Winners announced for Zumtobel Group Award 2017

(Austria) – In what is the fifth edition of the Zumtobel Group Award – Innovations for Sustainability and Humanity in the Built Environment, in 2017 the international expert jury awarded first prizes to the projects submitted by Michael Maltzan Architecture, UNStudio, Arturo Vittori and TeamMinus.

The Zumtobel Group had invited entries in three categories, Buildings, Urban Developments & Initiatives and Applied Innovations. This year there is also a special award for Young Professionals. The international architectural award, curated once again by Aedes Architecture Forum Berlin, honours contemporary realised or conceptual works that make a significant contribution to greater humanity and sustainability in the built environment and its design.

The Zumtobel Group Award emphasizes the importance of architecture for human beings. Architecture determines how people feel in the built and urban space and how they live there. The Zumtobel Group Award addresses this topic and, just like our lighting solutions, places people in the centre of the living environment,said Karin Zumtobel, Head of Arts & Culture Zumtobel Group.

A total of 347 projects from 48 countries on five continents were submitted for this year’s award. A first-line jury reviewed the entries and submitted a smaller number to the main jury comprising leading figures from around the world of architecture, as well as experts in the new technologies. The jury then selected five projects per category as nominees and chose a winner from among them in each category.

Along with the three main categories, this year the jury was also tasked with nominating five Young Professionals. Projects qualified for this special award if the persons submitting them were under 40 years of age on 15 January 2017. Here too, the jury chose a winner from among the nominees.

We have a wide spread of contributions for this prize from all over the world and there is no difference between one country and the other. These are people who are truly dedicated to what they are doing and they do it in such a fabulous, non-egoistic manner, with the aim of trying to create better lives for many other people,said Jury Chairman Kjetil Trædal Thorsen from Snøhetta Architects.

The first prize in each of the three categories carries a purse of EUR 50,000. An additional purse of EUR 15,000 will be distributed for the Young Professional. This raises the total purse from EUR 150,000 to EUR 165,000.

Award in the Buildings category 

First prize in the Buildings category goes to Michael Maltzan Architecture, USA for the Star Apartments project in Los Angeles in which an existing single-floor commercial building was converted into a 95,000 square foot supportive housing facility within Los Angeles’ downtown core. Expanded to six storeys, the building provides 102 homes and support services for previously homeless individuals. Star Apartments has set a new standard for architecture within the field of social housing, social and environmental sustainability, as well as community and bottom-up processes,wrote the jury in its statement.

Award in the Urban Developments & Initiatives category 

In the Urban Developments and Initiatives category, the award goes to UNStudio, Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos, in the Netherlands for their master plan for Arnhem Central Station as a new mass transit and mainline rail hub designed for mixed use and to integrate public space. “The impressive and unbending determination of Ben van Berkel and UNStudio to see Arnhem Central Station through a series of significant challenges all the way to completion is exemplary. The project demonstrates the necessity of continuous involvement and engagement for sustainable solutions,stated the jury.

Award in the Applied Innovations category 

First prize in the Applied Innovations category is awarded to Italian architect Arturo Vittori. Vittori impressed the jury with his Warka Water project which provides an alternative water source in the Dorso / Omo Valley region of Ethiopia. The project offers a potential solution to inadequate access to clean and secure water resources in rural regions of Africa. The strong innovative aspect of the Warka Water project lies in its independent use of archaic knowledge combined with deep understanding of needs and context. To achieve simple and functional solutions for comprehensive problems takes time and intense research,the jury said.

Special award for Young Professionals 

In what is the first edition of this special award for Young Professionals, the winner is Atelier TeamMinus for their Jianamani Visitor Center in Yushu, China. This modern visitor centre in Yushu engages closely with its historical Tibetan context by forging explicit links with the ancient local site intrinsic to Tibetan Buddhism. The Jianamani Visitor Center awakes hope for the future of architecture, defending the position that experimentation is not contradictory to contextual solutions,stated the jury.

The jury of the Zumtobel Group Award 2017 

The 2017 jury comprised Klaus Daniels, HL-Technik Engineering GmbH; Elke Delugan-Meissl, Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, Elizabeth Diller, Architect Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Elgar Fleisch, Professor of Information Management, Holger Hagge, Architect & Management Expert, Zhang Ke, Architect ZAO/standardarchitecture, Ulrich Schumacher, CEO Zumtobel Group and Kjetil Trædal Thorsen of Snøhetta Architects.

Honourable Mentions 

Nominated in the category Buildings and awarded with a honourable mention by the jury are the following projects in alphabetical order: “Farming Kindergarten” by Vo Trong Nghia Architects, Vietnam; “Jianamani Visitor Center” by Atelier TeamMinus, China; “La Maison du Savoir” by Baumschlager Eberle Architekten, Austria and “Transformation of 530 Dwellings” by Anne Lacaton & Jean-Philippe Vassal with Fréderic Druot and Christophe Hutin architects, France.

In Urban Developments & Initiatives, the jury congratulates the following projects on a honourable mention, in alphabetical order: “Empower Shack” by Urban-Think Tank, ETH Zurich, Switzerland; “Recovery of the Irrigation System at the Thermal Orchards” by Cíclica [space·community ecology], Spain; “Sydney Park Water Re-use Project” by Turf Design Studio, Australia and “Urban Rigger” by Kim Loudrup and Bjarke Ingels, Denmark.

In the category Applied Innovations are awarded with a honourable mention, in alphabetical order: “3for2 Beyond Efficiency” by Architecture and Building Systems Research Group, ETH Zurich, Switzerland; “Hy-Fi” by The Living – David Benjamin, USA; “Mine the Scrap” by Certain Measures, Germany and “From Solar Trees to Active Glass Facades” by Opvius GmbH, Germany.

In addition to the awarding of the first prize, the jury spoke out in favour of the following honourable mentions among the Young Professionals, in alphabetical order: “3for2 Beyond Efficiency” by Architecture and Building Systems Research Group, ETH Zurich, Switzerland; “Mine the Scrap” by Certain Measures, Germany; “Nest We Grow – House of Food, for Food” by LIXIL International Student Architectural Competition, Japan, USA and “Salpi Industrial Factory” by Enzo Eusebi + Partners, Italy.

Curated by Aedes 

The Zumtobel Group Award 2017 was held under the curatorship of Dr. h.c. Kristin Feireiss and Hans-Jürgen Commerell of Aedes Architecture Forum in Berlin, who have stewarded the architectural award over the past ten years, ever since it was first created.

“In the space of ten years the Zumtobel Group Award has become an established international competition. The Award puts the spotlight on the challenges posed by the design and development of current and future built environments, but that is not all. Because over the years we have continuously adapted the parameters of the Award to the ever-expanding technological possibilities and increasingly digitised processes, enabling the resultant social interactions to be taken into account as the winners are selected,” said the curators Dr. h.c. Kristin Feireiss and Hans-Jürgen Commerell from Aedes Architecture Forum, Berlin.