Navigation path


Harpa wins European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award 2013

On 29 April, the European Commission and the Mies van der Rohe Foundation announced that Harpa from Reykjavik, Iceland and Nave de Música from Madrid, Spain are the winners of the 2013 EU Prize for contemporary architecture and the Emerging architect special mention.


Located in Reykjavik, Harpa is Iceland’s first purpose-built concert hall. Designed by Henning Larsen Architects, Batteríið Architects and Studio Olafur Eliasson, the building has helped to transform and revitalise Reykjavik harbour and brought the city and harbour district closer together. In 2008, in the midst of Iceland’s economic crisis, Harpa was only half completed and it took a bold political vision to finish it. Thus, Harpa has become a symbol of resilience, dynamism and recovery, whilst enchanting almost 2 million visitors with its architecture that plays with light and transparence.

The Emerging Architect Special Mention award goes to María Langarita and Víctor Navarro for the Nave de Música Matadero (Red Bull Music Academy) in Madrid, Spain. This project has also a story to tell: it was built in only two months to host a music festival in an early 20th-century warehouse complex in Madrid. The festival was supposed to take place originally in Tokyo but was cancelled due to the earthquake. The Nave managed not only to meet the technical needs of the event in such a short time, but also to promote and enrich artistic encounters between the musicians in a completely adaptable and reversible structure.

The award ceremony will take place on 7 June at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona, coinciding with a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the prize.

The EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture is the most prestigious award for European architecture and takes places every two years. The Prize consists of 60.000 € and the Special Mention consists of 20.000 € with both receiving a sculpture that evokes the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion of Barcelona – the symbol for this Prize: excellence and innovation in conceptual and constructive terms.