The registration period for the 2nd edition of the BigMat International Architecture Award 2015 is now open. The biennial Prize aims to call attention to the built works that have made a major contribution to contemporary architectural culture in Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Belgium (Walloon and Brussels City), particularly aware of these works’ dialogue with timeless themes in the history of architecture, as well as their relationship with energy efficiency parameters, sustainable construction and the quest for greater comfort and habitability, accepting any building typology (residential works, commercial works, industrial works, institutional works, etc.).
Remarkably, the origins of this Award date back to 2011, coinciding in time with possibly the worst part of the finantial and economic crisis in Europe. Since then, BigMat Group have been pushing architecture forward through this Award.
Any architects whose professional address is in any of the six participating countries and whose works have also been built in these territories can submit their works until the 1st of May 2015. Works will only be considered for this prize if they were built between January 1st, 2011, and January 1st, 2015, and, in the case of Portugal, built between January 1st, 2007, and January 1st, 2015.
The panel of judges will comprise one member for each of the participating countries –all of which experts of recognized prestige- as well as the President of the jury, Jesús Aparicio (Doctor in Architecture and Professor of Architectural Projects at the Technical University of Madrid – ETSAM) and the Awards Secretary, Jesús Donaire (Architect and Associated lecturer in Architectural Projects at the Technical University of Madrid – ETSAM). The ´15 BigMat Award members of the jury are:
- Belgium (Wallonia and Brussels City): Mr. Olivier Bastin. bMa “Bouwmeester”, architect for the Ministry in the Brussels Region.
- Czech Republic: Mr. Martin Rajnis. Architect, founder of Huť architektury and winner of the 2014 Global Prize for Sustainable Architecture.
- France: Mr. Henri Ciriani. Architect and 2012 Gold Medallist of the French Academy of Architecture.
- Italy: Mr. Franceso Dal Co. Architect, renowned architecture historian and researcher, director of Casabella Magazine and several times in charge of Biennale Venezia.
- Portugal: Mr. Manuel Aires Mateus. Architect, founder of Aires Mateus and Lecturer at the Accademia di Architettura de Mendrisio, Switzerland.
- Spain: Mr. Antonio Ortiz. Architect, founder of Cruz y Ortiz Arquitectos and winner of the 2014 Architecture Gold Medal from the CSCAE.
Participating architects will have the opportunity to compete before this panel of internationally renowned judges, charged with designating the winner of the BigMat ’15 International Grand Prize (30.000€), as well as the winners of the five BigMat ’15 National Prizes (5.000€) and twelve finalists (1.500€). In the interest for disseminating information about the runners-up and the prizewinners, a catologue will also be published. The last edition’s catalog can be read here.
The closing event and awards ceremony will take place on the occasion of the Annual Congress of the BigMat International Group, to be held in Berlin, Germany, on Friday, November 20th, 2015. All the information and the submission forms can be viewed in the official webpage of the Prize.
Former editions winners and participants
Out of a total of almost nine hundred projects presented in the five European countries participating (Belgium, Spain, France, Italy and the Czech Republic), it was Belgian office XDGA, headed by Xaveer the Geyter, who was chosen as winner of the Grand Prize, rewarded with 30.000€.
The winning ceremony took place in Granada, Spain, on November 2013. The jury that selected his project among the other six National Prizes comprised six prestigious architects – chairman Jesús Aparicio, along with Marie Vanhamme (Belgium), Carlos Ferrater (Spain), Dominique Perrault (France), Cino Zucchi (Italy), Zdenek Lukeš (Czech Republic)- as well as the Awards Secretary Jesús Donaire.
The winning project by Xaveer de Geyter was Elishout Kitchen Tower Campus COOVI in Brussels.
In words of Marie Vanhamme “ […] installed on the outskirts of Brussels, [the building] perfectly illustrates the rediscovery, after decades of doubtless necessary conventional architecture for stitching up and repairing urban fabric, of the potential of an architecture committed to being the wholehearted protagonist of a city’s transformation.”
“This recent trend is seen two-fold in this project: on the one hand, it reconsiders the plastic resources of programmes usually considered despicably functional – a technical school devoted to cookery – and on the other hand it makes use of an architectural resource to compose an urban landscape and thereby brings generally little esteemed architecture back from the limits to the centre of the town.”
The remaining prizes were awarded to five projects in the National Category, fifteen runners-up, and several Special Mentions.
National Prize for the Czech Republic (5.000 euros) to the Memorial to Victims of Communism, Liberec, by Petr Janda / Brainwork + Sporadical.
National Prize for France (5.000 euros) to the Student Residence, Paris, by LAN Architecture.
National Prize for Italy (5.000 euros) to Via Padovani Housing, Imola, by Lelli & Associati Architettura + Magazè S.R.L.
National Prize for Spain (5.000 euros) to the Atrio Relais & Châteaux Hotel and Restaurant, Cáceres, by Mansilla + Tuñón.
Among the 15 runners-up, the BigMat ’13 Special Mention for Young Architects was awarded to the Faculty of Cellular and Genetic Biology of Alcalá University, Alcalá de Henares, by Héctor Fernández Elorza. The panel of judges awarded a Special Mention for the recovery of a historic site to Atrio Relais & Châteaux Hotel and Restaurant, Cáceres, by Mansilla + Tuñón.