Flexible spaces and architectural reuse – the 5 finalist works at Mies Award 2019

eu-mies-award-bordeaux-dwellings-interior- photo-Philippe-Ruault

The Jury of the EU Mies Award 2019 has selected the five finalist works for this year’s edition of the prize.  They are: PC CARITAS in Melle by architecten de vylder vinck taillieu ; Plasencia Auditorium and Congress Centre by selgascano ; Skanderbeg Square in Tirana by 51N4E, Anri Sala, Plant en Houtgoed and iRI ; Terrassenhaus Berlin/Lobe Block by Brandlhuber+ Emde, Burlon and Muck Petzet Architekten ; Transformation of 530 dwellings – Grand Parc Bordeaux by Lacaton & Vassal architects, Frédéric Druot Architecture and Christophe Hutin Architecture.

Two of them – PC Caritas in Belgium and Grand Parc Bordeaux in France – are adaptive reuse projects; the first of them has been capable to invent a new spatial typology which also creates a network of social relationships; the second one improve the living standards of 530 residential units also by adding a winter garden to each of them.
The theme of functional flexibility is well represented by the Terrassenhaus Berlin / Lobe Block, while the renovation of Skanderbeg Square, in Tirana, has been considered the cornerstone of the future urban renovation of the city.

Skanderbeg Square City – Tirana, Albania
Offices: 51N4E; Anri Sala; Plant en Houtgoed and iRI

The Skanderbeg Square public space renovation has been conceived from the beginning as the start of the urban renovation of Tirana. The project is particularly significant both as a new space in which the local community can gather every day and as a seminal work which can trigger, in the near future, the redevelopment of the urban areas nearby as well as of the streets which connect such areas to the newly renovated square. The green belt which encircles the Skanderbeg Square comprises twelve gardens whose design was developed in a number of public workshops.

eu-mies-award-tirana-square-photo-Filip Dujardin


 51N4E; Anri Sala; Plant en Houtgoed and iRI, Skanderbeg Square City – Tirana, Albania; photos Filip Dujardin.

PC CARITAS – Melle, Belgium
Office: Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu

Dating back to the 19th century, The Sint-Jozef building is part of the Caritas di Melle psychiatric center. Abandoned for a long time, the building was saved from demolition and transformed into a hybrid between a closed and an open-air space. The collaborative design team – which comprised aDVVT architects, the medical staff, and the patients of the center – devised a place, part of a public park, which can be used by both the patients and the local community. The old building was restored, repaired and improved; the openings were enlarged to increase natural lighting, internal and external spaces were connected through a sequence of small courtyards, both protected and welcoming.




Architecten De Vylder Vinck TaillieuPC CARITAS, Melle, Belgium, photos Filip Dujardin

Terrassenhaus Berlin / Lobe Block – Berlin, Germany
Offices: Brandlhuber+Emde, Burlon, and Muck Petzet Architekten

Terrassenhaus Berlin is a mixed-use building with two interesting elements. The first element is how external spaces have been maximized, thanks to a ziggurat-like design which allowed to create large terraces on each level and a public space on top of the building which can be reached through two long stairways. The second interesting point is the functional flexibility of the residential units, which only include central cores with elevators and bathrooms. Due to its stepped profile, the building contains units of different floor areas, from 26 square meters on the ground floor to 11 square meters on the top floor, as well as an art gallery, a co-working space, offices, a residence for artists, and workshops.



Brandlhuber+Emde, Burlon and Muck Petzet Architekten, Terrassenhaus Berlin / Lobe Block – Berlin, Germany, photos Erica Overmeer, David von Becker

Transformation of 530 dwellings – Grand Parc Bordeaux – Bordeaux, France
Offices: Lacaton & Vassal architectes; Frédéric Druot Architecture and Christophe Hutin Architecture

This is the renovation project of three 1960s residential blocks comprising 530 units in total.
The project’s aim was to improve the quality of life of the people living in each residential unit, maintaining their distinguishing features while at the same time adding new spaces when appropriate. A second facade with winter gardens and terraces was added to the old facade, thus expanding the size of the apartments and providing them with more daylight. The small windows of the old buildings were replaced by larger sliding doors opening onto the winter gardens. Another interesting aspect is that not a single resident was relocated during the renovation works, thanks to the modular prefabrication construction system adopted.


drawing: Lacaton & Vassal architectes; Frédéric Druot Architecture and Christophe Hutin Architecture



above and cover image:
Lacaton & Vassal architectes; Frédéric Druot Architecture and Christophe Hutin Architecture  Transformation of 530 dwellings – Grand Parc Bordeaux, France. Photos Philippe Ruault

Plasencia Auditorium and Congress Centre – Plasencia, Spain
Office: selgascano

The Plasencia Auditorium, in the Extremadura region of Spain, was intended by selgascano as an opportunity to create a “protected island” within an urban expansion area. The small footprint of the ground floor of the building – which contains the auditorium’s stage and orchestra stalls – makes it look like an “alien” object gently landed on the ground.
The main entrance, located 17 meters above the ground floor level, can be reached through a panoramic footbridge which also provides spectacular views of the countryside and the Sierra de Gata mountains.

eu-mies-award-selgascano-auditorium-photo-IWAN BAAN-9

eu-mies-award-selgascano-auditorium-photo-IWAN BAAN-19

 selgascano, Plasencia Auditorium and Congress Centre – Plasencia, Spain ; photos Iwan Baan


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