The innovative renovation of apartments bulding by NL architects and XVW architectuur, wins the EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies Van Der Rohe Award 2017

News Infurma15/05/2017

DeFlat Kleiburg in Amsterdam by NL architects and XVW architectuur has been the winner of the EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies Van Der Rohe Award 2017. For its part, the Brussels studios MSA/V+, has been the winner of the Emerging Architect Prize. With these two awards the Jury of the Prize highlights the quality and relevance of the collective housing program. For the first time the main Award goes to a project of renovation of an existing building.

At a press conference hold the last Friday in Brussels, the European Commission and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe have announced the winners of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award 2017.

DeFlatKleiburg in Amsterdam is the 2017 Winner of Prize. The architects are NL architects and XVW architectuur and the client Kondor Wessels Vastgoed. DeFlat is an innovative renovation of one of the biggest apartment buildings in The Netherlands called Kleiburg, a bend slab with 500 apartments in Amsterdam's Bijlmermeer neighbourhood. Consortium DeFlat rescued the building from the wrecking ball by turning it into a “Klusflat“, meaning that the inhabitants renovate their apartments by themselves.

NL architects were awarded the Emerging Architect Prize of the EU Mies Award in 2005 for their work BasketBar in Utrecht.

The 2017 Emerging Architect Prize has been awarded to the Brussels studios MSA/V+ for the work NAVEZ - 5 social units at thenorthern entrance of Brussels, a housing project that fulfills the double ambition of the local authorities: to represent the urban revalidation scheme with a landmark at the entrance of the city and to provide exemplary apartments for large families. The client is the City of Schaerbeek.

The two awarded projects have been chosen from a list of 355 works from 36 European countries. Five finalists were selected and visited by the Jury: Rivesaltes Memorial Museum, Katyn Museum in Warsaw, DeFlatKleiburg in Amsterdam, Kannikegården in Ribe and Ely Court in London, accompanied by the authors of the works, who also gave lectures open to the public.

The Jury has selected the two awarded works for the following reasons:


The Jury valued that the project is a collective effort by many people. The architectural concept was to transform the megablock into a contemporary residential building with flexibility in internal planning, and creating a new edge to the street and the landscape - and yet do as little as possible. They considered it to be ‘both heroic and ordinary at the same time’. As the Jury Chairman said, “It challenges current solutions to the housing crisis in European cities, where too often the only ambition is to build more homes year-on-year, while the more profound question of what type of housing should be built goes unanswered. Kleiburg helps us imagine a new kind of architectural project, which responds to changing household patterns and lifestyles in the twenty-first century. A revitalisation of typologies of the past is as relevant as experimenting with new, untested models in this quest, just as radically transforming existing buildings is.”

The project inspires reflection on the new and complex reality of contemporary living. It proposes new forms of “affordable housing”, adding to what is universally a complex and multi-layered offer (ranging from fully subsidized rent to shared ownership and rent-purchase schemes) by providing options for the large majority who have a little money but cannot afford to get on the conventional property ladder. This is low-cost habitable space (€1,200 per m2) - a fantastic new option that does not currently exist.

Name of Work: DeFlat Kleiburg, Amsterdam, NL
Offices: NL architects and XVW architectuur, Amsterdam
Authors: Pieter Bannenberg (NL), Van Walter Dijk (NL), Kamiel Klaasse (NL) and Xander Vermeulen Windsant (NL)

NAVEZ - 5 social units as Northern entrance of Brussels

The Jury conveyed that housing is a vital topic throughout Europe and felt that MSA/V+ understood well and solved brilliantly the constructive and economic constraints of the programme and its site: 5 flats in a very small corner at the northern entrance of the city of Brussels. The Jury appreciated the high quality of the flats, which are unique and all provided with natural light from all orientations, outdoor spaces, impressive views and dynamic spatial experiences both in common and private spaces. They also recognised that the architects had carefully and meticulously worked with the integration of the building in the neighbourhood and the request to create a landmark.

Name of Work: NAVEZ - 5 social units as Northern entrance of Brussels, Belgium
Offices: MSA / V+
Authors: Jean-Marc Simon (BE); Alain Simon (BE); Benoit Moritz (BE); Julien Deloffre (FR); Thierry Decuypere (BE)

In the run-up to the awards ceremony (between May 20 and 25), the finalist and winning buildingsof the current edition will organize activities to open their doors to the public and the press.

Michel Magnier, Director for Culture and Creativity, DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture of the European Commission and Daniel Mòdol, President of the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, will grant the winners the prizes of 60,000€ (primary prize) and 20,000€ (emerging architect prize) on May 26 at the Mies van der RohePavilionin Barcelona.

The EU Mies Award Day on May 26 will also include the opening of two exhibitions:

  • “Made in Europe”, which will present some of the models collected by the Prize since 1988in 11 containers.
  • “2017 EU Mies Award exhibition” will include models, texts, sketches and drawings of the works. The exhibition will travel around Europe and internationally in the next 18 months, with its first stop at BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts Brussels in September2017.

During the same day,“Mies Talks” on ‘Collective housing and regeneration’ and ‘Contemporary architecture and heritage’ will allow Winners, Finalists, shortlisted, clients and people interested to debate on the emerging topics highlighted by the Jury.

The day will end with the Award Ceremonyat the Barcelona Mies van der Rohe Pavilion at 20:30h and a celebration that will also close the Barcelona Architecture Week.

In order to bring the Prize closer to the citizens, and spread knowledge about good architecture, the Fundació Mies van der Rohe has prepared a mobile app so that everyone can view all the works nominated in this year's edition of the Award in their mobile phone and find out exactly where they are and how to get there. In addition to the works nominated for the 2017 edition, the cities of Berlin, London, Dublin, Paris and Barcelona have included all the works nominated in every edition.

Prize Calendar:

12 May 2017 - Prize Winner and the Emerging Architect Winner Announcement in Brussels

19 May 2017 - “Made in Europe” and “2017 EU Mies Award exhibition” open to public

20 May 2017 - Mobile App “EU Mies Award” launch

20-28 May 2017 - The 4 Finalist works, the Winner and the Emerging Architect buildings will organize activities to bring closer the architecture to the public

20-26 May 2017 - Barcelona Architecture Week: a wide range of activities related to the world of architecture and the city, coorganized with the participation of different institutions including Barcelona City Council, the College of Architects of Catalonia (COAC) and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe.It will culminate on May 26th with the delivery of the Prize.

26 May 2017 - Granting Ceremony, Mies Talks and presentation of the Prize 2017 Catalogue.

Source: Fundació Mies van der Rohe

Photos: ©StijnSpoelstra y ©MSA/V+

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