German Architecture Prize recognizes sustainability over glamor


Immanuel Church in Cologne

The Immanuel Church and the adjacent community center in Cologne is not necessarily spectacular, but it's sustainable, functional and trendsetting. That's why the jury of the German Architecture Prize selected the Berlin firm Sauerbruch Hutton, who designed the buildings, as the winner of its top prize in 2015. Click through the gallery for a look at Germany's most impressive buildings.


Lokdepot in Berlin

The Lokdepot designed by the Berlin firm of architecture ROBERTNEUN GmbH definitely stands out - and not just because of its color. The architects' "factory housing" concept was selected by the jury of the 2015 German Architecture Prize for an 4,000-euro award.


Jewish Museum in Berlin

The US architect Daniel Libeskind won the German Architecture Prize in 1999 for the Jewish Museum he designed in Berlin - the largest of its kind in Europe. The zigzag-shaped building has been recognized in all international architectural magazines as an outstanding museum.


Kö-Bogen in Dusseldorf

Libeskind has built several spectacular buildings in Germany. The Felix-Nussbaum House in Osnabrück and the daring glass extension for the Military Historical Museum of the Federal Armed Forces in Dresden are examples of his futuristic designs. In 2014, he inaugurated the Kö-Bogen buildings in Dusseldorf, which owe their name to the Königsallee on which they are built. Locals call them the "Kö."


Elbe Philharmonic Hall in Hamburg

Hamburg's future concert hall has been under construction since 2007. Overlooking the port, it is a new landmark in the Hanseatic city. It was conceived by the famous firm of Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. However, the building keeps hitting the headlines not because of its impressive architecture, but rather because of the tremendous increases in constructions costs.


European Central Bank in Frankfurt

The new headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt consist of two independent slightly twisted mirror towers designed by the Viennese architecture firm Coop Himmelb(l)au. Their project was selected though an international architectural competition in 2004. The skyscrapers are a major landmark, immediately recognizable from afar in the skyline of the banking metropolis.


Museum Frieder Burda in Baden-Baden

Star architect Richard Meier has already designed several award-winning museums in Germany. The art museum in Baden-Baden was commissioned by Frieder Burda, who wanted to create an exhibition space for his famous art collection. The museum also received a German Architecture Prize in 2005.


Kolumba in Cologne

The famous Swiss architect Peter Zumthor has created an architectural jewel in the heart of Cologne with Kolumba, the art museum of the archdiocese. It's an austere building which doesn't even have a café, yet it attracts tourists from all over the world. Through its contemplative atmosphere, it offers a haven of peace in the bustling city.


Hans Otto Theater in Potsdam

The award-winning design of the Hans Otto Theater in Potsdam was conceived by Gottfried Böhm. Inaugurated in 2006, the five-story building is not only one of the major late works of the Pritzker Prize laureate, it also turned into a declaration of love for his late wife, whose favorite color was red.

This church may not be the most impressive from the outside, but it won Germany's top prize in architecture for its trendsetting features. Discover other award-winning architectural projects.

The main award, which includes a cash prize of 30,000 euros (over $34,000), went to the office Sauerbruch Hutton in Berlin. The architects' design of the Immanuel Church and the community center in Cologne was selected by the jury of the German Architecture Prize for its sustainable and visionary design.

Minister for Building Barbara Hendricks, who handed out the award on Monday (12.10.2015), declared in a speech, "This community center impressively shows that sustainable architecture promotes identity and provides important impulse for a healthy environment."

Design for a vibrant city

The Berlin architects planned their ensemble as an architectural bridge between the new church and the community center. The rooms they designed are not only functional; they can also be flexibly used in different ways, adding to the sustainability of the concept. These features justified the jury's selection of this concept over more spectacular ones, which was usually the case in the past. The design by Sauerbruch Hutton offers a "contribution to a vibrant city," said Minister Hendricks.

The German Architecture Prize reflects the high level of planning and building culture in Germany, said the President of the Federal Chamber of Architects, Barbara Ettinger-Brinckmann: "Such buildings would not exist without all the builders who are open to creative designs and are inspired to execute them well."

The gallery above features different examples of this innovative building culture in Germany. The design for the factory residential buildings Lokdepot 123 (second picture) also received an accolade during the award ceremony.

Lifestyle | 07.09.2015

Along with the main prize, five other awards, endowed with 4,000 euros ($4,550) each, and eight honorable recognitions underline the most important contributions to innovative architecture in Germany.

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