The winners of the Wienerberger 2012 Brick Award have been announced. Overall winner is the Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre at the Mapungubwe National Park in South Africa. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003, Mapungubwe is one of the most distinctive and culturally resonant landscapes in southern Africa.
Architect Peter Rich, an authority on the local culture and tradition, together with Michael Ramage and John Ochsendorf, designed the new visitors’ centre to be ‘at one with nature’. Informed by vernacular precedents and his knowledge of remote areas, Rich has created a building in which the exhibits, local archaeological finds and museum combine to bear powerful witness to the area’s ancient history.
In the Single Family House category, architect Bart Lens impressed the jury with his project entitled ‘The Rabbit Hole’, in the Belgian town of Gaasbeek. Breathing new life into an existing half-collapsed brick farmhouse, he tactfully realised a scheme which encompasses both a residence and veterinary practice, while creating a light-filled intermediate space between the two buildings.
The work of Lisbon-based architects Francisco and Manuel Aires Mateus exhibits an exceptional sensibility, earning it this year’s Wienerberger Brick Award in the category of Residential Building. The partnership’s apartment block for elderly people in Alcácer do Sal shows that functionality and a social programme need not compromise architectural quality.
For the upcoming 2012 Olympics in London, Scottish architectural firm NORD designed an electrical substation made of coal-black bricks. The monolithic structure, with its uncompromising straight lines and sharp angles, stands out for its crisply articulated contrasts and abstract sculptural quality. Winner of the Conversion category is a weekend home and studio in Čachtice by Bratislava-based architect Pavol Paňák, which transforms an old ruin into a luminous, contemporary building. Over a period of 10 years, undertaking most of the renovations himself, the architect remodelled a former brick kiln into his own personal retreat.
‘Once again, we are impressed by the tremendous creativity of these architects in using brick products as an integral part of their projects,’ says Heimo Scheuch, CEO of Wienerberger AG. ‘Through their skill and ingenuity, brick is given the forum it deserves.’
The Wienerberger Brick Award has been awarded every two years since 2004. With 232 plants in 27 countries, Wienerberger is the world’s largest brick producer.