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Velux Award 2014: Special Jury Prizes

This year’s Special Jury Prizes go to three projects from China, creating lantern-like cocoons, repurposing an old dyeing factory and infilling bullet holes with optical fibres

Dancing of the Light

The Dancing of Light

Students: Zhengyu Cheng, Jackie Leong Shong Yong, Zhaoqi Ge and He Huang

Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Teacher: Gong Dong

The project is based on a meditative space with a spatial ambience created by light reflected in semi-transparent cocoon-shaped structures. Each cocoon has its own subtly distinct form, to channel light. Light and shadow changes over time as if the space is breathing slowly due to the action of light. Traditional Chinese rice paper is employed as the light reflective material in these cocoon-shaped structures. The characteristic of this paper is its distinctive texture and translucency.

Jury comment

The project is extremely sophisticated in its presentation and the students have worked successfully with scale models. It is a purely meditative project that hinges on the phenomenological experience of light and shadow. Although the jury might have wished that the project had shown more engagement with the world, it stimulated a worthwhile and important discussion.

Dyeing the Sunshine

Dyeing the Sunshine

Students: Sun Erqi, Yu Xiao and Han ShiLin

Tianjin University, Tianjin, China

Teachers: Zheng Ying, Zhang Xinnan, Hu Yike

Fez in Morocco was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1981 in recognition of its ancient cultural heritage and leather industry. The redundant leather dyeing factory is not accessible to the public, so the project idea is to replace the bottom of each dye vat with a transparent surface. This lets sunshine into a new underground space, where visitors will experience colourful columns of light. At night, the vats are lit from below and the factory will be bathed in pockets of colour, like an illuminated artist’s palette.

Jury comment

The project is honoured for its reworking of existing structures as well as for its strong and colourful concept. It is coherently articulated and an unusual example of how to re-use historic architecture and create new public space in a bold yet sensitive way. The jury would have appreciated some more considerations around its actual making, but as a student project, it has remarkable qualities.

Light Memory

Light-Memory of the Wounds

Students: Huang Haiyang, Bai Jiachen and Min Jiajian

Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Teacher: Hui Wang

During the Iraq War of 2003, the people who suffered most were unarmed civilians − people who had up until then been leading peaceful, normal lives. Tens of thousands of civilians lost their lives during the conflict and thousands of buildings remain riddled with bullet holes, as a moving testament to the violence and insanity of war. The idea of this project is to fill these holes with flowers made of optical fibres that soften and smooth the light inside, soothing the wounds of war and acting as an impromptu memorial.

Jury comment

The project represents an extremely simple idea and a strong political statement against violence and war. The gesture of inserting flowers in the wall makes reference to placing flowers on a grave, or offering flowers to fighting soldiers; trying to elevate something truly terrible and incomprehensible into something beautiful and transcendent.

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