Harpa wins the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award 2013
  Release: miesarch, April. 29, 2013

Barcelona/Brussels 29 April 2013 – Harpa, the Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Iceland, is the winner of the 2013 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award, the European Commission and the Mies van der Rohe Foundation announced today. Designed by Henning Larsen Architects, Batteríið Architects and Studio Olafur Eliasson, the building has helped to transform and revitalise Reykjavik harbour and brought the city and harbour district closer together. The 'Emerging Architect Special Mention' award goes to María Langarita and Víctor Navarro for the Nave de Música Matadero (Red Bull Music Academy) in Madrid, Spain. The award ceremony will take place on 7 June at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona, coinciding with the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the prize.


Videos: Commissioner, Winner, Emerging Architect Special Mention and Finalists

"Architecture is one of the most visible expressions of our contemporary culture. My warmest congratulations go to this year's winners – indeed, to all of those who made the final shortlist. They have created buildings which are not only of the highest aesthetic and technical quality, but also places which touch our emotions and bring people together. I would also like to thank the Mies van der Rohe Foundation for their excellent collaboration in helping to bring the best of contemporary European architecture to worldwide attention," said Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.

Harpa's crystalline structure was inspired by Icelandic landscapes and traditions. Its dramatic design captures and reflects the light of the city, ocean and sky to thrilling effect.

Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen, from Henning Larsen Architects said: "On behalf of the team I would like to thank the European Commission and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe for this award. We are immensely honoured. Harpa is the result of collaborative process that has involved many people and with their efforts, strong commitment and drive Harpa has become a symbol of Iceland’s renewed dynamism."


Wiel Arets, Chair of the Jury, said: "Harpa has captured the myth of a nation – Iceland – that has consciously acted in favour of a hybrid-cultural building during the middle of the ongoing Great Recession. The iconic and transparent porous 'quasi brick' appears as an ever-changing play of coloured light, promoting a dialogue between the city of Reykjavik and the building's interior life. By giving an identity to a society long known for its sagas, through an interdisciplinary collaboration between Henning Larsen Architects and artist Olafur Eliasson, this project is an important message to the world and to the Icelandic people, fulfilling their long expected dream."

The Nave de Música Matadero Madrid (Red Bull Music Academy) was built in only two months to host a nomadic annual music festival in an early 20th-century industrial warehouse complex in Madrid. It responded to the technical and acoustic needs of the event, while promoting and enriching artistic encounters between the participating musicians.


Antoni Vives, President of the Mies van der Rohe Foundation, said: "It has been an honour for the city of Barcelona and the Mies van der Rohe Foundation to grant this Prize with the European Commission for the last 25 years: a quarter of a century of the best European architecture. I would like to congratulate the winners of this 13th edition and I would like encourage architects to continue to play their role as catalysts for transforming cities."

The winners were chosen from 335 submitted works in 37 European countries. Five works were shortlisted for the main award. The other finalists were: Market Hall (Ghent, Belgium by Robbrecht en Daem architecten; Marie-José Van Hee architecten); Superkilen (Copenhagen, Denmark by BIG Bjarke Ingels Group; Topotek1; Superflex); Home for Elderly People (Alcácer do Sal, Portugal by Aires Mateus Arquitectos) and Metropol Parasol (Seville, Spain by J. Mayer H).





Harpa – Concerthall  Conference Center Reykjavik (Photo: Nic Lehouy)


The jury members who selected the finalists for 2013 are: Wiel Arets, Chair of the Jury, Principal, Wiel Arets Architects, Maastricht/Dean, College of Architecture, IIT, Chicago; Pedro Gadanho, Curator, Contemporary Architecture, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Antón García-Abril, Principal, Ensamble Studio; Louisa Hutton, Principal, Sauerbruch Hutton Architects, Berlin; Kent Martinussen, CEO, The Danske Arkitekter Center (DAC), Copenhagen; Frédéric Migayrou, Director, Architecture & Design, Centre Pompidou, Paris; Ewa Porebska, Editor-in-Chief, Architektura-murator, Warsaw; Giovanna Carnevali, Secretary of the Jury, Director, Fundació Mies van der Rohe, Barcelona.




The architecture sector is at the heart of Europe's vibrant cultural and creative industries. It directly employs more than half a million people, as well as more than 12 million in the construction sector. Architecture is part of the cultural and creative sectors, which contribute 4.5% to the EU's GDP.


The European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award highlights the contribution of European architects to the development of new ideas and technologies in contemporary urban development. Launched in 1987 and co-funded by the EU Culture Programme and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, the prize is the most prestigious in European architecture.

It is awarded every other year to works completed within the previous two years. The winner receives €60 000. This year’s ceremony is the 13th to take place since its launch.


Works nominated for the Prize are put forward by independent experts from all over Europe, as well as by the member associations of the Architects’ Council of Europe, national architects’ associations, and the Advisory Committee for the Prize.


The Prize is named after Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who is regarded as one of the pioneers of 20th century modern architecture. His most celebrated works include the German Pavilion at the 1929 Barcelona Exhibition, Villa Tugendhat in Brno, Czech Republic, the Seagram Building in New York and the National Gallery in Berlin.

The complete list of 335 works can be downloaded by the countries below:

Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, Turkey and United Kingdom.

Previous winners include:

Neues Museum, Berlin, Germany by David Chipperfiel/David Chipperfield Architects, in collaboration with Julian Harrap

Norwegian National Opera & Ballet, Oslo, Norway by SNØHETTA / Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Tarald Lundevall, Craig Dykers

MUSAC, León, Spain by Luis M. Mansilla, Emilio Tuñón / Mansilla + Tuñón Arquitectos

Netherlands Embassy Berlin, Germany by OMA / Rem Koolhaas, Ellen van Loon

Kursaal Centre, Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain by Rafael Moneo

Car Park and Terminus Hoenheim North, Strasbourg, France by Zaha Hadid/ Zaha Hadid Architects

Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria by Peter Zumthor

Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, France by Dominique Perrault

Waterloo International Station, London, UK by Nicholas Grimshaw / Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners

Municipal Sports Stadium, Badalona (Barcelona), Spain by Esteve Bonell, Francesc Rius

Stansted Airport, London, United Kingdom by Norman Foster / Norman Foster + Partners

Banco Borges e Irmão, Vila do Conde, Portugal by Álvaro Siza Vieira

To find out more:



Twitter: @VassiliouEU


Facebook: EU Prize for contemporary architecture/ Mies van der Rohe award

For more information:


For Fundació Mies Van der Rohe

Mercedes Soler-Lluró, Gemma Pascual/ICE

Mail: press@miesbcn.com

+34 93 215 10 11

For European Commission:

Dennis Abbott: +32 2 295 92 58 Twitter: @DennisAbbott

Dina Avraam: +32 2 295 96 67


  Kulturexpress   ISSN 1862-1996

     May 09, 2013