On October 14, 2021 the Grazer Architekturdiplompreise (Graz Architecture Diploma Awards) were awarded for the 19th time. The international jury, including Jeanette Kuo (Harvard GSD/Karamuk Kuo, Zurich), Vera Bühlmann (Vienna University of Technology) und Irmgard Frank (Vienna), met at the Graz University of Technology to select and award six diploma students out of a total of 40 nominated master’s theses, for outstanding performance.
The 1st prize, donated by the Provincial Government of Styria, Department 16 for Transport and Building Construction, was awarded to Bruno Raškaj for his project “Reliquiae Reliquiarum.” The project, supervised by Petra Petersson (Institute of Construction and Design Principles) addresses the hidden potential of an abandoned silk factory in Zagreb and develops a renewal concept in the urban context of the Trešnjevka district. The project convinced the jury due to the thorough research on industrial architecture, the clearly formulated proposal and its relevance with regard to social and ecological sustainability. The jury highlighted in their statements, the sensitive development of the project on different scales, as well as the successful architectural implementation of dialogue between the old and the new.
Laura Nefeli Chromecek was awarded the 2nd prize for her diploma project „Loutra. Eine meteorologische Landschaft.“ The project, supervised by Klaus K. Loenhart (Institute of Architecture and Landscape), expands the concept of space through atmosphere and declares it to be the real task of architecture. This idea is illustrated through an example of a thermal bath on the Greek volcanic island Nisyros, in which rooms are designed as “atmosphere-containers” and are made physically tangible. The jury praised the original and well-informed design concept, that initiates an important theoretical discourse, namely to think physically about climate and weather and to express these in an ambitious way through architecture.
The 3rd prize went to the project titled „O Douro e as Águas do Moledo. Eine topologische Annäherung“ by Katharina Hohenwarter and Michael Hafner. The project, supervised by Uli Tischler (Institute of Design and Building Typology), deals with the structure of a former Grand Hotel in the Douro Valley. The master’s thesis convinced the jury with its robust analysis of the specific landscape and topography, out of which a linear design was derived. The reinterpretation of the once elite Grand Hotel with hot springs into a publicly accessible pavilion, permeated by a hot springs park, that ultimately transforms into a “street village” along the river, convinced the jury; in addition to the poetic elaboration of the plans and the two expressive models in different scales.
This year’s Hollomey Travel Award went to Maike Gold for her thesis “Grammatik einer Industrielandschaft. Spekulatives Magdeburg in Figur und Struktur.“ According to the jury, the well thought-out project positions itself at the interface between theory and practice. Based on semiotic analysis, the project “designs” a linguistic expression for industrial and infrastructure elements from the local situation in Magdeburg and attempts to invent a grammar, analogous to the idea of a language game. The project was supervised by Andreas Lechner (Institute of Design and Building Typology).
Amila Smajlović received the Tschom Housing Award for her diploma thesis “Äquilibrium. Über Distanz und Nähe in der Stadt,“ supervised by Armin Stocker (Institute of Construction and Design Principles). The project deals with flexible living space expansion and impressed the jury with the development of a modular system applied to the floor plan, section and elevation. The system allows for the private and commercial areas to be staggered, without lapsing into schematism.
The “Recognition for Resource and Climate Friendly Architecture,” which has been kindly donated by the Chamber of Civil Engineers of Styria and Carinthia since 2019, went to David Ortner for his diploma project “BENUTZEN. Obsolete Strukturen als Ressource – Konversion des Krankenhaus Oberwart,“ supervised by Hans Gangoly (Institute of Design and Building Typology). With the intention of saving resources paired with the goal of preserving the existing buildings, the project converts a former hospital into a fifth-generation residential home for the elderly, transforming it to a place for actively staying healthy. It was the precise and punctual interventions that convinced the jury.
The award-winning projects were displayed in the foyer of the old campus from October 15 to October 22, 2021. The winners presented their projects to a wider audience on November 8, 2021 in the HDA – Haus der Architektur Graz. All nominated projects as well as the jury statements can be found on the GAD Awards 2021 homepage: www.gad-awards.tugraz.at