Philippe Ruault

Yesterday, the Barcelona, Spain–based Fundació Mies van der Rohe awarded the 2019 EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award, with a €60,000 ($67,630) purse, to the Transformation of 530 Dwellings - Grand Parc Bordeaux in France by Lacaton & Vassal Architectes, Frédéric Druot Architecture, and Christophe Hutin Architecture. The project involved the renovation of 530 units across three large social housing blocks which cost a total of about $30 million.

“Instead of demolishing, which involves the use of an important amount of energy, in this case the client understood and supported the advantages of transforming the existing three buildings. This has changed people’s lives for the better without underestimating their previous lives, filling the new volume with poetry because it works with the basis that people understand space and in consequence, they use it in very different ways,” the jury noted in its citation. “The architects show a very high acknowledgment of who—a mix of inhabitants—and what—the results from previous research on transformation—they are working with."

Philippe Ruault

The project surfaced from a pool of five finalists announced in February, including Terrassenhaus Berlin / Lobe Block in Berlin by Brandlhuber+ Emde, Burlon and Muck Petzet Architekten; Plasencia Auditorium and Congress Centre in Spain by SelgasCano; PC Caritas in Melle, Belgium, by Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu; and Skanderbeg Square in Tirana, Albania, by 51N4E, Anri Sala, Plant en Houtgoed, and iRI.

Philippe Ruault

The seven-person jury that chose both the finalists and the winner was made up of Dorte Mandrup, founder and creative director of her eponymous Aarhus, Denmark–based architecture firm; George Arbid, associate professor at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon; Angelika Fitz, a Vienna-based cultural theorist, architectural curator, and author; Ștefan Ghenciulescu, editor-in-chief of Romanian architecture magazine Zeppelin; Kamiel Klaasse, principal of Amsterdam-based NL Architects; María Langarita of Madrid-based architecture firm Langarita-Navarro; and Frank McDonald, architect at Chattanooga, Tenn.–based River Street Architecture. The jury also awarded a Special Mention to the E26 (School Refectory) project by BAST.

The awards ceremony will take place on May 7 at Mies' famous Barcelona Pavilion.

Philippe Ruault

Visit ARCHITECT’s Project Gallery to learn more about the Transformation of 530 Dwellings - Grand Parc Bordeaux.