The International Terminal at Waterloo Station has been selected for the biennial Mies van der Rohe Pavilion Award for European Architecture 1994 presented by the Fundació Mies van der Rohe – Barcelona and the European Commission. The architects were Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners. The Jury expressed the importance of also giving credit to Tony Hunt who was the structural engineer for the project.
The Jury recognized the important role that modern railway station plays in society and in urban life; for many people it is the gateway to the city. Waterloo Station is the tradition of its Victorian forebearers but it builds on the structural engineering technology of today. The Jury was impressed by the rigour of the three dimensional geometry of the roof and the manner in which it responded to the track alignment and the urban grain into which it is integrated. It is not possible to study this building without being reminded of similar organic forms in nature. The Jury enjoyed the qualities of natural light and the sense of uplift in this project which were a part of the experience of arrival and departure.
It was only afterwards that one member of the Jury commented on the symbolic overtones of a European Award for architecture in 1994 going to the Terminal for the cross channel link in the year of its inauguration.
There were 69 submissions for this year’s Award from which the Jury selected twenty-seven finalists projects and made a special mention of either or first works of three young architects. It was the promise and optimism of these schemes that led to much discussion and a collective decision to highlight the three buildings for qualities which were different but special to each one. These schemes were the Maastricht Academy for Arts and Architecture, by Wiel Arets; the Postmens’ Flats in Paris, by Philippe Gazeau and the Vitra Fire Station in Wiel-am-Rhine, Germany by Zaha Hadid.
The Jury meeting for this Award is a rare opportunity for architects from different countries, several with academic links to universities, to come together and review a cross section of two years of production in the field professional compiled by a group of independent Experts.
In the many discussions that were stimulated by the entries there was also constant reference by the Jury to the important role that clients play in the commissioning and encouragement of socially responsible projects. More than one member felt that it was time for new social initiatives. It was suggested that public bodies were well placed to create briefs that were more innovative and could better use the skills of architects to create projects with more social relevance.
See more information about the 1994 winner (Mies Arch database)