International VELUX Award 2012 for Students of Architecture

Team from Switzerland takes first prize among 983 entries


The excitement has peaked with the presentation of four winners and ten honourable mentions at the International VELUX Award 2012 event in Porto, Portugal. A team of two chinese students of architecture from ETHZ in Zürich, Switzerland, takes first prize for their poetic project "resonance, memory".

According to the winning students the conception of their project has been driven by a strong desire to move architecture beyond the physical world to arouse emotions. Inspired by the many hiking trips that the two students from China have enjoyed during their studies at ETHZ, the entry is based on the idea of a hypothetical mudflow in the Swiss Alps burying a village. The project works with columns of transparent thermoplastic planted into the earth as a metaphorical representation of the former village. Sunlight is being transmitted through the columns into the subterranean space, where they illuminate a poetic memory of the former rooms in the buried houses.

- Nowadays, more and more architects are trying to think outside the box, but the Award theme is just the right topic to make us go back to the core of that box. It is our belief that the more artificial our world becomes the more we want to go back to nature. So, in our opinion, the theme "Light of tomorrow" works as a reminder of the fact that we can work with both artificial and natural light and that the two can work together," says Bo Li, who developed the winning project together with his team mate Ge Men.

- The first prize project is impressive because it addresses three distinct scales very eloquently, very powerfully and in a more comprehensive manner than any of the other entries. At the same time it reconnects us to the memory of things that were once there. The powerful idea of memory and the subconscious are included in the project, says jury chairman Brigitte Shim in her motivation for the winning project.

Students from Korea, Poland and China take 2nd and 3rd prizes
A team of five students from the Inje University in Korea wins second prize for their highly imaginative and innovative project titled "The Mongolian dandelion seed impregnated with light". The project seeks to provide Mongolian nomads with shade during the day and light and heat during the night. The jury characterized the project as remarkable, exemplary, and beautifully presented.

A team of students from the technical university in Krakow, Poland takes third prize for their very conceptual project "Light as a tool to break structure". They share the third prize with a team from Tongji University in China, exploring the interaction of people and light in buildings in their project "Privatization of sunshine".

In addition to the four winning projects, the jury awards ten honourable mentions representing China (4 projects), Belgium (2 projects), Portugal (1 project), Spain (1 project), Romania (1 project) and Denmark (1 project).

All prize winners and honourable mentions have been selected unanimously among the jury.

A huge forum for exploring important issues about light
The jury found the range of themes represented in the 983 entries from 59 countries powerful, raising questions about the role of light in architecture in many different ways.

- As a jury we have had a chance to see a huge international forum for questioning and exploring some very important issues about light for all of us as architects, but also as human beings, since light is fundamental to everyone, and timeless in many ways. I think the invention, re-invention, and the rethinking of light demonstrated by the hundreds of entries is one of the really exciting elements of this competition, says jury chairman Brigitte Shim.

The Award organizers from the VELUX Group are pleased to see the general quality of the projects for the Award increasing.

- Students have the ability to think out of the box. They have the possibility to be experimental and work freely with the topic, the Light of Tomorrow. And we certainly see great experiments and exploration when looking through the entries; all in all a great source of inspiration for the future, says Per Arnold Andersen, architect and head of the Daylight, Energy and Indoor Climate Department in the VELUX Group and representing the company on the jury.

The International VELUX Award for Students of Architecture takes place every second year, next time in 2014. All winning projects are presented in the Award Yearbook, and all 983 entries are displayed on the Award website.

Detailed information about the winners, photos, and graphics are available for download from the press section on

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