On June 9, 2022, during a ceremony in Vienna, awards were presented in the prestigious Brick International Prize Poll. This competition dates back to 2004 – it was the first time that Wienerberger, one of the leading manufacturers of building ceramics, organized an overview of projects erected using bricks or other ceramic products from around the world. Most importantly – they did not have to come from this factory. The aim of the competition was to draw attention to the possibilities offered by a natural material that is close to human and ecological, namely bricks.
International Architecture Competition Results
The Brick Award competition has been popular in Poland for years, and its Polish version has been held for years, whereby the objects representing our country were subsequently selected in the international version by public referendum. However, competition in Poland was really tumultuous in 2020, when the headquarters of the Department of Radio and Television of the University of Silesia in Katowice won the 2020 Brick major award, BAAS Arquitectura, Grupa 5 Architekci and MAŁECCY Biuro projektowe.
The Brick Award competition taking place in the Biennale Series recognizes buildings in several thematic categories: “Feeling At Home” relates to single-family housing and small apartment complexes, “Living Together” – large apartment complexes, “Working Together” – workspaces, “sharing Public spaces ”- public and communal spaces, and ‘building out of the box’ – unusual and innovative solutions. During the summarizing ceremony for this year’s edition of the competition, which took place on 9 June in a former historic (and brick) tram depot in Vienna, the president of Wienerberger AG, Heimo Scheuch, emphasized the importance of the jury and architects’ changing priorities. We live in more and more turbulent times, when the search for new forms of architecture is not about aesthetic questions but about moral ones. “We have to design and build a better world,” said Heimo Scheuch, noting that climate catastrophe, pandemic and war in Europe – all these events should and will change our perception of architecture. Interestingly, the President of Wienerberger also noted that based on the designs submitted to the competition, it can be concluded that the most interesting searches for new forms and solutions in architecture are currently taking place outside the European continent or North America.
This is evidenced by the fact that the main prize Laurel in the category “Sharing public spaces” was won by a project from China. It is a project of Studio Zhu Pei – a museum, built in a city with centuries-old traditions of porcelain production. The Jingdezhen Imperial Kiln Museum has an unusual eight-brick, cigar-shaped “tunnels” of different lengths, which provide the ground setting for the museum’s rooms located mainly below ground level. The organic brick structures surround an elaborate and simple public space, courtyards, ponds, and glazing allow light into the museum’s interiors. To construct these blocks, the architects used bricks from loosened kilns to fire the porcelain, thus maintaining a certain continuity of history.
The unusual and abstract shape of the building also fits in with the valuable ruins of a porcelain factory in the nearby Ming Dynasty. The Chinese building also received an award in the “Build Out of the Box” category this year. This is Tsingpu Yangzhou Retreat in Yangzhou City. This is the work of Neri & Hu Design and Research Office. On the site of a former fishing village, a hotel was built in a creative and respectful way, using traces of ancient and historical buildings.
The most beautiful brick buildings
The Brick Award 2022 was awarded in the Living Together category for the apartment complex located on Rue Danton, in Pantin, France, on the outskirts of Paris. The complex includes 88 apartments and one service room for rent. The project was created in the studio of Avenier Cornejo Architects. All three buildings are made of bricks of different colors, thanks to which it does not look monotonous.
In the second category related to housing, “Feeling at Home”, the award was given to a house called “The House That Dwells”, built in Papahuyo in Ecuador according to the project of the Natura Futura group, which wants a new proposal, more modern forms of living in the city with its projects. This is also what the “house inhabiting” is like, it combines places of work, commerce, education and, above all, living.
In the “Working Togehther” category, the jury was honored by the Swiss studio Baumschlager Eberle Architekten for office building 2226 Emmenweid, Emmenbrücke. The building is strict in expression and airtight and its body provides excellent thermal and lighting conditions inside. However, at the same time, the architects equipped this magnificent and simple building with elements that give it character and individual taste.