The Wadden Sea Centre shortlisted for the Mies van der Rohe Award

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In a landscape characterized by almost endless horizontal lines, the Wadden Sea Centre seems to be growing out of the marshland like an island. With a strong focus on using local and traditional crafts and reeds harvested from the nearby fjords, the Wadden Sea Centre fosters a deep appreciation of all aspects of the surrounding context. By shaping a destination in the landscape, it is creating awareness, knowledge, and a deeper appreciation of our natural and cultural heritage. Now our thatched gem is among the 40 shortlisted works shortlisted for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award. 

The 2022 edition of the EU Mies Award has had the greatest number of nominated works. 532 were nominated for the award before the jury drew up the shortlist of 40 projects. The shortlisted works are spread over 18 countries and highlights the opportunities and trends of contemporary architecture with focus on social inclusion, sustainability, and aesthetic research. Chairwoman Tatiana Bilbao emphasized in the jury meetings that “the current pressing shift is the achievement of equity and democracy through inclusion and acceptance of diversity”. 

The topics of the 2022 EU Mies Award corresponds to the aim of the New European Bauhaus – building a sustainable future through creativity, innovation, and imagination. In the Wadden Sea Centre, the architecture plays an important role in accomplishing this. An example is the sculptural adaptation of thatching reeds that both re-actualizes a traditional local craft and a sustainable building material. The Wadden Sea Centre creates an unforgettable experience and awareness about these important UNESCO-protected wetlands as well as contributing to a sustainable development of the peripheral rural area.

“Rethinking the way, we are building is a must. High-quality architecture is a cornerstone of the European Commission’s approach to sustainability. In redefining European architects’ role as caregivers, architecture contributes to the European Green deal and its cultural component: the New European Bauhaus. The EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture – the Mies van der Rohe Award, highlights the contribution of architecture to sustainable development,” says EU Commissioner for Innovation, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel. 

The five finalists will be announced on 16 February and the winner will be revealed at an award ceremony in May 2022 at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona. 

The jury consist of seven members: Charwoman Tatiana Bilbao, Francesca Ferguson, Mia Hägg, Triin Ojari, George Pandl, Spiros Pengas and Marcel Smets.

Photos: Adam Mørk