The Concrete Industry’s “Oscar” and Utzon-Statuette
13.1.2015 | Traditional, raw prefab concrete, used in an aesthetically outstanding way to create beautiful spaces for community and people – reminiscent of a musical composition. This is the jury's motivation for awarding the prestigious Prefab Concrete Award 2015 to the Henius House youth housing development in Aalborg. At the same time, architect and partner Klaus Toustrup is awarded the prestigious Utzon Statuette for his exceptional talent in concrete construction - like the master architect and role model Jørn Utzon.
The Prefab Concrete Award was established by the Prefab Concrete Association in 1978. It is awarded in recognition of a high architectural and artistic achievement in the use of concrete in construction. Together with the Prefab Concrete Award, Klaus Toustrup and C.F. Møller Architects receive the Utzon statuette, which is also called the concrete industry’s Oscar and was first presented with the concrete award in 2009.
Fundamentalist, dignified and humanistic
The jury’s motivation recalls the awarded design itself: it is the contradictions that create the perfect and downright musical result, says jury chairman Kent Martinussen, head of the Danish Architecture Centre.
- Concrete construction should have artistic qualities but must also reconcile fundamental issues such as statics, mortar and economy. Klaus Toustrup’s work and Henius House are perhaps the most successful examples of this in Denmark in these years, says Kent Martinussen.
- Klaus Toustrup and the C.F. Møller team have succeeded in taking the simple and unostentatious prefab construction, where you can both see and feel the concrete’s rough texture, and pair it with surprising facades of wood and metal in bright colours. It creates a beautiful continuum - like a musical bass line translated into modern concrete building, Kent Martinussen explains.
The luminous and brightly coloured outcrops of the Henius House act as indicators of shared and social interaction, featuring common fitness facilities, workshops and outdoor areas designed for sports and movement. Also the roofs are used for a ball court and various roof terraces, and precisely the emphasis on the social community is an important part of the award motivation:
- C.F. Møller Architects have employed a “fundamentalist” approach in their use of concrete, but used it to create something that is both dignified and humanistic, where residents like to be and where the structure itself tells us that there is room for both individual and community, says jury chairman Kent Martinussen.
The jury also highlights how the project plays on the design freedom that concrete prefab allows, i.e. to let windows "move freely in their own composition". And the reference to the musical is not entirely random: Klaus Toustrup is especially known for music buildings like the Opera and Culture Centre in Kristiansund in Norway, the extension of the Concert Hall in Aarhus and the future Odeon Music and Theatre Hall in Odense.
- The award is a wonderful recognition that we have succeeded with what we set out to achieve. We wanted to create a rhythm in the way concrete elements meet the other parts of the building, small and large, and through this interactions create a space that invites people inside, says Klaus Toustrup, architect and partner in C.F. Møller.
In addition to the Chairman Kent Martinussen, the jury for both the Prefab Concrete Award and the Utzon Statuette consists of Bente Scavenius, art historian, mag. art; architect Jørn Langvad; architect Christian Cold and engineer Claus Bering, CEO of Betonelement by CRH Concrete A/S and chairman of the Prefab Concrete Association.
The Utzon statuette was designed by Jørn Utzon, and symbolizes his world-famous icon the Sydney Opera House from 1973, whose "wings" were formed from a spherical shape. The awards ceremony will be held at the Sustainable Concrete Conference at the Tivoli Hotel & Congress Centre in Copenhagen on the 10th March 2015.