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Tree nurseries to floating universities: EUmies architecture prize set to announce winning project

The winner of the Mies van der Rohe Award 2024 will be announced on May 14th at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona.
The winner of the Mies van der Rohe Award 2024 will be announced on May 14th at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona. Copyright Credit: EUmies Awards
Copyright Credit: EUmies Awards
By Theo Farrant
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From 362 nominees, 40 finalists compete for a €60,000 prize, with additional recognition for emerging architects.

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Since its inception in 1988, the EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture, also known as the Mies van der Rohe Award, has celebrated excellence in architectural works built across Europe. 

Co-organised by the European Commission and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, the prize is set to announce its winner for its 2024 edition on 14 May at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona.

A jury have whittled down 362 nominees to a shortlist of 40, competing for the main €60,000 prize. The award also includes the Emerging Architect Prize (€30 000).

The awarded projects are not only judged on their aesthetic appeal but also on their conceptual rigour, sustainability, social impact, cultural significance, and technical innovation.

Here are a few of the entries from the 40 shortlist which caught our eye: 

Escadinhas Footpaths

Escadinhas Footpaths
Escadinhas FootpathsCredit: Ivo Tavares Studio/Fotografia de arquitectura
Escadinhas Footpaths
Escadinhas FootpathsCredit: Ivo Tavares Studio/Fotografia de arquitectura

Where? - Matosinhos, Portugal

Who's behind the project? - Paulo Moreira Architectures, Verkron

This project connects architecture, art and the natural world. It is a network of pedestrian footpaths linking the hilly neighbourhood of Monte Xisto to the River Leça, in Matosinhos. 

The initiative demonstrates the value of low-budget initiatives in neglected urban areas.

Led by Moreira Paulo and Colectivo Verkron, it enlisted the help of architects, artists, local builders, and stakeholders to rehabilitate steps, rebuild an old ruin into a seating area, and clean up the surrounding area. 

Floating University Berlin

Floating University
Floating UniversityCredit: Mor Arkadir
Floating University
Floating UniversityCredit: Mor Arkadir

Where? - Berlin, Germany

Who's behind the project? - Floating e.V. Association

Floating University is a nature-culture learning site in a rainwater retention basin of the ex-Tempelhof Airport, serving as both city water infrastructure and wildlife habitat.

Constructed by Floating e.V., it features evolving structures using low-impact materials, including an auditorium, classrooms, workshop spaces, and a kitchen, offering cultural and educational programs focused on urban relationships and sustainability. 

The site's architecture is collaborative and constantly evolving, with a vision to transform the basin into an infiltration system to filter rainwater for reuse, employing reused and biodegradable materials, and a self-built water filtration system.

Art Pavilion M.

The Observatory, the Stage and the Port
The Observatory, the Stage and the PortCredit: Riccardo De Vecchi
The entrance to Art Pavilion M
The entrance to Art Pavilion MCredit: Riccardo De Vecchi

Where? - Almere, The Netherlands

Who's behind the project? - Studio Ossidiana

Art Pavilion M. in Almere is a multimedia museum with three circular elements - a pier, a terrace, and a pavilion - allowing for performances and installations on water. 

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Designed as a public space on water, it offers swimming and fishing, doubles as a promenade during museum hours, and features a pavilion with exhibition rooms enclosed in a timber and polycarbonate structure. 

Built during COVID by Studio Ossidiana, it integrates elements of the surrounding marine past and utilises materials like 'Surf and Turf' terrazzo made from local shells.

Open air swimming pool: FLOW

The basic structure consists of multi-tiered sun decks wrapped around a 17x7m pool.
The basic structure consists of multi-tiered sun decks wrapped around a 17x7m pool.Credit: Annemie Augustijns
FLOW is located on a a triangular site next to the Brussels canal.
FLOW is located on a a triangular site next to the Brussels canal.Credit: Annemie Augustijns

Where? - Anderlecht, Belgium

Who's behind the project? - Decoratelier Jozef Wouters, POOL IS COOL

FLOW is a temporary outdoor swimming pool in Brussels, serving as a call to action for the lack of permanent open-air swimming spots in the city. 

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Designed and built by Decoratelier Jozef Wouters on a derelict site next to the Brussels canal, it aims to encourage authorities to invest in permanent projects while providing a safe and inclusive space for summer relaxation. 

The pool, part of the POOL IS COOL initiative, incorporates basic facilities like changing rooms and showers, as well as multi-tiered sun decks for relaxation, enhanced by decorative elements from local artists. 

The pool features an ecological water purification system with plant filters, and its design allows for future adjustments, disassembly, and reuse, supporting sustainability.

Nursery. 1306 plants for Timișoara

Nursery. 1306 plants for Timișoara
Nursery. 1306 plants for TimișoaraCredit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

Where? -Timișoara, Romania

Who's behind the project? -Maio, Studio Nomadic, Studio Peisaj

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This proposal is a temporary structure in Timisoara's city centre, hosting a tree nursery and spaces for public discussions on public space and greenery use. After its use, the trees will be planted around the city based on citizens' requests. 

It aims to activate urban space, foster discussions, and promote the role of greenery in cities, particularly in sensitive areas like Victory Square. 

Led by Maio, Studio Nomadic and Studio Peisaj, the project integrates local species and horticultural traditions, aiming to foster care, education, and social interaction within the community.

Targ Blonie Food Market

Aerial shot of Targ Blonie Food Market
Aerial shot of Targ Blonie Food MarketCredit: Nate Cook
Shot from inside Targ Blonie Food Market
Shot from inside Targ Blonie Food MarketCredit: Nate Cook Photography

Where? - Błonie, Poland

Who's behind the project? - Pracownia Architektoniczna Aleksandra Wasilkowska

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This renovated market in Blonie, near Warsaw, combines park and bazaar functions, providing space for local agricultural products. 

This hybrid public space combines two social functions: a park and a bazaar. White roofs reflect the sun rays and provide shelter from the rain. The stepped vendor displays can be used as seats and a space for spontaneous meetings. 

Rainwater from the roof is retained in rain bowls, and its excess waters the plants and seeps into the soil. 

Completing the whole design are various public furniture elements, such as bicycle racks, boulders, bird and insect houses, a community table, and a playground with wood-carved animal-shaped rockers.

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