Special Categories

ICONIC AWARDS 2021: Innovative Architecture

Architects of the Year – Dorte Mandrup

The Danish architecture firm Dorte Mandrup was founded in 1999, and has since won many awards, making a name for itself internationally with extraordinary, sculptural-looking creations. Alongside projects for education and work, prestigious projects in the field of cultural heritage in particular have enabled the studio to repeatedly cause a stir internationally. Before Dorte Mandrup came to architecture, she studied medicine and sculpture, which is clearly reflected in many of her later projects. But it is not the artistic use of form alone that drives the architect and her 70-strong team, but also the relationship with the particular locations, coupled with a humanist approach. To date, Dorte Mandrup has been responsible for the design of all of the firm’s projects. She approaches them armed with her design philosophy and her artistic and systematic way of thinking, transforming them into unmistakable icons.

Statement of the jury

Dorte Mandrup’s work is, to use her own description, »characterised by formal agitation, which materialises in an in-depth, contextual analysis and explorative prototyping. This preoccupation with the examination of the sculptural and material qualities of architecture results in spaces that place the focus on their surroundings and the conditions from which they arise.« The result is spectacular buildings such as »The Whale«, the »Ilulissat Icefjord Centre« and the »Karlskrona Culture House and Library«, which astound viewers and sometimes even place them in a trance. But to bring such projects to life requires not just a creative, visionary force but also an associated degree of boldness, persuasiveness and an unconditional iron will to succeed. It is this rare mix of abilities and qualities that enables Dorte Mandrup to realise such outstanding achievements, which in turn enrich the world.

More information: go to directory!

Architects' Client of the Year – CITTA Foundation

The charitable organisation has set itself the goal of promoting growth in some of the world’s economically most disadvantaged, geographically remote and/or marginalised communities through health, education and economic development. This also involves creating a stable environment and giving the inhabitants of a region a sense of pride. For CITTA, it is not only a question of building hospitals, schools and centres, but also of improving the situation of women, who are often prevented from making full use of their strength and significance in society due to out-dated traditions. In rural Jaisalmer, girls and women are confronted with the extreme social, economic and geographical disadvantages existing in India. Since education is the key element for ensuring the welfare of women and the attainment of equality and prosperity within their families and within Indian society, CITTA worked internationally to establish the GYAAN Centre in Jaisalmer (Rajasthan). The complex, consisting of three buildings, includes a women’s cooperative in which craft workers (mothers and other women) are instructed in traditional skills such as embroidery and weaving, as well as the Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls’ School. The design by Diana Kellogg Architects (New York) is based on a completely sustainable concept. The school’s facilities include classrooms, a library and a computer centre.

Statement of the jury

The Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls’ School is part of the GYAAN Centre in Jaisalmer (India) and is the latest project by the CITTA Foundation. The iconic design was created in cooperation with Diana Kellogg Architects and received an outstanding level of attention and praise internationally. It is remarkable how the oval building, constructed from hand-cut sandstone, picks up on the local building style as well as embodying universal symbols of female strength with its striking use of form. For many years, the charitable CITTA Foundation has not only been committed to building schools, hospitals and centres to promote remote and economically disadvantaged regions, but has also smoothed the path for women living there to have a self-determined life on an equal footing in society. For this exemplary work, the organisation was awarded the honorary prize of »Architects’ Client of the Year« by the jury.

More information: go to directory!

Interior Designers of the Year – X+Living

X+Living was founded in 2011 by Chinese designer Li Xiang shortly after she had completed her studies in architecture. From the very beginning, she surprised with refreshingly unconventional designs, which earned her a great deal of praise from both the media and customers and fans of her work. Li Xiang established her own furniture brand in 2015. And she again hit the spirit of the times with her mix of quality, sustainability and a touch of humour. For more than ten years, the studio has had people talking about it with fantastic, almost surreal projects such as the »Taiyuan FAB Cinema«, the »Dujiangyan Zhongshuge Bookstore« and the »Zhuyeqing Greentea Flagship Store«.

Statement of the jury

The spaces designed by X+Living are quite special. Anyone who enters them gains access to another world, which causes them to forget everyday life for the duration of their stay. They are fascinating architectural environments that bear witness to an incredibly creative and holistic relationship with forms, materials and colours. At the same time, the design team never loses sight of the business purpose for which the spaces were created – whether it’s a cinema, a book shop or a hotel. It is studios like X+Living that point the direction to the future, with their outstanding projects, true to the motto »design creates value«.

More information: go to directory!