Three students from Bern's University of Applied Sciences have won 1st prize in the Schindler Award architecture competition, run by the elevator company Schindler. The competition, which challenges young architects to design barrier-free urban environments, also awards schools' prizes, with 1st place going to Russia's Ufa State Petroleum Technological University.
The winning projects were announced on January 14, 2011, at a special Schindler Award ceremony at the KOSMOS in Berlin, Germany. They were selected from a total of 174 designs submitted by students or teams from schools of architecture across Europe (see full list of winners attached).
Taking top honors and prize money of €5,000 were Simon Moser, Daniel Meier and Simon Peter Roesti for their project "link it". Second prize went to two architects from the University of Lund in Sweden, with a Russian team from Ufa State Petroleum Technological University (USPTU) taking third.
The Russian team's professors were on hand to collect the 1st Schools' 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. Second and 3rd schools' prizes went to the Bauhaus University Weimar, Germany and the University of Belgrade, Serbia.
The president of the jury, Professor Françoise-Hélène Jourda, praised the quality of the designs submitted, describing them as "seriously minded" – rather than "utopian", as is often the case in architectural competitions. She added that, from a technical standpoint, all of the designs could have been realized immediately.
Participants in the 2010 competition were challenged to transform an area of Berlin's Olympic grounds – once used as a propaganda stage by the Nazis - into an inclusive environment, accessible for everyone, including people with disabilities. As well as redesigning the site into an attractive, functional and fully accessible sport and leisure complex, students had to design a 150-room hotel for the site.
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. The Schindler Award 2012 will take place in Switzerland.
The Schindler Group is a leading global mobility provider, present in more than 140 countries. The company designs, manufactures, installs, services and modernizes elevator and escalator systems for almost every building type. Schindler supports sustainable urban development with safe, reliable and ecologically sound mobility solutions.