Olafur Eliasson, in charge for the building’s radiant façade, together with Olafur Eliasson team, Henning Larsen Architects, and Baterii∂ Architects wins 2013 Mies Van Der Rohe Award for the collaboration on the design of Harpa – Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavik, Iceland. The Mies van der Rohe Prize is reserved for excellence in the field of architecture and recognizes important contribution of European professionals in the development of the new concepts and technologies.
Harpa stands out as a radiant sculpture on the border between land and the sea, reflecting harbor space and the vibrant life of the city. The facades are spectacular – Eliasson’s works are usually inspired by his visible obsession with atmosphere and light. This particular, variegated glass façade of the concert hall was inspired by Iceland’s dramatic scenery and famous Northern Lights. Since its opening two years ago, this mountain-like massif building has become central cultural destination for the city and it has welcomed more than 1.7 million guests.
Eliasson draws the attention to the importance of collaborative effort and interdisciplinary collaboration, stating that it is very important that artists, artisans, social scientists, sociologists, anthropologists, historians, dancers, visionaries, poets, environmental activists, cosmologists, and philosophers are integrated into architectural projects at an early stage, in order to vitalize the tepidity of a lot of contemporary architecture. He strongly believes in all-inclusive collaboration and its unique outcome.
The prize had a perfect timing, regarding low national moral and devastation by Icelandic financial crisis, therefore representing a testament to Icelandic resilience.