudy Ricciotti