The sixth edition of the ArchiZinc Trophy concluded in June with 14 awards for projects from around the world. Devised and sponsored by VMZinc, the contest received 116 entries from 20 countries. There are four categories of awards: Individual Housing, Collective Housing, Commercial Building, Public Building - and three special awards: the Special Jury Award, the Sustainable Building Award, and the Internet Award voted by Internet readers.
An international jury selects the winners on the basis of design quality, integration into site, the innovative use of materials, functional excellence, and attention to environmental issues.
The Special Jury Award went to a Spanish project by Exit Architects and Eduardo Delgado Orusco: the conversion of a former provincial prison in Palencia, Spain, into a Civic and Cultural Centre. Decommissioned in 1997, this listed heritage site is redolent with dramatic memories of the Francoist period. The renovation programme involved knocking down the perimeter walls but keeping the façades of the building. A new zinc roof pierced by a series of large skylights was added along with glazed volumes connecting the existing structures. Despite the prevalence of matt-coloured brick, the overall effect is one of transparency, with natural daylight streaming into the building by day, and a lantern effect created at night. Zinc is the element that holds together old and new, a contemporary architectural feature that offsets the original architecture to great effect.
The Individual Housing award went to a house in the suburbs of Ghent, Belgium. Designed by DDM Architectuur, the new building was developed out of the building that formerly occupied the site - a large detached family home. The new construction, three duplex apartments, rests on the original foundations. Although the former configuration was completely remodelled, building materials were salvaged and re-used. The entire construction was then completely enveloped in a
pre-weathered zinc skin. Great care was taken with key connection points, such as the footing system, gutters and the junction between façade and roof.
The renovation of a huge social housing apartment block in Nantes, France, L’Immeuble Tchécoslovaquie, was the winner of the Collective Housing prize. Architects Nomade Architectes were given a broad re-qualification brief that included improving thermal performance in this 10-storey, 100-m long building whose slightly curved plan gives it a dynamic appearance, relieving the sense of an imposing mass. Remediation included the application of a zinc-clad outer insulating skin. 7,500 bespoke zinc panels in two colours and three different widths were custom-made and applied in a pattern of variable-height horizontal sections. This dynamic iridescent design successfully breaks up the outer façade but at the same time imparts a sense of a unified whole.
The Commercial Building award went to E. Bardajì y Asociados’ project for the Makro wholesale food market developed from a former brewery in downtown Madrid. The pre-existing building was completely dismantled. The concrete façade panels and interior partitions were removed to create an open, naturally lit double-height ground floor space. Externally, a closely set sequence of vertical zinc brise-soleil profiles reduces the need for air-conditioning and sits well with the glazed façade. Solid zinc-coated panels blank off certain façade sections in pleasing contrast to the rest of the elevation.
Schamp & Schmalöer’s project for the university library in Wuppertal, Germany, was awarded the Public Building prize. The plan to extend the existing library of a university campus built in the 1970s presented several critical features, not least how to fit a new volume into a Brutalist context and how to comply with restrictive structural requirements. In fact the new building rests on an original structure able to bear only limited loads at just a few points of support. The architects opted for a zinc-clad metal rotunda resting on a cylindrical glazed base shielded by vertical aluminium sun-shading louvers. Easy-to-apply zinc flat lock shingles were chosen to clad the rotunda. The slight curve given each shingle ensures against water infiltration once assembled. The resultant iridescent surface reflects the changing light to great effect.
The Boisé Library in Montreal, Canada, designed by Eric Pelletier, Cardinal Hardy and Labonté Marcil Architectes, and the detached family home in La Isla Colunga, Spain, by architect practice Arquifyr were the winners of the Sustainable Building and Internet Readers Award respectively.
Sited in a large wooded park, the Boisé Library acts as a link between city and countryside. Its large glazed lights form a sort of passageway from the urban to the rural as well as creating a continuum between interior and exterior. A sculptural hull-shaped roof entirely clad in zinc covers the reading room, descending lower over the façade towards one end, its slatted fascia broadening as the roof deepens. The pleasing contrast between zinc slabs, glazed façade and stone-clad base lend a dynamic segmented appearance to the building.
Although including the local stone as prescribed by building regulations, the house by Arquifyr overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at La Isla Colunga departs from vernacular architecture in its use of iroko timber and light red zinc cladding. This latter covers the first floor terrace, part of the ground floor and the chimney. The result is aesthetically pleasing and practical, the zinc cladding providing a weather resistant outer skin against the aggressive sea air.
Projects receiving a mention were as follows:
Individual Housing: the “Bouckaert House” by Declerck – Daels Architecten (Roulers, Belgium); Collective Housing: the apartment blocks “Le carré en Seine” by Pietri Architectes (Issy-les-Moulineaux, France) and “Den Travoo” in Hoeilaart (Belgium) designed by Bogdan & Van Broeck Architects; Commercial Building: the “Greenland Clubhouse” by Pure Architecture (Chongqing, China) and the “Health Centre” by Bürling Architekten (Freiburg, Germania); Public Building: “Municipal Employment Exchange and Training Centre” (Rodez, France) by Lacombe de Florinier, and the “Stonehenge Visitor Centre” (UK) by Denton Corker Marshall.