Vanguard German Urban Theorists and Think Tank Laboratory for Visionary Architecture Awarded 2016 European Prize for Architecture
SEPTEMBER 8, 2015 - DUBLIN, IRELAND
German Architects, Chris Bosse, Alexander Rieck
, and Tobias Wallisser
are presented with Europe’s Highest Public Award
for Architecture by
The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design at a Gala Dinner Awards Ceremony in Athens, Greece on September 23.
Three young German architects, who founded the Berlin-based firm of LAVA Laboratory for Visionary Architecture to surpass the traditional bounds of architectonic forms and thinking, while also working to carve out a territory beyond the limits of contemporary modern architecture, are selected as this year’s Laureates of the prestigious European Prize for Architecture.
At the vanguard of a nonconformist and inventive new generation in architecture, LAVA bridges the gap between the dream and real world. The firm operates as a unique think tank, with branches placed strategically worldwide, utilizing leading architects, designers, master planners, landscape architects, interior designers and industry to provide cutting-edge architectural solutions to high profile international clients.
LAVA seeks to continually define new boundaries in the creation of architectural visions and city space.
Each year, The European Prize for Architecture is awarded jointly by The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design to architects who have made a committment to forward the principles of European humanism.
“We are delighted to present The European Prize for Architecture to this young, inventive, and exuberant architecture firm that stands at the crossroads in their aspiring career,” states Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, President/CEO of The Chicago Athenaeum.
“The European Prize for Architecture is not a ‘lifetime of achievement award,’ but rather serves as an impetus to support new ideas, to encourage and foster more challenge-making and forward-thinking about buildings and the environment, and to prompt the pushing of the envelope to obtain an even greater, more profound result.”
The Prize also honors the commitment and achievements of the best European architects who have determined a more critical, intellectual, and artistic approach to the design of buildings and cities.
Previous Laureates include: Bjarke Ingels (Denmark), Graft Architects (Germany), TYIN Architects (Norway), Marco Casagrande (Finland), Alessandro Mendini (Italy), and Santiago Calatrava (Spain/Switzerland).
Founded by Chris Bosse, Alexander Rieck and Tobias Wallisser, LAVA operates as a unique think tank with branches placed strategically worldwide. It has been formed by some of the most experienced and forward- thinking architects from around the globe.
This experienced team delivers dynamic projects by combining local knowledge with leading edge international expertise, sourced from world recognized consultancies.
The firm offices in Berlin, Stuttgart, and Sydney, Australia.
LAVA projects include buildings and urban planning projects in Germany, The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, China, Australia, The Netherlands, Mexico, South Korea, and Sweden.
Chris Bosse is the director of LAVA Asia Pacific, based in Sydney. He is Adjunct Professor and Innovation Fellow at the University of Technology, Sydney and lectures worldwide. Educated in Germany and Switzerland, he worked with several high-profile European Architects before moving to Sydney. For a number of years, he was Associate Architect at PTW Architects in Sydney, completing many projects in China, Vietnam, the Middle-East and Japan.
In Beijing, he received the prestigious Atmosphere Award at the 9th Annual Venice Biennale and was recently recognized as an emerging architect on the world stage by the RIBA London.
Tobias Wallisser and Alexander Rieck are the directors of LAVA Europe, based in Stuttgart and Berlin.
Tobias Wallisser is Professor of Innovative Construction and Spatial concepts at the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart. After studying architecture in Berlin, Stuttgart and New York, Tobias worked in the United States, Netherlands and Germany. For 10 years, he was an Associate Architect at UNStudio in Amsterdam, completing a series of high profile projects and master plans including the World Trade Center project in New York and the Arnhem Interchange. He was instrumental in the emergence of the recent Stuttgart Mercedes-Benz Museum, which has attracted worldwide attention for its innovative spatial concept.
Alexander Rieck works as a senior researcher at the renowned Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart. He studied architecture in Stuttgart and Phoenix and worked for a number of architects in Germany before joining the field of research. He started his research career in the Virtual Reality environment. He has led many of the Office 21 research projects that produced ground breaking work in the field of future office organization. He is expert on innovations in the fields of office, hotel, living and future construction, and an author of many publications about working environments and building processes of the future.
“This firm,” states Narkiewicz-Laine, ”believes that architecture always was and always will be a mirror of society.”
“Every architectural project should rightly contribute to the wider culture of architecture and is a reaction of contemporary technology and, therefore, carries a greater responsibility to the public and to the environment.”
LAVA’s approach to design can best be described as a creative analytical approach: all work is based on research. This allows the firm to develop an in-depth understanding of the constraints and opportunities affecting each project. This understanding provides a base from which LAVA explores and addresses multiple dimensions of a project simultaneously and continuously using a variety of tools and methodologies.
In a recent project for King Abdulaziz City for Science And Technology (KACST) headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, LAVA developed an innovative design for the façade of the building and the green interiors inside this new Knowledge Center by considering key local environmental and cultural factors.
Inside the master plan, the 20-story Knowledge Centre consists of 75,000 square meters of offices to support the future expansion of the research and development campus, which will eventually grow to accommodate 10,000 researchers and scientists.
Key elements of the master plan passive design strategy are the reduction of heat loads, an innovative shading system and night skycooling.
The building’s massing was designed in response to the climate of Saudi Arabia, which includes utilizing the vertical cores located on the east and west facades to reduce low angle solar gain, while the atrium is orientated on the North-South axis, which allows for northern light as well as southern light reflected off light shelves. The architects also provided applied advanced bio-technology research and development integrated within the building and fit out environmental systems for the air treatment with bio breathing walls.
At KACST, the architects also contributed applied research and provided advice to the government on matters pertaining to science and technology to foster national innovation and technology transfer between research institutes and industry, as well as a national policy for the development of science and technology and develop strategies and plans necessary to implement them.
The Federal Republic of Germany’s proposal to host the Secretariat of the Green Climate Fund in the City of Bonn included LAVA’s design for the headquarters –“an ecological model project.” The future Green Climate Fund building was to be situated in an idyllic setting along the Rhine River and offer ideal working conditions for approximately 300 Green Climate Fund officials.
The vision for international climate protection was also to be realized in the building itself. The design complied with the latest energy and building ecology standards, meeting the highest demands in terms of sustainability (German gold certificate), ecology and energy efficiency (net zero energy).
This year, both the KASCT and Green Climate Fund buildings were awarded with the prestigious 2016 International Architecture Awards by an Italian jury in Milan this summer, comprised of Francesco Mendini and other Italian architects and journalists.
In Berlin, The SQUARE3, a mixed-use development by Moritzgruppe, combines three towers above a common plinth and three city blocks. The project, nine minutes from the center of Berlin, revitalizes a unique urban quarter located near Europe’s largest urban nature reserve and the largest German Olympic training grounds. The project is themed around ‘LIFE,’ ‘NATURE,’ and ‘SPORT.’
The three towers of varying heights with Olympic themed metallic facades of gold, silver and bronze are tapered to maximize sunlight, views and ventilation. Offices for sports companies and clubs, apartments, a medical and research center, sports education facilities, a sports hotel (specifically for athletes) and a sports-focused shopping mall at ground level all encircle a green piazza.
LAVA understands the correlation between the architectural synergy of iconic buildings and the balance of a thriving ecosystem and aim at a complete congruity in all its components. Using the latest advances in computing and building technology, the architects reposition the role of man in the natural environment. The firm takes its cues from technology, nature and mankind to provide an enhanced reality and bring new intensity to the artificial environment.
The firm strives to challenge the common perception of architecture as the production of square meters. The projects unify the concepts of structure, space and architectural expression to create a unique, limitless experience.
During the research process, before the design process, questions regarding the latest technology and state-of-the-art media obtain an important role in order to create unique contemporary spatial solutions and atmospheres, LAVA takes this inspiration from technology and media to interweave these factors within the architecture.
“This young German firm teaches us to look at the art of architecture with fresh eyes; and whose work, in the final result, makes buildings and cities useable, sustainable, and exciting," continues Narkiewicz-Laine.
“In the process, we come to experience architecture anew: from how it is imagined to how it is drawn, to the challenges and dynamics that define forward-thinking about time, place, and the environment, and how buildings and urban ideas become constructed and take shape as part of a collective public experience.”
“LAVA successfully uses imagination and intellect combined with social forces and the latest building technologies as both theme and apparatus of their designs, creating a body of work that explores and expresses architecture as a risk-taking, visceral experience.”
“Their work exemplifies the preeminent qualities that have always been associated with the best German architecture: conceptual precision, formal clarity, economy of means, and pristine detailing and craftsmanship,” Narkiewicz-Laine adds.
"In an artistic climate that too often looks backward rather than toward the future, where copies and retrospectives are more prevalent than risk-taking, it is important to honor the architecture of this young European firm.”
• The formal ceremony for what has come to be known throughout the world as Europe’s highest honor for architecture will be held at a Gala Dinner in Athens, Greece—the birthplace of Western Architecture—on September 23, 2016.
• Ticket information is available through The European Centre’s Museum in Athens at +30/210 342 8511 or Ireland at +353/1 670 8781 or in the U.S. at +1/815-777-4444 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
• Throughout 2017, The European Centre will circulate a traveling exhibition on LAVA in Europe and the United States.
• A new book, LAVA Laboratory for Visionary Architecture, is published by Metropolitan Arts Press and accompanies the exhibition. The book is available in December and can be ordered on line at
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