Utopia – Library and Academy for Performing Arts in Belgium and Institut des Sciences Moléculaires d’Orsay in France have been nominated for 2019 edition of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award just months after their official release earlier this year.
Both buildings represent landmarks in their respective communities – Utopia as long-awaited cultural hub of Aalst, Belgium and ISMO as a flagship of the new urban campus in France. Complex programmes merging multiple functions and careful contextual design are other common aspects of the nominated projects.
Utopia Library and Academy for Performing Arts incorporates a striking historic building from the second half of the 19th century and rejuvenates the urban landscape while elegantly giving expression to the required functionality. The project was carried out through close collaboration between KAAN Architecten as designer and Van Roey as main contractor. Meanwhile, Institut des Sciences Moléculaires d’Orsay, designed in collaboration with local architects FRES Architectes as a part of the future Paris-Saclay campus, is dedicated to higher education, research and innovation.
Other KAAN Architecten projects nominated in the previous editions of the EU Mies Award include Education Centre Erasmus MC and the Supreme Court of The Netherlands. Organised by the Fundació Mies van der Rohe with support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Commission, the Award is dedicated to recognizing and commending excellence in European architecture. The Jury will announce the 40 shortlisted works at the beginning of 2019, while the 5 Finalist works will be known in February.
Photographs courtesy of Fernando Guerra FG+SG, Delfino Sisto Legnani e Marco Cappelletti.