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Winners of European Copper in Architecture Awards 14

Chris Hodson

Winners of the 14th Awards were announced at a presentation ceremony in London in September 2009. With almost 50 entries from 16 countries, the Awards revealed an exceptional diversity of projects representing the very best in contemporary European architecture.

Selected from five shortlisted projects, the outright Winner was the Archaeology Museum of Vitoria, Spain, designed by Mangado y Asociados. Extensive use of cast bronze elements creates contrasting elevational treatments. From the street it seems tough and hermetic with a real air of mystery enticing the visitor in. Then, it reveals more of its nature and grows increasingly open with the changing architectural rhythm on entering the courtyard. The judges were particularly impressed with the building’s stunning effect of a timeless fortress in its urban setting.

Also from Spain, Mediacomplex 22@ in Barcelona by Patrick Genard y Asociados and Ferrater & Asociados was Highly Commended by the judges for its superb response to a tight, complex urban setting, forming new public spaces of lasting value. Here, a solid, horizontal block clad with panels of perforated copper contrasts with a vertical tower shrouded in a strong vertical grid of deeply recessed, copper-faced screens.

Three other projects received Commendations. Davide Macullo Architects’ sensitive design for the Ticino House responds to its beautiful rural setting in Switzerland and incorporates an extensive arrangement of copper mesh panels. In complete contrast, the Clip House in Madrid, Spain, by Bernalte-León Asociados is a highly sculptural design defined by sinuous curving copper bands cantilevered from a vertical concrete spine. Finally, the judges considered Dissing+Weitling Architecture’s copper-clad Frederikskaj project in Copenhagen, Denmark to set the standard for high-density urban housing.

In addition, a discretionary award for Innovation was made for the inventive use of art applied to bronze panels on Stanton Williams’ Bristol Department Store. The essential role of craftsmen in realising designers’ aspirations for copper in architecture was also recognised with three Craftsmanship awards for projects in Belgium and the UK.

The well-established Copper in Architecture Awards recognise architectural excellence and celebrate the use of copper in all its forms. The last two decades have seen their transformation from a UK-based programme highlighting craftsmanship, into a major, design-led Awards event for projects across Europe. For the first time, the 2009 Awards considered all entries together - judged by a European panel of eight architects and editors, chaired by Paul Finch, the recently appointed chairman of CABE - the UK government’s advisors on architecture and urban design.

The European Copper in Architecture Awards programme is part of the European Copper in Architecture Campaign, promoted by Copper Development Association and participating copper fabricators. Full details of Awards 14 and previous Awards can be found at www.copperinfo.co.uk/arch or www.copperconcept.org.

Related articles: 
Archeology Museum of Vitoria, SpainMediaComplex 22@, SpainHouse in Ticino, SwitzerlandClip House, Madrid, SpainHousing at Frederikskaj, Copenhagen

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