Synopses & Reviews
Essays by Aaron Betsky, Eduard Bru, David Chipperfield, Matthias Sauerbruch and Deyan Sudjic.
Old Europe is beginning to show signs of renewed vitality, to judge from the results of this latest edition of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture: Mies van der Rohe Award 2003. Not only were 269 works selected; not only are the number of competing countries steadily increasing, especially in Eastern Europe; but the standard of the entries, particularly of the winning projects and the 40 runners-up, are arguably the most impressive ever. Of special note is the predominance of projects that address new sites and/or new programs. The winning project encompasses all this and more: Zaha Hadid's tram station in Strasbourg is at once a strategy, something open-ended, playful, imperfect, intelligent, and playful. But it is also resolved and unafraid to identify with conventional architectural qualities. Additionally, this year's jury has singled out Jrgen Mayer as the most promising young designer in Europe for his first work, the Scharnhauser Park town hall. Other works shortlisted by the jury include the Chassa Park Apartments by Xaveer De Geyter Architects, the Palais de Tokyo by Lacaton & Vassal Architects, and Hagen Island by MVRDV. Accompanying photographs and plans of the 41 nominated projects are essays by some of architecture's most important critics.