The material brick has accompanied mankind for thousands of years. Almost every region around the globe has developed its own brick tradition over time. Again and again, there have been innovative approaches that have turned this traditional building material into the building material of the future. Behind all these turning points are people with courageous ideas. The face of modernity, for example, would undoubtedly be different without Erich Mendelsohn's influential buildings. The question of how we want to build in the future has different premises today, but it is still the creative ideas of architects that provide answers and break new ground.
The Erich Mendelsohn Prize for Brick Architecture seeks out precisely those architectural practices that are part of the tradition of innovation. It recognises projects that use the properties of brick to create ecologically and aesthetically sustainable buildings. This year's sixth call for entries for the award attracted 584 project submissions from over 30 countries. The internationally renowned jury around the Grand Prix winners Fabrizio Barozzi and Andrés Solíz, which met in Berlin in June, selected the best works from all the submissions. 76 projects made it onto the shortlist in the main categories, ten in the Newcomer category. From this shortlist, the final winners were selected, who can now look forward to receiving an award.
The Grand Prix winner HARQUITECTES is not a new face at the Prize for Brick Architecture. With their unmistakable style of unrendered brick walls on the inside, the architects from Barcelona had already impressed the juries of the three preliminary rounds. The technically and aesthetically convincing careful renovation of the Clos Pachem Winery now brings the office the Grand Prix for the first time. Dealing with the existing building and the material available on site is one of two focal points that the jury set not only for the Grand Prix, but in all categories.
In addition, the second big question in architecture is that of affordable housing for all. Against this backdrop, the jury presented three gold awards in the housing category for the first time: Three outstanding examples in three European cities demonstrate in exemplary fashion how brick creates living spaces with meaning and character.
From the Grand Prix to the Newcomer project, it is evident across all categories: Brick is a material that is able to tell stories through its tradition and longevity - and at the same time is up to the challenges of the future.
Winner Grand Prix | Clos Pachem Winery, HARQUITECTES
At the Clos Pachem Winery, an exceptionally inspiring architecture has been created thanks to the material-typical qualities of brick. The innovative use of this traditional building material has resulted in a renovation project that blends aesthetically with its historical context while meeting the winery's high technical standards. The brick walls with cavities for air circulation and the irrigation system of the green roofs ensure an optimal indoor climate. The building itself becomes part of the biodynamic wine production.
Winner Gold | Public Buildings, Leisure and Sport | Jojutla Central Gardens, Estudio MMX
The redesign of the Jojutla Central Gardens builds a bridge between yesterday and today: an area formerly destroyed by earthquakes was revitalised and made into a place of community and identification through traditional as well as newly interpreted architecture. The square, designed with striking brick arches, is an expression of regional craftsmanship and offers citizens a place to meet, while leaving enough space for plant and animal life.
Winner Gold | Detached House/Detached House | Blockmakers Arms, Erbar Mattes
In the former Blockmakers Arms inn, past and present enter into a contemporary and equally forward-looking symbiosis. The new extensions are constructed of handmade grey-brown bricks and complement the weathered 19th century brickwork without competing with the ornate façade of the existing building. The utilitarian staircase on the rear façade is replaced by a loggia, with load-bearing masonry columns that convey a sense of permanence and solidity that relates strongly to the original brick volume.
Winner Gold | Residential Construction/Floor Housing | Social Atrium, PERIS+TORAL ARQUITECTES
The SOCIAL ATRIUM not only creates an innovative connection to the former development on this site with its now dilapidated terraced houses. New places for social interaction, such as the central bioclimatic atrium, as well as an extraordinary redensification of urban space characterise this project.
Winner Gold | Residential Construction/Floor Housing | Quartier Heidestraße Core, ROBERTNEUN Architects GmbH
A revival with playful details: where railway and infrastructure buildings once stood, the Heidestraße Core quarter in the west of Europacity is now ushering in a paradigm shift. The result is a trend-setting mix of working and living typologies.
Winner Gold | Residential Construction/Floor Housing | "Gleistribüne" Residential and Commercial Buildings, Esch Sintzel GmbH, Architects ETH BSA SIA
How the fallow edge of track fields can be transformed into attractive living space is impressively demonstrated at Zurich's main railway station. The "Gleistribüne" privileges the formerly ignored area.
Winner Gold | Redevelopment | Theatre at Domain De Hoge Rielen, dmvA
Once a military landscape, today a house of culture: in the Theatre at Domain De Hoge Rielen, the brick preserves the building's past while adding a new chapter to its history.
Winner Gold | Newcomer | Luise 19E, undjurekbüggen (ETH Zurich)
Luise 19E was actually supposed to be demolished. But with the brick recovered from the deconstruction, a new house was created in a participatory process - true to the motto: by the community for the community.
About the Erich Mendelsohn Prize 2023 for Brick Architecture
The competition, first held in 2008 under the name Fritz Höger Prize for Brick Architecture, takes place every three years and has been supported in partnership by the Association of German Architects BDA since 2011. Since 2022, it has been operating under the name Erich Mendelsohn Prize for Brick Architecture. The great importance of the prize in the world of architecture is underlined not least by the renowned names of the award-winning offices in past rounds. Grand Prix projects include the Siza Pavilion on Hombroich Island (2014) and the Bremer Landesbank, penned by Caruso St John Architects (2017). Two Grand Prix Winners were selected for the first time in 2020: the Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne by Barozzi Veiga and the Nakasone House in Mexico City by Escobedo Soliz.
This year, one Grand Prix project and 17 other works were awarded the Erich Mendelsohn Prize for Brick Architecture in gold, silver and bronze. In addition, 15 selected projects received the Special Mention award. With this award, the jury recognises exemplary details that stand out in a special way.
The 2023 Jury
The independent jury of the Erich Mendelsohn Prize 2023 for Brick Architecture was composed of the following five architectural experts: Fabrizio Barozzi (Winner Grand Prix 2020), Ulrich Brinkmann (editor of the architecture magazine Bauwelt), Silvia Schellenberg-Thaut (Atelier ST), Andrés Solíz Paz (Winner Grand Prix 2020) and Susanne Wartzeck (President of the Association of German Architects BDA).
The three-member Newcomer Jury consisted of: Franziska Käuferle (Winner Newcomer Award 2020), Benedikt Hotze (Press Officer of the Association of German Architects BDA), and Dr. Fabian Peters (Editor-in-Chief of the architecture magazine Baumeister).
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