Three students from the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) have won first prize in this year’s Schindler Award architecture competition. This biannual event, sponsored by the Swiss elevator and escalator company, Schindler, challenges young architects to design barrier-free urban environments. Securing top place in the school competition was Belgium’s Sint-Lucas University in Ghent.
The ten nominations (see ranking) represent a shortlist chosen from a total of 113 projects submitted by over 1,100 individual students or teams studying at schools of architecture across Europe. The Schindler Award was officially presented on 7 December 2012 at the Paul Klee Museum in Berne, Switzerland.
Architecture students Christopher Ruhri, Thomas Buser and Stefan Gant of the TU Berlin in Germany won the student competition. Second place went to Mauritius Pauli, Tobias Schmitt and Jan Blifernez, also from the TU Berlin, followed by a team from the University of Lund in Sweden. In the school category, Sint-Lucas University in Belgium won the first place prize, a research grant of €25,000 in recognition of the architecture faculty's support for the Schindler Award, and for integrating the topic of accessibility into its curriculum.
The picturesque Swiss capital of Berne was the focus of the Schindler Award 2012. Participants were invited to submit proposals for the reinvigoration of the area surrounding the Schützenmatt, and for improving the way it interfaces with adjacent districts and the verdant Aare River landscape.
The unique mix of elements making up the site made it an ideal testing ground for the competition’s aims: improved access for all, and the creation of a built environment capable of meeting the needs of all its inhabitants. The students had to reimagine the public space and integrate urban repair ideas into their planning, while also incorporating, rather than excluding, various cultural and fringe groups that have settled in the area.
Background to the Award
The Schindler Award is a biannual competition that encourages young architects to create environments that are inclusive and accessible to everyone, irrespective of age, status or physical capability. Since the competition was established in 2003, it has motivated schools of architecture to incorporate the topic of accessibility into their curricula and, through its prizes for schools, funded research and initiatives to improve accessible design. The competition is judged by an expert panel of architects, city planners and disability specialists.
Founded in Switzerland in 1874, the Schindler Group is a leading global provider of elevators, escalators and related services. Schindler mobility solutions move one billion people every day all over the world. Behind the company's success are 44,000 employees in over 100 countries.