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Winner of the architectural design competition for the design school zollverein in Essen

Prof. Thomas Sievert: “A great moment for architecture in the Ruhr”

In a two-stage process, the competition jury unanimously agreed on the design submitted by the Tokyo-based architectural studio SANAA. Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa’s design, which is a fine example of Japanese rationalism, was chosen from over 1,200 competition entries.
Their design, which is characterised by an extremely reductionist style, meets all of the task’s multiple requirements. The design school zollverein will be an outstanding construction and its openness will invite different forms of communication and cooperation. Its architectural design is a contemporary yet rational continuance of the architecture of Schupp und Kremmer and is therefore an appropriate interpretation of the world heritage site. The position of the building and the design of the outdoor area are the concrete embodiment of the “attractor” defined in the Office for Metropolitan Architecture’s (OMA) master plan.

We would like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to the d/s/z press lunch, which will take place at the end of February. This lunch will give you the chance to meet and put questions to Kazuyo Sejima. We will also provide you with information on the design school concept on this occasion. You will receive your personal invitation in the next few days.

Details of the public exhibition of competition entries, which will be held in the Entwicklungs-Gesellschaft Zollverein building, will be sent to you separately.

Statements by members of the jury

Dr. Wolfgang Roters, managing director of the EGZ
“A great, unanimously-selected architectural design that resembles the architectural ensemble at Zollverein in terms of its rationalist and reductionist use of forms. At the same time, as the far-eastern counterpart of the Bauhaus style, it exudes unbelievable poetic strength.
It is an invitation to the people of the city, the north of Essen and the entire Ruhr region to come to the Zollverein. Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa will work with the local people on the planning of the outdoor area to open it up to the rest of the site. It is important that this dialogue is constructive and committed so that local residents can be proud of this new part of the Zollverein.”

Prof. Ralph Bruder, first president of the d/s/z
“SANAA’s white cube is the ideal design for its future user, the design school zollverein (d/s/z), because the strict design of the structure translates the new and abstract programme of business design into a necessary yet unique architectural statement. The exterior of the building both arouses curiosity and inspires discussion. The flexible room layout in its interior meets the requirements for an inspiring work atmosphere perfectly while allowing plenty of room for important informal contacts. During the interviews conducted as part of the competition process, it quickly became evident that Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa are highly competent and therefore the ideal partners for our research and teaching tasks. Finally, the Asian link also underpins the d/s/z’s international aspirations.”

Floris Alkemade, architect at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture
“SANAA’s design picks up on the spirit of rationalism and reductionism that is so characteristic of the architecture of the Zollverein. It is also right in line with the master plan and will provide new impetus for both the Zollverein and the surrounding districts.”

Prof. Reinhard Roseneck, representative of ICOMOS – the UNESCO Monitoring Group
“This design picks up the basic architectural idea behind the Zollverein. The reduction of form, the spirit of new functionalism, functionality and cube shape are the key elements in the Zollverein concept. All of these ideas are reflected in this design and constitute a confident addition to the world heritage site.”

Prof. Gesine Weinmiller, architect
“This is one of those rare, happy occasions where location, task, proposed solution and creator combine to provide such an utterly convincing winner of such a complex competition.”

Hans-Jürgen Best, councillor of the City of Essen
“Outstanding architecture that fully meets the requirements of function and content. This design is the modern reincarnation of the spirit of the Zollverein. While the fact that the building faces the street appears strange at first, it allows contemporary design to be presented as a starting point for the economic and cultural development of Zollverein and the suburb of Katernberg.”

Press contact
Entwicklungs-Gesellschaft Zollverein mbH
Gelsenkirchener Straße 181, 45309 Essen
Simone Doell, Tel.: +49 (0)201/8543-190
Fax: +49(0)201/8543-100
[email protected], www.zollverein.de

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