The Simon Architecture Prize uses video to connect space and experience

Barcelona – In a society where design is frequently praised for its aesthetic appeal, it’s nice to have an award that recognizes excellence in design for end-user comfort. That’s where the Living Places - Simon Architecture Prize comes in: the unique, cinematic award has returned for a second edition, and this time it includes projects that span across European and Mexican soil.

Organizers Simon and the Mies van der Rohe Foundation ask participants to push beyond aesthetic merit and show their spaces, put to the test of life. Participants are asked to convey the project’s atmospheric merit from the inhabitants’ perspective via video, rather than just submitting images and plans that show ‘degree 0’ architecture — where spaces are captured prior to handover. Communicating both intimate and collective experience is explored across two categories in the Living Places - Simon Architecture Prize: Personal Places and Collective Places.

Winner of the 2016 Personal Places category: Transformation of 530 dwellings, block G, H, I, Bordeaux, France, designed by Lacaton&Vassal, Frédéric Druot and Christophe Hutin, pictured above at the awards ceremony. 
Project Photography Philippe Ruault

The Personal Places category allows architects to explore the domestic interplay between people and design. Last year’s winning project — a transformation of 530 social-housing dwellings in Bordeaux, France designed by Lacaton&Vassal, Frédéric Druot and Christophe Hutin — makes individuality the rule by providing residents with a generous balcony and winter garden extension. In the submission video, pet birds chatter beside a reflective solitary figure in a winter garden, while a clan of children hurriedly chase one another by plastic bike or foot on a balcony nearby.

Winner of the 2016 Collective Places category: Sala Beckett Theatre and International Drama Centre, Barcelona, designed by Flores & Prats Arquitectos, pictured above at the awards ceremony. 
Project Photography Adrià Goula

In the Collective Places category, architects explore projects where public life unfolds, — and in the case of last year’s winner — what also once was. The winning social-club-cum-drama-centre Sala Beckett in Barcelona is a building full of history, memory and future hope. An appropriately theatrical score accompanies layered monologues of fond memories from the buildings’ past inhabitants. A journey through the space is attentive to details, as if a first-time visitor holds the camera. The drama centre was designed by Flores & Prats Arquitectos, and Ricardo Flores of the design studio will be returning for the second edition, this time as a jury member.

Flores will be joined by an internationally renowned jury: architect and video-maker Davide Rapp, Makers of Barcelona’s Cecilia Tham, Simon Group’s Salvi Plaja and Mexican architect Frida Escobedo of Taller de Arquitectura. Despite only focusing on European architecture in its first edition, the Simon Group invites projects from the Mexican territory to enter.

Registration is open until September 10, 2018.
simonprize vimeo

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