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MVRDV Wins First-Ever Marcus Prize

Mirador housing project in Madrid, Spain

Calveen office project in Amersfoort, the Netherlands
All images © Rob 't Hart Fotografie

MVRDV, a Rotterdam-based architecture firm, has been selected as the first winner of the Marcus Prize, a biannual award for emerging architects established by Milwaukee’s Marcus Corporation Foundation. The firm will receive $50,000, and an additional $50,000 will go to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) School of Architecture and Urban Planning to administer the prize. MRVDV principals will act as guest critics in spring 2006.

The firm was among 22 nominees from nine countries. “We really were looking for a person or group that was on a trajectory to greatness,” says Bob Greenstreet, who is dean of the school and City Planner of Milwaukee. He helped organize the award.

Founded in 1991 by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, and Nathalie de Vries, MVRDV’s work explores the relationship of density and place, especially in unique urban sites. European projects include the Dutch Pavilion for the World Exhibition 2000 in Hanover, Germany, and the Silodam housing complex, a multi-colored cluster of buildings raised on stilts above Amsterdam’s IJ River. MVRDV was a finalist in competitions for the New York City 2012 Olympic Village as well as the BBC Headquarters in London. “The sites that MVRDV has dealt with in post-Industrial cities with waterfronts are very similar to locations in Milwaukee,” Greenstreet says. “There will be a lot of potential for the firm to engage with the building community here in Milwaukee. That’s my ultimate goal.”

The Marcus Prize jury included Greenstreet; Robert Ivy, FAIA, editor in chief of Architectural Record; architect Jeanne Gang of Chicago’s Studio Gang Architects; Aaron Betsky, director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute; and Stephen Marcus, chair and chief executive officer of the Marcus Corporation. The Marcus Corporation Foundation is the philanthropic arm of The Marcus Corporation, which owns and operates movie theaters, resorts and hotels throughout the United States.

John E. Czarnecki, Assoc. AIA