What is the Brussels Architecture Prize?
The Brussels Architecture Prize [BAP] is a biennial architecture prize, an initiative of the Brussels-Capital Region implemented by Urban.Brussels in co-production with A+ Architecture in Belgium. The prize was launched in 2021 and hereby kicks off for the second edition.
The BAP in 2023 will highlight Brussels:
- as a metropolis with great spatial qualities where both established names and young architects can gain a foothold,
- as a laboratory for contemporary architecture and urban planning where innovative projects are actively supported,
- and as a source of inspiration for urban policy reaching far beyond the region’s borders.
The exhibitions A Vision for Brussels: Imagining the Capital of Europe (2007) and Building for Brussels (2012), both organised by the Region in collaboration with Architecture Workroom Brussels and Bozar, showed visions and leading international examples to inspire the Brussels metropolis. Ten years later, thanks to a carefully considered architectural policy, Brussels itself can put forward projects, visions and practices that are a source of inspiration both nationally and internationally. Today, Brussels is a model for Europe in terms of architectural quality, urban-planning innovation, renovation and conversion, reuse and circular construction. Moreover, architecture plays a dynamic role in the Brussels economy.
A prize is the best way to pay tribute to these works and their makers! In addition, this prize is an opportunity to have a high-level debate about architecture and urban planning every two years since it feeds the new narrative according to which architecture as a discipline can provide answers to the challenges of the contemporary metropolis.
With this prize, Brussels is aiming for excellence in architectural quality. The Prize is organised in partnership with CIVA and Bozar.
Who is the Brussels Architecture Prize 2023 for?
This biennial prize rewards recently completed projects by Belgian or foreign architects in Brussels and by Brussels offices in Flanders, Wallonia or abroad. Any architect with an office in Brussels or the designer of a project that contributes to the quality of the capital, completed between January 2020 and June 2023, can enter a submission. Both young and established architects can apply with small, innovative interventions and major, public interventions.
You are therefore eligible if:
- your architectural office is based in the Brussels-Capital Region and has realised a project in Brussels, Flanders, Wallonia or abroad, completed or put into use between January 2020 and June 2023,
- your architectural office is not based in the Brussels-Capital Region but has recently realized a project there, completed or put into use between January 2020 and June 2023.
When entering a group project, at least one of the submitters must meet the conditions set out above. Every submitter or group of submitters may enter up to three completed projects. The submitted realisations must be presented in accordance with the provisions of these regulations. The client must give his/her consent to compete for the Brussels Architecture Prize 2023.
All projects must meet the following criteria:
- completed between January 2020 and June 2023,
- with architectural and/or process quality,
- contributing to society in a positive way,
- paying specific attention to sustainable construction in the broader sense of the term. This may be a matter of reuse, renovation/conversion, passive construction, contributing to the circular economy, using renewable energy, accessibility and attention to soft mobility.
- all projects must have a building permit for a new construction, demolition and reconstruction, or reconversion with or without expansion. The project must have been fully implemented in accordance with the permit and in compliance with applicable procedures and regulations during the four years preceding the application deadline.
Projects must be submitted in line with all regulations before the deadline of 20 April 2023 12AM via the website www.brusselsarchitectureprize.be.
In this year’s edition, the projects were screened by Renolution in terms of sustainability and the most outstanding projects will be awarded with the labels * “innovative practices in circularity“ and *”exemplary practices in circularity”. In dialogue with urban.brussels, Renolution’s review considered five dimensions, giving space for experimentation in this period of transition towards a renewed, circular construction economy.
- Precision: Have circular concepts been translated into concrete, precise actions or practices?
- Innovation: Which innovations are claimed by the project?
- Ambition: Which level(s) of circular ambition have been included?
- Attitude: Are material loops closed ?
- Proof: Does the dossier also give proof of the elements it claims?
In order to have a sufficient base of information, all offices were asked to answer to following questions for each submitted project:
- Was the submitted project designed in a circular way? (1)
- How has the project incorporated the principles of adaptability and flexibility? Does the project include the use of reused, recycled and/or recyclable materials? If so, which ones? (2)
- Has the project design incorporated the future deconstruction of the building and its components?
- Is the project submitted more ambitious than the current regulations in terms of building energy performance requirements?
- Does the project limit its energy demand?
- Does the project generate on-site renewable energy?
A design that enables adaptability, scalability, flexibility and future deconstruction. How does the renovation project integrate the principles of circular design to enable adaptability and flexibility of the building and future deconstruction of the building and its components?
A design that promotes spatial reversibility: flexibility; polyvalence of spaces; expandability; possibility of subdivision into independent zones; positioning and sizing of entrances and passages….
B design that promotes technical reversibility: location of technical ducts; dimensioning of technical ducts and spaces; adaptability of technical installations.
You can submit your project in one of the following four categories:
- Small intervention
architectural projects < 1,000 m²: buildings or renovations located in the Brussels-Capital Region which, thanks to an intelligent plan, ingenious detailing, the responsible use of materials or a clever organization, offer accurate answers to the challenges of the contemporary metropolis.
- Major intervention
buildings located in the Brussels-Capital Region which, by virtue of their volume, their programme or their ambition, redesign the city, give it a new appearance or have a meaningful impact on the quality and perception of the immediate environment.
- Public space
projects in the public space, located in the Brussels-Capital Region, which, constitute an added value for its users, promote green mobility, and thus make it a city for everyone. This concerns not only streets, squares and parks, but also semi-public spaces that open themselves up to the neighbourhood and to passers-by, and as such give something back to the neighbourhood and the city.
- Extra muros
high-quality projects built outside the Brussels territory (national or international) but designed by a firm based in the Brussels-Capital Region.
Given the stratification of architectural projects, we realize that each project may be entered in several categories. However, a project may only be entered in a single category. That is why we ask architects to clearly focus their submissions on the most representative category. The winners are designated by category. Only one winner may be selected; there can be no joint winners.
In addition to these four categories, we will also present a Lifetime Achievement Award and reward the work of an up-and-coming office with a special award.
- Lifetime Achievement Award
this special award is given to a Brussels office or architect who, through years of dedication, has brought about positive changes for Brussels. The scientific committee will nominate several candidates, and the laureate will be chosen by the jury members.It is therefore not possible to enter a submission for this award.
- Promising Young Architect Award
a special award for a young emerging office based in the Brussels-Capital Region whose founders are no older than 40 in December 2023.
International jury and scientific committee
The jury is selected by the scientific committee. The jury gathers at the invitation of the organizers at the appointed place and time. If there are enough jurors (at least 5 persons) to make a valid decision, the deliberations begin. The jury may be assisted by persons designated by the organizers; these persons have no voting right. A juror, their associate(s), interns or close relatives may not take part in the competition. When it gathers, the jury will establish its work method, either by immediate classification or by successive eliminations, or a combination of both. Its decisions will be taken by simple majority of the votes cast. In the event of a tie, the chair will have the casting vote.
The president of the jury is obliged to formulate and sign the result of the deliberations together with a specific comment regarding each of the works to receive a prize or nomination. The jury will draw up a report that will be made public. Jurors will be asked to give interviews (written, audio or video). These recordings may also be made public. Being a member of the jury implies the unconditional acceptance of these competition rules. If a member of the jury is prevented from attending, he/she must provide a substitute and notify the organizer of the name of the substitute in good time. An observer from among the organizers and some members of the A+ editorial board will sit in on each jury.
The quality of the jury is in direct proportion to the quality of the prize. That is why the selection is made by a professional jury in two stages: 1. selection of nominees, 2. selection of winners.
The professional international jury is composed of renowned Belgian and foreign architects and key figures from the international world of architecture with a connection to (or love for) Brussels. The jury first makes the preselection and reduces the number of entries to six nominated projects per category, except for the Lifetime Achievement, where the nominees are proposed by the scientific committee. The jury will visit each nominated project and then selects the winners from among the nominees. The jury will also choose a winner from among the submissions for the Promising Young Architect.
The scientific committee consists of the following persons:
- Kristiaan Borret (Government Architect of the Brussels-Capital Region),
- Yves Schoonjans (Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Design, KU Leuven campuses Sint-Lucas Brussels and Ghent),
- Audrey Contesse (Director of the ICA, Institut culturel d’architecture),
- Nikolaus Hirsch (Artistic Director of CIVA),
- Marcelle Rabinowicz (Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at ULB La Cambre-Horta),
- Typhaine Moogin (Cellule Architecture – Wallonia-Brussels Federation),
- Bety Waknine and Guy Condé-Reis (Urban.Brussels)
- Lisa De Visscher and Lara Molino (A+)
A public jury will choose a favourite project from among the 24 nominees, regardless of all categories. This occurs through information on the prize website, through the exhibition and during the Archiweek. (see below)
People’s Choice Award, communication and fringe programme
The award ceremony for the Brussels Architecture Prize 2023 will take place in December 2023. The ceremony will be held at the Centre For Fine Arts (Brussels), in the presence of all nominees, winners, organizers, partners and sponsors.
In addition, we also wish to develop a fringe programme to highlight certain topical themes and to bring together the various players in the construction sector. This programme will unfold between Archiweek (November 2023) and the award ceremony (December 2023).
- The nominated projects will be shown in an exhibition during Archiweek in Brussels (archiweek.urban.brussels). The exhibition is made in collaboration with Urban.Brussels
- There will be a People’s Choice Award. The general public can vote online for one of the nominated projects. Information about these projects can be found in the exhibition, but also in short films that will be made about each project and can be viewed on the website of the Brussels Architecture Prize (www.brusselsarchitectureprize.be). The public will also have the possibility to visit the nominated projects during the Archiweek.
- There will be debates by the architects of the nominated projects, in collaboration with CIVA. This series will run from Archiweek until the award ceremony.
- The award ceremony will take place in December 2023 at the Centre for Fine Arts. All nominated projects will be shown briefly. There will be a reception, at which we will also present the special issue A+305, dedicated entirely to the Brussels Architecture Prize.
The BAP website is the official competition website for registrations, the presentation of all submissions, general communications and press releases:
www.brusselsarchitectureprize.be. This digital communication will further be complemented by newsletters and posts on our own social media (Instagram) as well as through the channels of our partners.
Special issue A+305
The winter issue of the magazine A+ Architecture in Belgium will be entirely dedicated to the Brussels Architecture Prize 2023. A+305 will feature an overview of the nominees and winners and portraits of both the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Promising Young architect Award. There will also be room for quotes from the jury, a longer article contextualizing architecture in Brussels, and interviews.
The special issue will be published in three separate versions: Dutch, French and English. The publication will be distributed at the award ceremony, via the cabinet, Urban and the A+ distribution channels subscriptions and individual sales through distribution in bookshops).
Registering and entering a submission
Register online by uploading your project on www.brusselsarchitectureprize.be before 20 April 2023 12AM at latest. Your file must enable the jury to assess the quality of the realization according to the criteria mentioned above and the further category-specific criteria. Choose a category for your submission (Small intervention, Major intervention, Public space, Extra-muros) and fill in the details of your project. Provide us with a maximum of 10 photos of the project and a filled-out version of the provided PDF template (PDF format, A4, portrait format, 5 pages, max. 5 MB, in English) that will serve as a direct support for the jury to your guided tour to the project during the last week of June.
The guidelines to help you register and upload your projects can be found on the website as a printable version. Once the projects have been uploaded correctly, submitters will receive an online confirmation.
By submitting an entry, the author of a project agrees that the documents and photographs related to the nominated realisations may be used by the organizer for communication of the projects (digital and paper media) within the framework of the BAP without having to submit a request or obtain permission. The authors of the submitted projects will make a prior arrangement concerning the copyright of the photos. The name of the realization and the author will always be mentioned, as well as the name of the photographer.
For pictures published in A+305 that are not royalty free, a fee will be paid to the photographer who holds the copyright, in accordance with the fees of A+ Architecture in Belgium.
By sending in the application, the applicants confirm, upon selection by the jury, their presence during the debates that will take place at CIVA between Archiweek and the award ceremony in Bozar. They thereby also confirm their presence as a guide during the jury visits of the submitted project, as well as visits that will take place during Archiweek. The applicant also commits to participating in video interviews or promotional pictures.
Rewards for the winners
The organization can count on the support of a large number of sponsors. The prize money is made available by organizations and public authorities. The architects declared the winners in the 4 categories of the Brussels Architecture Prize 2023 will receive a monetary prize of € 4,000. No monetary prize is provided for the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Promising Young Architect or the People’s Choice Award.
The architects of the prize-winning realizations will also receive a memento in the form of a statuette. Every architect and/or client who wishes to do so can mention the fact that a project has received an award or nomination, on condition that they add the mention ‘Brussels Architecture Prize 2023 of the Brussels-Capital Region, in collaboration with A+ Architecture in Belgium’.
1 March 2023
20 April 2023
May – June 2023
November – December 2023
November – December 2023
11 December 2023
12 December 2023
Launch of the call for entries
Deadline submissions and announcement of the jury members
Meeting of the jury members: analysis, visits and selection of the winning projects
Announcement of the nominees and online voting People’s Choice Award
Archiweek, & guided tours of the nominated projects
Award ceremony at Bozar and announcement of winners
Entering the competition implies the unreserved acceptance of both these competition rules and the final decision of the jury. Any potential dispute relating to the award of the Brussels Architecture Prize 2023 or the interpretation of these regulations shall be submitted by the organizers to the opinion or arbitration of the Belgian Order of Architects.
The organizers reserve the right to cancel the competition in whole or in part if the number of participants or the number of prizes to be awarded is considered insufficient.
Competition address and information
The Brussels Architecture Prize is an initiative of the Brussels-Capital Region that is implemented by Urban in co-production with A+ Architecture in Belgium.
Brussels Architecture Prize 2023
A+ Architecture in Belgium
Ernest Allardstraat 21/3