The European Commission and Fundació Mies van der Rohe have announced that Szczecin Philharmonic Hall, designed by Barozzi/Viega with the collaboration of Studio A4, is the winner of the EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2015. The Emerging Architect Prize was awarded to Arquitectura-G for their Luz House.
The winners made it through a highly competitive original line-up of 420 works from 36 European countries. A short list of five finalists consisted of Ravensburg Art Museum by Ledere Ragnarsdóttir Oei, Danish Maritime Museum by BIG, Antinori Winery by Archea Associati, Saw Swee Hock Student centre by O’Donnell + Tuomey, and Szczecin Philharmonic Hall by Barrozi/Viega.
The five finalists and the winner were chosen because of their ability to “read and transform their context, to generate a symbiosis between new and existing, and between their function and the public realm; to transform physical, economic or technical constraints into resources; to create a series of spaces appreciated by users, shape a welcoming meeting place; and finally, to be able to constitute a bold architectural statement, enabling a dialogue between the evolution of a discipline and the parallel evolution of the values and need of society.
The winning project was the design of a new complex on the site of an old one – a large symphony hall for 1000 spectators, and a smaller one for chamber music with room for 200 spectators, and a grand foyer with upper level exposition spaces.
The main symphony hall is clad by triangular wooden acoustic panels gilded with gold leaf. A large hall with a cafeteria and two grand staircases offer shelter in colder weather, while multi-functional rooms surround the concert halls, offering versatility for other cultural or leisure events.
The series of pitched gables which crown the rectangular complex contrast well with the silhouette of the historic castle beyond it. The glass façade is illuminated from within and depending on the time of day, it presents the viewer with different perceptions. The simplicity of the exterior and the interior spaces contrasts with the expressiveness of the main hall and the gold leaf covered concert hall.
The judges have said: “This winning project finds a convincing formal and spatial strategy for a city which strives for a better future in a fast changing economy and social patterns, delivering a dignity to urban life and at the same time enhancing the city’s specific historical identity with a contemporary ‘monument’.”