ICONIC AWARDS 2019: Innovative Architecture Competition – David Chipperfield Firm Named Architects of the Year

The winners of the prestigious ICONIC AWARDS 2019: Innovative Architecture competition have been chosen. The competition’s two special awards – “Architects of the Year” and “Interior Designers of the Year”, each endowed with a prize of €10,000, went to David Chipperfield Architects and Snarkitecture. The honorary prize “Architects’ Client of the Year” was awarded to the city of Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.

The ICONIC AWARDS: Innovative Architecture competition is an international competition sponsored by the German Design Council that honours the very best in architecture and design. The official awards ceremony will be held on 7 October 2019 at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, during the EXPO REAL trade fair. At the ceremony the jury will award the competition’s special prizes, and will also honour the selected winners in the categories “Architecture”, “Interior”, “Product”, “Communication”, “Concept” and the superordinate category “Innovative Material”. A full overview of all the winners can be found at www.en.innovative-architecture.de/winner


Special Prize: “Architects of the Year”

The special prize “Architects of the Year” was awarded to the firm of star English architect David Chipperfield. For many years now, Chipperfield has been making a name for himself with an iconic architectural quality – a blend of his Japanese-inspired minimalist design idiom and confident use of light, space and material, combined with an unmistakable style which the London-based architect and his firm have continued to develop over the years. With the recent completion in 2018 of the spectacular James Simon Gallery at the entrance to Berlin's Museum Island, the renovation of the Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin, the Hoxton Press residential complex in London, and the historic Museum of Natural History in Anji, China, Chipperfield has yet again demonstrated that he is one of the best and most influential architects of our time.

Special Prize: “Interior Designers of the Year”

This year’s “Interior Designers of the Year” award goes to the New York-based design and art collective, Snarkitecture. The creative design studio headed by Daniel Arsham, Alex Mustone and Benjamin Porto has been turning heads with extraordinary installations and artistic objects since its inception in 2008. The secret behind the team’s success has been their unique combination of childlike imagination and carefree delight in all things absurd. That Lewis Carroll’s poem “The Hunting of the Snark” is the source of inspiration for the name Snarkitecture comes as no surprise. The studio’s work is special, different, and at times literally eccentric – as evidenced by objects like their crooked Slip Chair. Their most noteworthy recent projects include four shop interiors for the streetwear chain Kith Los Angeles, the Fun House installation in the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C, and Altered States: Caesarstone at Salone del Mobile 2018 in Milan.

Honorary Prize: “Architects’ Client of the Year”

The honorary prize “Architects’ Client of the Year”, with which the jury pays tribute to the promotion of a holistic understanding of architecture by a commissioning company, was awarded to the city of Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. For decades now Freiburg im Breisgau has been consistently pursuing its goal of becoming a green city, reducing its climate-damaging emissions by at least 50% by 2030, and achieving complete climate neutrality by 2050. In recent years the city has seen the addition of two entirely new sustainable residential districts, “Quartier Vauban” and “Rieselfeld”, capable of housing a total of 15,000 people and comprised entirely of buildings constructed using low-energy techniques. Other examples of Freiburg im Breisgau’s commitment to sustainability include the Town Hall, completed in late 2017, which was the world’s first public net-surplus-energy building; the Ökostation, an environmental education centre designed to increase public awareness of sustainability; and the Sustainability Center Freiburg, a cooperation between the University of Freiburg and the five Fraunhofer Institutes in Freiburg. What Freiburg has realised is that environmental policies, solar technology, and sustainability and climate-protection concepts have become driving forces behind economic and urban development. The fact that the city’s residents are on board with this process shows just how effective their policy decisions have been over the years.


Jury Members

  • Asif Khan, Asif Khan Ltd., London
  • Jonghwan Baek, WGNB, Seoul
  • Michel Casertano, Atelier Brückner GmbH, Stuttgart
  • Marco Dessí, Studio Marco Dessí, Vienna
  • Wiebke Lang, Journalist, Frankfurt am Main
  • Silvia Olp, Phoenix Design, Stuttgart/Munich/Shanghai
  • Linda Stannieder, GRAFT BRANDLAB GmbH, Berlin
  • Andrej Kupetz, German Design Council, Frankfurt am Main


The German Design Council

The German Design Council is one of the world’s leading centres of expertise in communication and knowledge transfer within the design, branding and innovation sectors. Currently, more than 300 companies belong to its foundation. The German Design Council was founded in 1953 on the initiative of the German Bundestag to support and enhance the design expertise of German industry. It pursues a wide range of activities with a single goal: to promote awareness of how to increase brand value on a sustained basis through the strategic use of design.

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