O’Donnell + Tuomey’s limestone-clad addition to the Central European University in Budapest has been shortlisted for the RIBA International Prize 2018
The first phase of a wider redevelopment of the Hungarian university’s historic campus, the 35,000m² scheme is down to the last four battling it out for the biennial, global accolade.
Also shortlisted are: a boarding school on the edge of the Amazon by Aleph Zero + Rosenbaum; a virtuoso music school in Tokyo by Nikken Sekkei; and an eco-skyscraper in Milan by Boeri Studio.
Irish architects Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey of O’Donnell + Tuomey described their university scheme as a ‘special project’ for the practice, and ‘an open campus for a liberal-minded university’. They said: ‘The project took us on a journey of discovery into the architectural, cultural and urban morphology of Budapest, involving us in sometimes sympathetic, sometimes controversial discussions with the city authorities during the design process.
‘We wanted the building to fit into its context, but to fit in by standing out. Now that it’s built, the project seems to be widely accepted and well understood as belonging to its place; a new part of the old city.’
The four finalists for the prize were chosen from a longlist of 62 projects revealed last December (which included Amanda Levete Architects’ Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) in Lisbon, Heatherwick Studio’s Zeitz MOCAA art gallery in Cape Town, and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ 8 Chifley Square scheme in Sydney.
Speaking about the RIBA International List 2018, RIBA president, Ben Derbyshire said: ‘The marker of a truly successful building is the positive contribution it makes to its local context and people. All four of these projects thoroughly demonstrate visionary, innovative thinking and excellence of execution, and positively impact the communities they have been designed for.’
He added: ‘While these four buildings are in different time zones and continents, like all great architecture they share common qualities. Of particular note is their sensitivity to their local environment and their responsiveness to the particular needs of the people that will use them. I am pleased that three of the four projects are education buildings, providing innovative and inspiring spaces for young people to live, learn and achieve their potential.
‘The fourth scheme is a bold approach to the greening of high-density urban housing that is already inspiring other cities.’
The Grand Jury is led by world-renowned architect, Elizabeth Diller of Diller Scofidio and Renfro, alongside Rural Urban Framework’s Joshua Bolchover, Gloria Cabral of Gabinete de Arquitectura, Peter Clegg of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and SANAA’s founding partner Kazuyo Sejima.
The inaugural RIBA International Prize in 2016 was handed to Grafton Architects for its UTEC (Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología) in Lima, Peru.
This year’s winner will be announced on 29 November.
The 2018 prize finalists
Central European University - Phase 1 by O’Donnell + Tuomey
Shortlisted for RIBA International Prize 2018 - Central European University, phase 1 by O’Donnell + Tuomey
As part of a major redevelopment of the Central European University, the architects have added a limestone-clad building to a street in the heart of Budapest. Drawing on the city’s unique vernacular, the new design skilfully knits together several historical buildings and courtyards to create an internal sequence of spaces and routes. The project brings a total of 35,000m² of new space to the inner-city campus, and consists of a library, auditorium, teaching and learning facilities, study rooms, and a café.
Children Village, Brazil, by Rosenbaum + Aleph Zero
Children Village, Brazil, by Rosenbaum + Aleph Zero
Children Village, located in a rural area on the outskirts of the Amazon, provides boarding accommodation for 540 senior school children at the Canuanã School. The building is largely made from locally-sourced timber, with the Brazilian architects exploiting the abundant natural resources surrounding the site in an innovative way, thus promoting both economic and environmental sustainability.
A variety of interacting spaces – from dormitories and reading spaces to balconies and hammocks – were designed together with the students in order to improve their quality of life and refine the bond between them and the school. Children Village is an exemplar of how architecture can stimulate its users, as well as the surrounding community, in a region rich in natural resources but poor in educational opportunities.
Toho Gakuen School of Music by Nikken Sekkei
Shortlisted for RIBA International Prize 2018 - Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo by Nikken Sekkei
Toho Gakuen School of Music is a famous music college in the suburbs of Tokyo. This new open-plan campus replaced an earlier building on the site, which had a conventional arrangement of cellular practice rooms along a corridor with no natural light. Conversely, this virtuoso piece of architecture has an almost village-like quality with independent teaching spaces, neat communal spaces, and lots of natural light thanks to exposure to the exterior.
Guided by the imperative of optimum acoustics, the Japanese architects have ensured that each lesson room has a proportion and size requested by each instrument, and is arranged with a void space in between, such as a corridor, to provide acoustic separation. As a result, music from each room can be heard in the corridor, but in the rooms there is silence.
Vertical forest (Il Bosco Verticale) by Boeri Studio
Shortlisted for RIBA International Prize 2018 - Il Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest), Milan, by Boeri Studio
Vertical forest is the second of two residential towers in Milan representing a new approach to high-rise buildings in which trees and humans coexist. The project consists of two towers of 80m and 112m, planted with almost 17,000 trees, shrubs and plants. This provides the equivalent greenery of 20,000m² of forest and undergrowth.
A project of urban reforestation, Vertical Forest has wide-reaching environmental benefits. Not only does it increase biodiversity by repopulating the city’s flora and fauna, but it creates its own microclimate to filter fine particles and improve air quality. The building also presents a smart solution to control urban expansion, with each tower constituting the equivalent of a peripheral area of single family houses and buildings of around 50,000m².