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24 Jun 2021

KAAN-designed renovation of Antwerp arts museum among winners of Architectural Heritage Intervention awards
BY Tom Walker

The redevelopment of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts was designed by KAAN Architecten

The redevelopment of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts was designed by KAAN Architecten
photo: AHI/Mediamixer

The "respectful renovation" of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium is among the four winners of this year's European Award for Architectural Heritage Intervention (AHI).

Now in its fifth edition, AHI is a biennial award organised by the Association of Architects for the Defence and Intervention in Architectural Heritage (AADIPA) and the Association of Architects of Catalonia (COAC).

The renovation of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts – designed by KAAN Architecten – won the AHI award in the category for "Intervention in Built Heritage".

Announcing the winners, the award jury said the KAAN-led project stood out as the complex and large scale project resolved the modernisation of the building in a unitary, respectful manner.

The need to incorporate new volumes at the museum didn't alter the exterior and interior perception of the museum, while adapting to – and fitting in – with the new requirements placed on the attraction.

In its statement regarding the project, the jury said: "Furthermore, although the project redefines the museum as a whole, the perception and authenticity of the building have not been altered, despite the contrast between areas.

"In fact, in some of the areas, the utmost respect is shown towards the existing elements, while in other areas the new additions coexist harmoniously with the existing elements."

The winner of this year's "Exterior Spaces" award was the Synagogue Square project in Onda, Castellón (Spain), by El fabricante de espheras, Grupo Aranea and Cel-Ras Arquitectura.

The project included working on an 11th and 12th-century archaeological heritage site listed as an asset of cultural interest since 1967.

"Among the outstanding aspects of the project is the solution for integrating the different levels, restoring old walls and creating shady areas by playing with the light generated by a large metal structure in the centre that connects the upper level," the jury said.

Meanwhile, the winner of the AHI award for planning was given to architects Sara Bartumeus, Anna Renau and Rosa Escala for their study of the urban landscape of the La Nova Esquerra de l’Eixample neighbourhood in Barcelona.

The winner of the "dissemination" award was handed to architect Verena von Beckerath for her Two Houses project in Weimar, Germany.

The jury chose the four winning projects from a total of 294 entries – a record amount for the awards.

The awards are aimed at those involved in the interdisciplinary value chain of heritage – including architects, historians and archaeologists – and were created to act as a catalyst and observatory of the "new challenges arising from the globalisation of contemporary architecture in the conservation and intervention of built heritage".

For more information on AHI and this year's winners, click here.



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