© BDA Hamburg

Welcoming Address

There is a lot of construction going on in our Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg at present. But can all of it be called architecture? To give an answer to this question is one of the purposes of the BDA Hamburg Prize for Architecture, which is administered by the Association of German Architects BDA Hamburg (Bund Deutscher Architekten und Architektinnen BDA Hamburg). But what is it actually, this thing called architecture?

Options differ on this question since architecture was called into existence. So, the debate has been going on for approximately the last 5,000 years. To some it is just the raising of a monument for those, who influence (or can influence) the development of the construction. To the others architecture is a social obligation and a means of meeting the requirements of human beings and their ways of life in an urban environment. Of course this means that architecture must meet functional, social, aesthetic-emblematic standards and also has to transfer these into the future. In this respect, the differentiated urban outdoor space becomes more and more important to architecture at present.

While the interior space of the building has to correspond to the individual context of use in the broadest sense, the public open space has to establish a basis for the powers of social integration. This is a big challenge. Since the still quite new attention to energy-related and climatic topics has accelerated urban congestion, respectively post-congestion, there is an increasing risk of carelessly neglecting this important social basis for enabling public action.

The BDA Hamburg Prize for Architecture has now been awarded for the seventh time since 1996. The awarded projects represent the changing focuses of architecture in Hamburg. We take no interest in merely recording the number of projects, but especially by presenting the award winners we want to show different approaches, attempts and results regarding the accomplishment of the new mission.  

This year we found strong core development areas amongst the constructions that are built as parts of the IBA Hamburg (International Building Exhibition Hamburg) and of the HafenCity. They are exemplary for the way of approaching the new task and for the direction in which we are heading. If we did not have these nuclei in Hamburg, the city would surely not be able to be at the top of the new urban architecture movement.

One of the purposes of the BDA Hamburg Prize for Architecture is to give the general public of Hamburg a better understanding of architectural issues. Hence, for the fourth time now the BDA Hamburg together with its media partner, the newspapers “Die WELT“/ ”Welt am Sonntag“, has also awarded the Audience Prize for Architecture. This year, the vast majority of the readers of “Die WELT“/ ”Welt am Sonntag“ awarded the prize to a construction, which addresses the urban context of the outdoor space including the existing public space in a very contemporary way. At the same time the readers dissented from the choice of the expert jury by not voting for a building from the group of the first prize winners of the BDA Hamburg Prize for Architecture but for one from the second prize winners.

The winners of the second and third prizes of the Audience Prize are almost level-pegging: a reinterpretation of the housing construction ”Hamburger Terrassen” (Hamburg Terraces) as a part of the IBA Hamburg (International Building Exhibition Hamburg) and an extremely modern – very sculptural – (high-rise) residential building with luxury apartments situated at a popular location of the HafenCity. The general public in Hamburg obviously pays great attention to the architectural differentiations and once again votes in favour of modern architecture. Hence, we have the impression, that the development of architecture in Hamburg is widely accepted in public.

In Hamburg, the substantial quality of architecture has always been important and outstanding and has a broad foundation: excellent architects, ambitious building contractors and building authorities devoted to Hamburg, a decent execution as well as a vivid public opinion.

I would like to thank all participating architects, building contractors, all interested parties of public authorities, housing developers, our media partner ”Die WELT“/ ”Welt am Sonntag“ and the general public for their contribution. I would also like to thank everybody who was involved in the conception and conducting of the prize competition and of the exhibition as well as in the production of the catalogue here presented – these are namely the jury members, the pre-examiners, the BDA board, the editors, the BDA administrative office and all BDA members, who are making this project possible in the first place.

Supported by this fine community we will be able to further enhance the project promoting high quality in buildings of our city of Hamburg in the future.

Karin Loosen,
Chair of the Board of the Association of German Architects BDA of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

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