The winners of the ECOLA Award 2012 are determined

21. May 2012 - 13:07

On 27 April 2012, the decision on the winners of the 2012 ECOLA-Award was made in Berlin. The award with the subject “The Use of Render/Plaster in Architecture” is divided into two categories: Conversion / Transformation / Re-use and New Buildings, each complemented with the special category of CO2–optimised Building. Under the chairmanship of Jørgen Bach from the Aarhus-based office Arkitema Architects, the five-member jury awarded four first prizes and one honorary mention. In the preliminary phase, 140 projects from 13 countries had been nominated for this competition.

The ECOLA-Award (until 2004 “Bundesdeutscher Architekturpreis Putz”), which is organised every two years, has already been awarded for the seventh time. 19 architects from 13 European countries nominated 140 projects for the architecture award, which is initiated by Sto AG and the Federal Association for Finishing and Facades in the ZDB. The requirement for this process was the use of plaster as a building material characterising the architecture. 33 projects came under the category of Refurbishment/Renovation/Conversion, 107 under the New Building category, 100 of which complied with the criteria of “CO2-optimised Building”. With this category ECOLA acknowledges projects which combine design quality with energy-efficient planning on a high level.

By tradition, the jury session took place at the Berlin branch of Sto AG. The jury comprised the following members: Jørgen Bach, Arkitema Architects, Aarhus, DK (Jury-Vorsitzender); Kjetil T. Thorsen, Snøhetta AS, Oslo, NO; Cino Zucchi, Cino Zucchi Architetti, Milan, IT; Leo Modrcin, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Architecture, Zagreb, HR; Tobias Krug, WWF Deutschland, Berlin, DE. In the four available categories they awarded one first prize each. Additionally, they decided on one special mention.


Winners of the ECOLA-Award

First prize: Refurbishment/Renovation/Conversion
Phantom Opera Restaurant in Paris, FR
Architects: Odile Decq Benoît Cornette Architectes Urbanistes, Paris, FR

First prize: CO2-optimised Building - Refurbishment/Renovation/Conversion
Schmuck Residence in Frankfurt / Main, DE
Architects: Meixner Schlüter Wendt Architekten, Frankfurt / Main, DE

First prize: New Buildings
Noivoiloro Civic Centre in Erba, IT
Architects: ifdesign, Milan, IT

First prize: CO2-optimised New Buildings
Atrium House on Gotland, SE
Architects: Tham  & Videgård Arkitekter, Stockholm, SE

Special Mention
Concert Hall in Aguilas, ES
Architects: Estudio Barozzi Veiga, Barcelona, ES

Jury chairman Jørgen Bach was fascinated by the affinity of the Atrium House, which is located on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, with the location both in terms of the design and the material quality. “The atrium house creates a completely enclosed courtyard, which provides a sheltered environment and microclimate. The use of natural materials and colours gives the small holiday house a very genial and warm atmosphere.” 
Kjetil T. Thorsen considers the courageous addition of a mezzanine level to the historic envelope of the restaurants in the Opera Garnier in Paris an outstanding project, the complexity of which is both irritating and fascinating: “Without any joints, the white and hard moulded plaster hull of the mezzanine structure curves itself into position and touches the floor by separating itself into slender columns. The mezzanine interior welcomes its visitors in a soft, red and intimate environment. This duality, both in materiality and in colour, clearly describes the relationship between esoteric and physical conditions typical for an opera.”


Not just the architecture of the civic centre in the small Italian town of Erba deserves acknowledgement, but also the non-profit organisation dedicating itself to the care of disabled people with the construction of the Noivoiloro complex. Cino Zucchi considers the “social sustainability, as well as economical and ecological ones, as the key issues in a period of economical crisis, and the Noivoiloro project shows a way to listen and respond to these issues through a convincing architectural strategy and careful design“.


The ECOLA competition ends with a conference, which will take place from 04 – 06 October 2012 in Croatia. All award winners as well as the competition and nomination jury members are cordially invited. As for the competition, the topic of the conference will be plaster. In lectures and workshops, the participants will deal with applications of plaster in architecture as well as with technical and design-related developments. The highlight of the event will be the festive ECOLA-Award ceremony.

The award jury, from l.t.r. Cino Zucchi, Kjetil T. Thorsen, Jørgen Bach (jury chairman), Leo Modrcin, Tobias Krug