Buildings of the year and awarded architects at RIFF 2014

Impressive architectural facades, creative ways to rethink the built environment, successful examples, awarded in the most recent editions of architecture competitions at national and European level, will be presented on November 10 and 11, at RIFF 2014. The expo conference will be attended by exceptional architects from 11 countries including Iceland, Turkey, Kuwait, the Netherlands and Romania.

Harpa – Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre, Iceland – designed by arch. Osbjorn Jaconbsen of Henning Larsen Architects, is the 2013 Mies van der Rohe 2013 Award Winner. Harpa gathers inspiration from the northern lights and the dramatic Icelandic scenery. Situated on the border between land and sea, the Concert Hall stands out as a large, radiant sculpture reflecting both sky and harbour space as well as the vibrant life of the city. The Concert Hall of 28,000 m2 is situated in a solitary spot with a clear view of the enormous sea and the mountains surrounding Reykjavik. The building features an arrival and foyer area in the front of the building, four halls in the middle and a backstage area with offices, administration, rehearsal hall and changing room in the back of the building. The three large halls are placed next to each other with public access on the south side and backstage access from the north. The fourth floor is a multifunctional hall with room for more intimate shows and banquets.

New Sulaibikhat Medical Center, Kuweit/Spain – designed by arch. Joaquín PÉREZ-GOICOECHEA together with AGi architects, stands as a pioneer in the healthcare sector, where challenging issues such as privacy and security are addressed using a new model, where courtyards attached to the façade are the driving element behind this unique typology. The program occupies the entirety of the site, and from afar the building is viewed as a monolithic element solidifying its ground and creating a high walled fortress protecting from vandalism and maximizing privacy. The courtyards are carved into the building, allowing for natural light into all the clinics. The concept of the façade generating light, views and ventilation is reversed; and the courtyards are brought inwards from the perimeter creating further privacy enhanced by a metal mesh with a geometrical pattern where sufficient light can penetrate, constructing a veiled threshold in between the exterior and the internal courtyards.

C.A.P, Romania – designed by arch. Mario Kuibuş and  Re-Act Now architecture office, the concept house in a reprezentative area in Bucharest apears as both a subject and an object, towards becoming a place of fashionable meetings and events. An implementation in the height of the building has appeared as a necessity to the functional role of a belvedere point, while completing the concept through the 360 degree view above the neighboring areas and the entire city. The architects have considered as a major gesture for our building the classical syntagma of the composed object: sculpture and pedestal. The sensation of levitation between the classical pedestal and the abstract bronze intervention stresses upon the duality amidst the old and the new, while revealing the special function of the belvedere point present at this height. The gigantic bronze canopy captivates, protects and intrigues the viewer towards the street, suffering an undefined transformation towards the back of the house. The house is a sign within the city, a sign that notes the identity of the place in replenished coordinates. the superelevation of the house is in fact a Cantilevered Abstract Product of the city. is a c.a.p.

Muzeul De Fundatie, The Netherlands – designed by arch. Hubert-Jan HENKET of Bierman Henket architecten, the Museum De Fundatie in Zwolle, situated on the border between the mediaeval city centre and the open 19th century parkland with its canals, has been extended with a spectacular volume on the roof of the former Palace of Justice. Bierman Henket architecten designed the extension of the former courthouse in 2010. Architect Hubert-Jan Henket succeeded in persuading the client not to add an extension next to the existing building: this would have destroyed its solitary and symmetrical character. An underground extension proved spatially too complicated. Instead Henket designed an extension with an autonomous volume on top of the monumental building. In the same way that the Palace of Justice links two worlds in a horizontal direction, Henket couples the classical, static building with the fl uid dynamics of a contemporary extension in a vertical direction. The superstructure, just like the substructure, is symmetrical in two directions, but the shape rather resembles a rugby ball. Together, the two totally-different volumes form a new urban entity. There are also two contrasting interpretations in the interior: the classical succession of rectangular museum halls below versus the fl uid, open  spaces in the elliptical volume above.

Selcuklu Congress Center, Turkey – the lack of an efficient cultural center is motivated the Municipality of Selcuk to establish a multi-use urban structure that houses all kinds of social activities including annual rituals of Sufi Semah. The concept of the building, created by arch. Murat Tabanliogly of Tabanlioglu Architects, is a contemporary reinterpretation of a kulliyyah open to all citizens, a 365-day open meeting center for social, cultural and even personal purposes. The functions of the building include a 2200-seat concert/congress hall, 800-seat theatre, 1000 person capacity ball-room, pocket cinemas, workshops, smaller meeting and VIP rooms, cafe and restaurant. The building will be in service for scheduled performances, exhibitions as well as continuous education atelier programs, or even for wedding parties.

Urban Spaces, România – The “Urban Spaces” residential on Dogaru Street, in Bucharest, created by arch. Andrei Şerbescu and ADNBA, is one of the most highly-appreciated recent architectural projects in Romania. In July, the project won the Architecture section, housing category at the Bucharest Architecture Annual – XII edition 2014. The project is recognized worldwide as well, being the only project developed by Romanian architects among the finalists of the 2014 World of Architecture Festival, which will take place in October in Singapore, one of the most famous international architectural competitions. The project ries to mediate between different sizes and densities, in a quite central neighborhood characterized by small streets, long, narrow plots and a puzzle of old and new buildings of all types and scales. The building searches to preserve, at its own scale, the porosity and “profoundness” of the deep, narrow plots, while also trying to capture part of the “collage”-like appearance of the surroundings. At the same time, the project proposes a type of habitation which we consider suitable for the center of the contemporary city: a place where the relatively small spaces and the density are complemented by diversity and wider common spaces. Most of the apartments are different from one another, not only in size, but especially in typology: they range from studios to four-bedroom apartments – each one of them laying on one, two or even three floors and having private courtyards, balconies or terraces of different sizes.


RIFF is part of the series of international architecture expo conferences organised by ABplus Events in 2014, in Bucharest, Warsaw and Budapest, together with the Order of the Architects of Romania, the Association of Polish Architects and the Chamber of Hungarian Architects.


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