Strong geometric shapes and a variety of typologies and materials make up for an exciting list of finalists for this year's coveted Mies van der Rohe Award. The biannual prize, organized by the European Commission and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe in Spain, is now on its 26th year and the five schemes to compete for the honour have just been announced.
Nominees include: the Ravensburg Art Museum in Germany by LedererRagnarsdóttirOei; the Danish Maritime Museum by BIG; the Antinori Winery in Italy by Archea Associati; the Philharmonic Hall Szczecin in Poland by Barozzi / Veiga; and the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre LSE in London by recent RIBA Gold Medal winners O'Donnell + Tuomey.
The Mies van der Rohe award is all about built work, but the nominations can be of any scale or typology. Select institutions and experts propose their respective country's best buildings of the last two years - this is an award the architects cannot enter directly, which surely adds to its appeal. This year's submissions counted a grand total of 420 projects. These were whittled down to a shortlist of 40, which in turn provided the five finalists.
It is all about supporting and celebrating contemporary architecture, says the Mies van der Rohe Foundation's Director, Giovanna Carnevali. And this is embodied in their famous headquarters in Barcelona, the reconstructed Mies van der Rohe pavilion. 'The pavilion represents in a way the beginning of modern architecture', says Carnevali. 'It is timeless'.
The ceremony and festivities to announce the winners of this year's EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture - 2015 Mies van der Rohe Award will take place in Barcelona on 8 May.