The results of the 2017 European Copper in Architecture Awards 18 have just been announced. The Maersk Tower research complex in Copenhagen, designed by C.F. Møller Architects and characterised by its grid of copper fins, was the outright winner. Two infrastructure projects were Commended and the Hydropolis water sculpture pavilion in Wrocław, Poland, received the Public Choice prize.
Maersk Tower. Photo: Adam Mork
The eighteenth iteration of these biennial architectural awards recognises the growing influence of copper and its alloys in modern design. But it also exposes to a wider international audience inspirational projects, some of which might otherwise go unrecognised. The 2017 judging panel consisted of four architects, all recipients of previous Copper in Architecture Awards: Ebbe Waehrens (BBP ARKITEKTER, Copenhagen), Maxime Enrico, (LAN, Paris), Ville Hara (Avanto Architects, Helsinki) and Craig Casci (GRID Architects, London).
The Award winning projects were assessed from 35 entries from photographs, drawings and architects’ descriptions. Overall architectural design, response to programme and context, importance of copper to the scheme and copper treatment were all considerations. The judges initially selected a shortlist of 8 projects that stood out from the rest and then went on to choose the overall Winner and two Commendations. In addition, registered copperconcept.org visitors voted on-line for their favourite shortlisted entry, resulting in a clear Public Choice Winner.
A unanimous judges’ choice, the Maersk Tower research complex in Copenhagen, designed by C.F. Møller Architects, was the clear Winner. A major landmark building prominent on Copenhagen’s skyline, it nonetheless delivers on many other levels as well. The conceptual development of its complex programme offers a fresh, more openly interactive research building typology enabling interdisciplinary functions to work across and between floors and departments. Its response to urban context is impressive with a gentle curved form making it slim, elegant and sympathetic to its surroundings. And its qualities extend to exceptional detailing throughout with an innovative use of gently animated copper fin facades that moves in response to the solar gain and defines the building.
One of two infrastructure projects to be Commended was the Lahti Travel Centre, Finland, designed by JKMM Architects. The judges welcomed the uniting with copper, which is extremely well detailed and executed, of disparate elements and enhancement of the everyday structures associated with transport interchanges. Politically, this is an outstanding project for the benefits of good design and materials in the public realm, with emphasis on enhancing the travel experience.
The second Commended entry was a pair of entrance portals for the Bosruck Tunnel, Austria, designed by Riepl Riepl Architekten. The judges considered this to be an exemplar of a copper alloy elevating utilitarian structures, here in a challenging environment. The highly architectonic, larger scale approach taken responds to the dramatic landscape location and will enhance the experience of those travelling through the tunnel at speed.
The Public Choice Winner, with by far the most votes cast on copperconcept.org, was a new copper entrance pavilion hosting an innovative ‘water printer’ sculpture. It celebrates the regeneration of the remarkable 19th century reservoir in Wrocław, converted into ‘Hydropolis’ – the only knowledge centre in Poland devoted entirely to water. The copper to the side is punched with holes to mimic computer punch cards in keeping with the water printer theme.
Overall, the judges found their role challenging because of the contrasting types, scales, design approaches and contexts of projects – but also the high quality of entries generally. They commented that the winning and shortlisted projects display very different strengths but all demonstrate that great buildings can be made with copper, whatever their uses. They were also delighted to see all sorts of building typologies benefit from investment in good design and top-quality materials such as copper.
The shortlisted and awarded entries will be celebrated through a promotional programme to an international audience, including an awards brochure, video interviews with winners, social media channels and Copper Architecture Forum magazine – all available via copperconcept.org). More information and images of all the 2017 entries and previous Awards can be viewed at: copperconcept.org/awards.