Mies Memorial Library.
Jury minutes

The jury and the organization of the Mies Memorial Library competition would like to highlight the tremendous effort made by the 105 teams who submitted their proposals for this competition. We feel privileged that you decided to work on this project on top of the already busy schedule of an architecture student, and want to ensure you that each and every single project was revised with the same care and consideration you all put into your presentations.

The projects were reviewed by the jury during an in-person meeting that took place on February 7th 2022 at the One CoWork location in Barcelona.

The following members of the jury assisted to the meeting:

  • Alicia Casals (NOMO Studiio)
  • Karl Nyqvist (NOMO Studiio)
  • Eugenia Soto (Baukunst Academy)
  • Iñaki Volante (Baukunst Academy)
  • Cristina Gastón

During this meeting, the jury unanimously selected a first, second and third prize, but felt that the participation had not been sufficient to award 10 Honorable Mentions. For that reason, only 7 Honorable Mentions were awarded.

It’s in the nature of a competition that only a few projects get awarded, and it is understandable that this might cause some frustration or disagreement. However, we believe learning is the most important aspect of this event. Learning both from the experience itself as well as from the projects submitted by other teams. That is why we would like to share a short review on each of the awarded projects (further down on this same page), so that everyone can understand what they valued from each of them and what they thought could have been done better.

First Prize. INvsible INheritance by 3a_ck4nq_ljnk_nqw._l4m

Project Name: Invsible INheritance
Registration Code: #23047
Team Name: 3a_ck4nq_ljnk_nqw._l4m
Team Members: Huu Tri TRAN, Duy Tan TRAN, Thai Son AU
School/s: Hanoi University of Civil Engineering

The jury considered this project managed to give appropriate solutions to different matters, at different scales, and did so in a coherent and unified project that would be valuable addition to the IIT campus.

At a larger scale, this project creates some high-quality outdoor spaces which members of the IIT would surely enjoy. The fact that the memorial building above ground has a reduced footprint, and the juxtaposition of this volume with the void created by the auditorium entrance, modulates the park, breaking it down into different areas where one could easily imagine different activities happening simultaneously without disturbing one another.

Looking at the building itself, burying the “heaviest” parts of the program allowed the project to achieve a very light and transparent volume above ground, which algins well with the idea of a memorial, while also creating a very inviting space to go study or read a book at. The use of cutting-edge materials such as carbon fiber or structural glass are also a nice gesture towards Mies, who also experimented with what was cutting edge at his time. If anything, the jury would have appreciated seeing some this structural solution in more details in the presentation, being that structure was a key element in Mies’s architecture, and its reinterpretation is a delicate matter.

It was also appreciated by the jury that the project went even one step further and designed a Mies inspired modular system to help divide the interior space, allowing different activities to all happen in one common open space.

Second Prize. Digging by SEP

Project Name: Digging
Registration Code: #22394
Team Name: SEP
Team Members: Josep Eixerés Ros
School/s: Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura: UPV

The first thing that makes this project stand out is its presentation. In an era where computers seem to be an indispensable tool in many areas of our personal and professional lives, it is rare to see a hand-drawn presentation, and in this case the drawings are beautifully crafted and show all the right information without getting lost in irrelevancies. Of course a nice presentation does not make a good project, but in this case the project definitely met the expectations of the jury.

The jury appreciated the clear and clean concept of this project, and the vision to understand it as an addition to the Crown Hall and Galvin Library, to which it connects through their underground levels.

Above ground the repeated lanterns create a very strong image during the day, and even more so when it becomes dark. This conceptual and volumetric clarity seems very appropriate for a memorial, having the potential to create an impactful image. The full section shown in the presentation, including the Crown Hall and showing how the new library would respectfully relate to it above ground while connecting to it through the ground floor, was praised by the jury members.

Even though natural lightning probably wouldn’t be an issue thanks to the numerous skylights, the jury did question the feeling of spending a number of hours studying in a space with no visual connection to the exterior, as well as some safety issues that might arise when creating these narrow spaces between the skylights above ground.

Third Prize. Mies Memorial by Cluster

Project Name: Mies Memorial
Registration Code: #22764
Team Name: Cluster
Team Members: Guilherme Fernando Pinto, Estevão Diniz Trevisan, Gabriel Mori de Oliveira, Gustavo Maravieski, Charlles Junior Furtado da Silva, João Guilherme Humeniuk Lopes
School/s: Federal University of Technology – Parana (UTFPR)

The jury appreciated a careful study of Mies’s architecture by this team and a delicate application of Mies’s main architectural concepts to their project.

The result is a very considerate and respectful project that is able to create an interesting dialog with the Crown Hall and the other surrounding buildings, sometimes by imitation, while others by opposition (such as in choosing the color white for the structure.

As with the second prize project, the section of the entire site, including the Crown Hall, was very important for the jury and really helps understand the project. The render view including the Crown Hall at the end and the Seigel Hall on the right also shows that intention to create a building that can act as a connector between the preexistences.

The buffer space created between the structural columns and the glass façade seemed appropriate for a library, helping protect the façade from direct sunlight to some degree and also creating some distance between the quiet activities of characteristic of a library and the outdoor ones which might occur in the surrounding park.

Even though the project does consider the structure, the jury did highlight that the roof structure proposed probably would not be adequate for a building of this size and proportion.

Honorable Mentions
Mies Memorial Library by AMS Team

Project Name: Mies Memorial Library
Registration Code: #22462
Team Name: AMS Team
Team Members: Alcides Montenegro, Sthefanny Ríos
School/s: Universidad de Panamá

The jury valued the clean concept behind this project: Identify the private areas, put them into enclosed volumes, elevate these volumes to maintain an open floorplan at ground level.

The building itself is well defined and developed. The structure is clear and the interior elements organize around it nicely, using it to their advantage instead of being bothered by it. The jury felt like this could be a very comfortable and inviting space to come work and study, and the division between the private/noisy areas and the open floor have not only been solved but made into the leitmotif of the project. The open space of the ground floor gains an extra level of interest as it compresses and expands in section, creating different defined areas withing the open floorplan.

This was one of the few projects to select the piece of land locate between the old IIT building, the Galvin Library and the Siegel Hall. The jury considered that to be an interesting choice, but at the same time felt like more, and more accurate context should have been included in the presentation.

Mies Memorial Library by MMJ

Project Name: Mies Memorial Library
Registration Code: #22618
Team Name: MMJ
Team Members: Javiera Paz Salazar Quezada, Martina Sofía Rocha Pastene, María Jesús Farías Cabello
School/s: Universidad de Chile

This project chose to build in the area south of the Galvin Library and to the side from the Crown Hall. That immediately stood out to the jury, who found the underground connection to the Crown Hall very interesting and actually missed a stronger connection to the main library too.

The use of cutting-edge materials such as EFTE was appreciated, and the result is an apparently light and bright building in which one could easily imagine people enjoying a book or studying.

The structural solution seems appropriate for a building of these characteristics, and the partition of the main volume at the ground level leaves an open space has the potential to become a place for casual social gatherings which are a vital part of life on campus.

The presentation as beautifully executed, bringing together a variety of graphic material and managing to make it look cohesive and appealing.

Missing Piece by Septem Arch

Project Name: Missing Piece
Registration Code: #22785
Team Name: Septem Arch
Team Members: Meritxell Ariadna Izquierdo Urbizu, Andrea Arilla Hernández, Inés Arellano Alfaro, Johana Valdivieso de las Heras, Ana Etayo Miralpeix, Aitana Cascante Severiano, Leire Gómez Olagüe
School/s: Universidad de Navarra

The jury was pleased to see how this team took the time to study the original Mies’s plan for the IIT and made an effort to recover Mies’s initial vision. Research is a necessary step when approaching a project of this nature, and it seemed clear to the jury that Septem Arch understood this part of the project perfectly.

The project itself is very consistent with Mies’s architecture and other building designed later on, such as the Galvin library itself. Structure was a key element in Mies’s architecture, and this team proposed a very realistic structure solution for their building even suggesting some detailing which is key to the final look and feel of the interior and exterior spaces.

The internal distribution of spaces is carefully thought and very well represented. Once can easily understand where each activity is located within the floorplan without the need for labels or annotations.

The jury would have loved to see some further development when it comes to the materiality of the spaces.

Mies Memorial Library by G6

Project Name: Mies Memorial Library
Registration Code: #23201
Team Name: G6
Team Members: Simona Di Costanzo, Maria Vittoria Grillo
School/s: Politecnico di Milano

From this project the jury highlighted the deep exploration of materials and its commitment to them, even in the presentation itself.

The jury also like the use of patios, something which Mies himself explored throughout his architecture and which according to the jury could be very fitting for a library.

The proposed structural system is daring, but so where Mies’s structures back in the day, so exploring a structural system that has the potential to become the signature element of the project seems like a nice tribute to the figure of Mies.

The views from inside-out were also carefully treated, and even though the jury appreciated the contrast between the ground floor opening to the patios and the upper floor receiving light through the top-half windows, they did comment on how the hermetic perimetral wall created some tensions between the building and its surroundings, and how they though creating some controlled openings on this wall could’ve improved this project and taken it to the next level.

Monument of Transparency by BUAU

Project Name: Monument of Transparency
Registration Code: #23330
Team Name: BUAU
Team Members: Ahmed Bader, Hiba Algumati, Almuntaha Alsheiky
School/s: Berenice University Of Architecture And Urbanism

This project shares a lot of ideas with the winning project. Just like with the winning entry, the jury appreciated the intention to create a library, but also a true memorial. The glass cube above ground would certainly stand out amongst the other opaque volumes around and invite people to remember and reflect. They also like the way this project relates to the Crown Hall and its neighboring buildings, creating high-quality open spaces for the campus.

As much as they like the memorial cube though, they would have like to see this cube covering a more space more meaningful than the lobby, and they did question that the main spaces which are to be used by students and staff every day were relegated to the sides in what seemed to be rather dark spaces.

Way to Mies by Axa

Project Name: Way to Mies
Registration Code: #22673
Team Name: AxA
Team Members: Shadchneva Alyona Ruslanovna, Podlesnova Anastasia Sergeevna
School/s: Samara State Technical University

The jury highly valued the concept and achievements of this project on the second floor. The idea of a symbolic journey through Mies’s life through a progressive discovery of his drawings, models, etc. with the culmination at that tiny balcony, which compresses the space to the extreme before opening up to the Crown Hall, has a very poetic concept behind, which the jury really liked.

The reinterpretation of the appearance of a typical building by Mies through different materials and applying a different structural solution was also valued by the jury. However they do question whether such as divided floorplan would actually be ideal for a library, and suggested a more open plan might have been more favorable.

The view of the new building in relationship with both the Crown Hall and the Siegel Hall was very appreciated, as they are both established entities in the IIT campus and therefore any new building in this location must consider them.

Stairway to Mies Memorial Library by SPA

Project Name: Stairway to Mies Memorial Library
Registration Code: #22728
Team Name: SPA
Team Members: Andrey Khodotov, Sadovnikov Nikita Yurievich
School/s: Samara State Technical University

This being an ideas competition, the jury appreciated the strong concept behind this project. The scale of this building, together with its extreme proportion are sure to create a new icon withing the IIT campus. It is a bold proposal which would still need more work and a few evolutions in order to become a feasible project, but its core idea is strong and the jury wanted to acknowledge the risk taken by this team.

The volume of this building contrasts with the buildings around it, yet the visual language, including the structural solution and materiality, merges it, creating a mixed feeling of belonging without actually belonging.

The presentation is spot on, consistently bringing attention to the main element of the design, and thus making the panel very easy to read and comprehend.