Alvar Aalto Medal Awarded to Danish Firm

February 10, 2009

By Aleksandr Bierig

The Copenhagen-based firm Tegnestuen Vandkunsten has been awarded the 10th Alvar Aalto Medal.

The prize is administered by the Finnish Ministry of Education, the Finnish Association of Architects, the Museum of Finnish Architecture, the Finnish Society of Architecture, and the Alvar Aalto Foundation. Since its creation in 1967, the award has been given approximately every five years for “significant achievements in creative architecture.” This is the first time the award has been given to a firm, rather than an individual.

Low-cost housing and social housing have been a focus of Tegnestuen Vandkunsten since its inception in 1970. Founded by four architects—Svend Algren, Jens Thomas Arnfred, Michael Sten Johnsen, and Steffen Kragh—the Danish firm now has 30 employees. According to its Web site, Tegnestuen Vandkunsten operates as a collective, building on “the best traditions of the Nordic welfare society,” which extend to the medal’s namesake, Alvar Aalto.

Rate this project:
Based on what you have seen and read about this project, how would you grade it? Use the stars below to indicate your assessment, five stars being the highest rating.
----- Advertising -----

Jurors lauded the firm’s emphasis on “designs characterized by convertibility, communality, residential involvement, dense low rise, and sustainable development—long before they became buzzwords.” Projects mentioned include the 1971 Tinggården residential district, which promoted “social coherence” and was constructed using advanced technologies and simple materials, helping minimize construction costs. Also cited were Dianas Have, in Denmark, and Hestra Parkstad, in Sweden—row houses built in the 1990s that improved the daily life of residents and engaged the landscape, according to jurors. The firm also designed Copenhagen’s Torpedo Shipyard Housing (2001), which involved transforming a 1953 Danish Navy structure into 67 apartment units.

Members of this year’s jury were Anna Brunow, Mikko Heikkinen (chairman), Juha Ilonen, Pekka Pakkala, Matti Rautiola, Yoshio Taniguchi, and Gert Wingårdh. The medal—designed by Aalto himself—was presented at a ceremony on February 3 at the Aalto-designed Finnish Social Insurance Institution in Helsinki.

share: more »

 Reader Comments:

Sign in to Comment

To write a comment about this story, please sign in. If this is your first time commenting on this site, you will be required to fill out a brief registration form. Your public username will be the beginning of the email address that you enter into the form (everything before the @ symbol). Other than that, none of the information that you enter will be publically displayed.

We welcome comments from all points of view. Off-topic or abusive comments, however, will be removed at the editors’ discretion.

----- Advertising -----
----- Advertising -----
Sweets, Search Building Products