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Norwegian National Opera & Ballet Wins Mies van der Rohe Award 2009
Gymnasium 46° 09' N / 16° 50' E by Studio UP by Lea Pelivan, Toma Plejic. Photo: Robert Les.
BARCELONA.- The European Commission and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe announced today that the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet, Oslo, Norway by Snøhetta is the winner of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2009.

The Jury also awarded the Emerging Architect Special Mention to STUDIO UP/ Lea Pelivan and Toma Plejić for Gymnasium 46° 09’ N / 16° 50’ E, Koprivnica, Croatia.

The 60,000 € Prize funded with support by the European Union, one of the most important and prestigious prizes for international architecture, is awarded biennially to built works completed within the previous two years.

By supporting the prize, the European Commission underlines the role of architecture as a driver for creativity and innovation, opens up culture to audiences beyond national borders and draws attention to the European professionals’ contribution in the development of new ideas and technologies that impact Europeans’ everyday life.

This landmark building by Snøhetta, who also designed the new Library of Alexandria (2002), is the largest cultural centre built in Norway in 700 years. It sloping stone roof - made up of 36,000 fitted pieces – rises up from the fjord; allowing members of the public, residents and opera goers alike, to walk over the building, developing a relationship with the public structure. Integral to the
1,000-room interior, which is largely lined with crafted woodwork (using the traditions of Norwegian boat builders), are a number of art commissions interwoven into the structural fabric, including a cloakroom, a collaboration with their 2007 Serpentine Pavilion collaborator Olafur Eliasson.

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

The new building for the opera and ballet is the first element in the transformation of the bay area of Oslo with the objective of reconnecting the city with its waterfront. In addition to providing the city with an opera and ballet house of the highest international standards, the marble-clad roofscape is both a new civic landmark as well as an architectural landscape that is open to the public. The interior is composed of a sequence of differentiated spaces characterised by carefully chosen materials and the integration of the works of several artists.

Kjetil Trædal Thorsen (born 1958 in Haugesund, Norway, diploma: Technische Universität Graz) , Tarald Lundevall (born 1948 in Oslo, diploma: Arkitektur og designhøgskolen i Oslo) and Craig Dykers (born 1961 in Frankfurt, diploma: University of Texas at Austin) are partners and directors of Snøhetta, an architectural practice established in 1989 in Oslo. Their major works include the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt; the Norwegian Embassy in Berlin and the INMED Institute of Neurobiology in Marseilles, France.

THE FINALISTS:
The winner of the Prize was selected from a shortlist of five finalists:

• Zenith Music Hall, Strasbourg (France) by Studio Fuksas/ Massimiliano & Doriana Fuksas

• Luigi Bocconi University, Milan (Italy) by Grafton Architects/ Shelley McNamara, Yvonne Farrell,

• Norwegian National Opera & Ballet, Oslo (Norway) by Snøhetta/ Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Tarald Lundevall, Craig Dykers.

• Multimodal Centre – Nice Tramway, Nice (France) by Atelier Marc Barani

• Library, Senior Citizens’ Centre and Interior Courtyard, Barcelona (Spain) by RCR Arquitectes

The finalists were selected from 340 projects proposed by the Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE) member associations, other national architectural associations, the group of Experts and the Advisory Committee.

EMERGING ARCHITECT SPECIAL MENTION:
Gymnasium 46º09’N/16º50E
Koprivnica, Croatia
STUDIO UP/ Lea Pelivan, Toma Plejić

The mixed-use programme for this project includes a sports hall as well as a high school. The spatial and visual overlapping of the facilities was the basis of the design concept and the spacious interior street organises and connects all the programmatic elements. A system of shutters above the sports hall and the ducts through the cantilevered classrooms of the top floor ensure a constant flow of cool air during the summer months while the double polycarbonate skin creates a ‘green house effect’ in winter. The building transforms the suburban periphery of Koprivnica by creating a landmark and an emblematic place for the young people of the town.

Lea Pelivan (Born in Split, Croatia in 1976) and Toma Plejić (Born in Riijeka, Croatia in 1977) both received their architecture diplomas in 2001 from the University of Zagreb where they established their professional practice in 2003. Their most important projects include: Frameworks (Site-specific project for the 2004 Biennale di Venezia), the P10 Mixed-Use Building, Split and the Spectator Business Building,
Zagreb.





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