International 2021 Piranesi Award

John Hill
3. December 2021
International 2021 Piranesi Award Winner: Saint Gellért Hall by Építész Stúdió. (Photo: Gergely Kenéz)

The recipients of the 32nd annual Piranesi Awards have been announced, following the jury's deliberations on November 26 at Monfort Exhibition Hall in Portorose, Slovenia.

The Piranesi Awards have been conferred annually since 1989, but understandably last year's iteration was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year the awards resumed, again focusing on projects nominated from nearly a dozen European countries: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Serbia. Fifty-four architectural projects were nominated, with the members of the jury* taking a number of criteria into consideration, including: consideration of context; innovative spatial plan and layout; a respectful approach to natural and cultural heritage; innovative details; and a considered use of color, materials, light, and texture.

International 2021 Piranesi Award Winner: Saint Gellért Hall by Építész Stúdió. (Photo: Gergely Kenéz)

The jury determined the International 2021 Piranesi Award is Saint Gellért Hall (Sports and event hall for the Saint Margaret High School) in Budapest, Hungary. The building, completed in 2020, was designed by Építész Stúdió (Zsolt Félix, Tamás Fialovszky, Bálint Gulyás, and Gergely Kenéz). Much of the building is buried into its site, with the rooftop used as an outdoor recreational space that is an extension of the adjacent park. The metal structure that wraps three sides of the building extends past the roof to serve as a protective fence. The jury called the sports hall "a project that cleverly balances the architectural resolution of the program with a quiet poetry. The tectonic integration of structure, light and material, together with the effective site strategy offers a convincing solution to the sports hall typology."

International 2021 Piranesi Award Winner: Saint Gellért Hall by Építész Stúdió. (Photo: Gergely Kenéz)
International 2021 Piranesi Award Honorable Mention: Hunting Grounds, Pet Crematorium by Petr Hájek, Martin Stoss, and Cornelia Klein. (Photo: Benedikt Markel)

Two honorable mentions were also decided, including the Hunting Grounds, Pet Crematorium in Drnov, Czech Republic, designed by architects Petr Hájek, Martin Stoss, and Cornelia Klein. Named Named Věčná loviště (Hunting Grounds), the pet crematorium caught our eye in January, not long after it was completed, and apparently so the jury as well. They said it "injects a surprising program into the ruins of a military air defense site to produce a captivating effect that is both ephemeral and grounded. The magic of the shimmering, mirrored wall is that it dissolves into the landscape while also embodying a sense of otherworldliness. A simple element creates an enigmatic experience whereby pet owners can find solace."

International 2021 Piranesi Award Honorable Mention: Hunting Grounds, Pet Crematorium by Petr Hájek, Martin Stoss, and Cornelia Klein. (Photo: Benedikt Markel)
International 2021 Piranesi Award Honorable Mention: Market Ptuj by Arhitektura Krusec and Studio AKKA. (Photo: Miran Kambic)

The other honorable mention is  Market Ptuj in Ptuj, Slovenia, designed by architect Arhitektura Krušec with landscape architect Studio AKKA. The jury said the creation of a covered market, small shops, and seating areas in the town of Ptuj "offers all that we would hope for in a public space in a historical city center: social space, connectivity, and a conversation with the surrounding urban fabric. The sophisticated detailing coupled with the no frills approach reconfigures the formerly, unarticulated open space into a vibrant urban place with a clear identity."

International 2021 Piranesi Award Honorable Mention: Market Ptuj by Arhitektura Krusec and Studio AKKA. (Photo: Miran Kambic)

Lastly, one student honorable mention was selected from the 37 students projects nominated by 19 European schools of architecture from Graz, Spittal, Vienna, Banja Luka, Sarajevo, Split, Zagreb, Thessaloniki, Budapest, Pescara, Trieste, Podgorica, Bratislava, Ljubljana, Maribor, Belgrade, Kragujevac, Novi Sad, and AA London. RIsort, Aquatorium of Rijeka, Croatia, was selected. The project was designed by Matija Babić, Antonija Balić, Karla Jelić-Balta, Martin Mertz, Andro Mihalac, Fran Mikolić, and Luka Šen from the University of Zagreb Faculty of Architecture under mentor Idis Turato.

International 2021 Piranesi Award Student Honorable Mention: RIsort Aquatorium of Rijeka by students Matija Babić, Antonija Balić, Karla Jelić-Balta, Martin Mertz, Andro Mihalac, Fran Mikolić, and Luka Šen, under mentor Idis Turato.

The jury said of RIsort Aquatorium of Rijeka: "The proposal imagines a thought-provoking strategy for reconnecting the city of Rijeka back to the sea. Under the umbrella title of a theme park, the project revitalizes the port city through a series of 'hybrid infrastructural elements' that create a synergy between the largely obsolete, industrial port and the new programs. The depth and detail with which the proposal explores the topic offers an exciting approach to large scale, contemporary architectural problems whereby collaboration, flexibility and future possibilities are key principles."

International 2021 Piranesi Award Student Honorable Mention: RIsort Aquatorium of Rijeka by students Matija Babić, Antonija Balić, Karla Jelić-Balta, Martin Mertz, Andro Mihalac, Fran Mikolić, and Luka Šen, under mentor Idis Turato.
*The 2021 jury:

  • Sandy Attia (president)
  • Levente Szabó
  • Daniela Škarica
  • Ivana Žalac
  • Christian Ambos
  • Carles Enrich Gimenez
  • Matija Bevk

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