The international jury of the Prix de Rome has selected four entries for the shortlist of Prix de Rome Architecture: Healing Sites. Three of these entries have come from Academy graduates: Lesia Topolnyk, Arna Mačkić and Studio KIWI (Kim Kool and Willemijn van Manen).
The assignment: Healing Sites
For the final round, the four candidates are asked to further develop their positioning and propose spatial interventions for their selected Healing Sites. Each will be given the opportunity, supported by a work budget, to develop their design proposals during a four-month working period.
The jury asks them to specifically seek answers to how their proposals can become spatially performative in addressing the contemporary issues their statements pointed to. Going beyond revealing past trauma and merely reflecting on the past, addressing the healing that needs to happen through the architectural devices connected to their sites. Additionally, the jury is curious to understand how the candidates address the role of architects, urbanists, and landscape architects in these processes.
Lesia Topolnyk (1989, founder StudioSpaceStation and works at Fabrications)
No Innocent Landscape states that the current man-made struggle is inevitably embedded in the landscape. The small mining village of Hrabove is a very apparent site for this, which all of a sudden became of national importance to the Dutch, irrespective of geographical borders, due to the MH17 tragedy. The jury was very much impressed by the choice of a site that holds extreme relevance to the central topic of ‘guilty landscapes’ and how it is gathering traces and fragments of the different forces at play: from the downing of the aeroplane to the illegal mining activities in the region. This strong conceptual approach is reflected in the spatial statement, that shows equally artistic quality, through layered use of audio and video, and a sensitivity to historical events. The jury underlines that design can act as a spatial language revealing invisible processes and questioning a healing way forward. How can the proposal go beyond an autonomous artistic intervention and activate the forensic research to heal all those connected to the site?
Studio KIWI: Kim Kool (1989, works at Strootman Landschapsarchitecten) and Willemijn van Manen (1989, works at ZUS)
Grounds of [In]justice addresses the mistrust by the people of the Dutch government in the aftermath of the toeslagenaffaire. In the face of climate change, which can only be tackled if “we stand together”, the project identifies the need for a restoration of trust. As a gesture of reconciliation by the government, Studio KIWI proposes to start a healing process by reconsidering the design of the twenty-one counters of the Belastingdienst. The jury appreciated the layered approach in which social issues were carefully connected to physical architecture and where the healing is sought on both a material and systematic level. In addition, the jury praised the imaginary expression of the proposal in the images and the spatial statement, showing the artistic capabilities of the candidates. How can the proposed sites become part of a healing process beyond being spaces of contemplation, but as spatially performative and activating in restoring trust in our fiscal services?
Arna Mačkić (1988, co-founder Studio L A)
International Centre for Architectural Disaster calls on the responsibility of architects to heal the wounds of architectural disasters. The building of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague is redesigned to host a new institution that will heal through restorative justice, a process that focuses on mediation instead of trial. This is done in order to expose the systems behind architectural disasters, to give voice to those affected, to repair the damage, and to generate spatial knowledge resulting in a new architectural movement. The jury praised the original approach where multiple sites could be dealt with through the redesign of a symbolic building. A site that also calls into question what we do with our obsolete institutions. The spatial statement provided a clear proposition and the text was, in the opinion of the jury, beautifully composed, giving a serious critique of where we stand as a profession. The jury reflects that all disasters could potentially be seen as ‘architectural’ disasters. What would be needed to establish this new healing legal structure and how does this translate in an architectural intervention that dynamically engages different stakeholders?
More information on the Prix de Rome 2022 can be found here.