Selected from seven shortlisted projects, the outright winner was the Chapel of St. Lawrence, Vantaa, Finland, designed by Avanto Arkkitehdit. This dedicated cemetery chapel aims to reconcile the emotional needs of mourners with the pragmatic demands of funerals. The building uses similar materials to the old structures in the area and the roof is patinated copper, like the roof of the old church. Many of the ceilings are finished with removable, perforated copper trays. The glazed walls toward the graveyard in the chapels are covered with a patinated copper mesh, which functions as a screen between the outside and the internal spaces of the chapel.
The jury found this project a highly compelling and atmospheric study in the handling of space, light and materials. In particular, copper is used to evoke a tranquil sense of the numinous, creating an appropriately solemn, yet nonetheless uplifting, setting for the rituals of death and parting.
Diane Heirend & Philippe Schmit architects’ thoroughly contemporary intervention at Villa Vauban, the Musée d’Art de la Ville de Luxembourg, was Highly Commended. The jury was extremely impressed by this new addition to an existing art museum. Although the new parts are conspicuously of their time, they form a sensitively judged counterpoint both to the original historic building and the surrounding parkland landscape. The new extension is wrapped in delicately perforated panels of brass, and the jury especially admired how this metal skin appears to dissolve when viewed at night, changing from an opaque surface to a sensuously glowing, translucent veil.
Two Commendations followed. Fritsch und Schlüter Architekten’s House in Seeheim, Germany, abstracts the traditional archetype of the gabled, suburban villa. There was evident skill in the way that pre-oxidised panels of copper were used to clad the exterior, creating an elegantly smooth carapace. The jury was also impressed with the imaginative approach to materials with brass cladding on Make’s project in Weymouth Street, London. The perforated brass balcony frames, which filter light and cast a pattern of rippling shadows around the interiors of the flats, are particularly seductive.
Finally, Studio Weave’s design for Freya’s Cabin lake-side visitor shelter in Northumberland, UK, received the Judges’ Special Prize. The award recognised this unusual submission’s folk tale narratives woven around a compact, jewel-like cabin cloaked in a golden copper alloy.
This year’s judging panel consisted of four architects – all recipients of previous Copper in Architecture Awards – Einar Jarmund, Patrick Genard, Pia Salin and Keith Williams. Architectural Review Editor Catherine Slessor chaired the panel.