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The eighth edition of the Swiss Architectural Award

Xu Tiantian, founder of DnA Design and Architecture studio (China), is the winner of the eighth Swiss Architectural Award, a biennial international architecture prize promoted since 2018 by the Fondazione Teatro dell’architettura.

The eighth edition of the Swiss Architectural Award, confirms the collaboration between the three Swiss Schools of Architecture USI – Accademia di architettura, Mendrisio; EPFL – ENAC, Section d’Architecture, Lausanne; ETHZ – Departement Architektur, Zurich, represented in the jury, chaired by architect Mario Botta, by their deans/directors, Walter Angonese, Dieter Dietz and Tom Emerson. The Award benefits from the organizational and operative support of the Università della Svizzera italiana – Academy of Architecture.

With this cooperation, which reaffirms the Award’s national importance, the Swiss Architectural Award confirms it is one of the best endowed and most prestigious architectural awards, by virtue of an advisory committee consisting of internationally renowned architects and architecture critics.

The Swiss Architectural Award aims to promote a kind of architecture that is sensitive to contemporary ethical, aesthetic and ecological issues and can facilitate public and disciplinary debate. The prize is awarded, on a biennial basis, to architects not older than 50 years (in the year in which the Award is launched), without distinction of nationality, who have completed at least three significant works.

The prize, which amounts to CHF 100,000, will be presented to the winner on 4th May 2023 at the Auditorium of Teatro dell’architettura Mendrisio, Università della Svizzera italiana. The ceremony will launch the exhibition of the works submitted by the candidates.

Xu Tiantian – DnA Design and Architecture was chosen from 26 candidates from 14 countries, selected by the committee of advisors, who fully met the expectations of the award promoters and jury.

The jury unanimously conferred the Swiss Architectural Award 2022 to Xu Tiantian for the reuse of the Shimen Bridge over the Songyin River (2016-2017), the tofu factory in Caizhai Village (2017-2018), and the reuse of the Jinyun quarries (2021-2022), with the following reasons:

The three works presented by Xu Tiantian, located in both Songyang and Jinyun county (a rural area in Zhejang province (China) characterised by a landscape whose traditional structure has been preserved on the one hand, and on the other threatened by the depopulation process induced by the migration of younger people to the region’s urban centres) convinced the jury for the successful combination between the civic instances animating them (as they aim to serve local communities) and the quality of the proposed architecture, characterised by a marked attention to the context, by a precise and poetic attitude at the same time, and by the blending of different scales and themes, between architecture and infrastructure, between permanent and ephemeral, between reuse and ex-novo intervention.

The jury considered the Xu Tiantian work perfectly suited to the objectives of Swiss Architectural Award, i.e. to recognise and raise the public profile of architects from all over the world who, through their work, have made a significant contribution to contemporary architecture, in particular by demonstrating environmental awareness and thus helping to improve the quality of life of humankind.

The jury of the eighth edition was chaired by Mario Botta and composed of Walter Angonese (Director of the Accademia di architettura, USI), Stéphanie Bru (winner, with the Paris-based studio Bruther, of the seventh SAA edition), Dieter Dietz (Director of the Section d’Architecture, EPFL-ENAC) and Tom Emerson (Dean of the Departement Architektur, ETHZ).

The candidates for the eighth edition were nominated by a committee of advisor consisting of Manuel Aires Mateus, Lisbon (Portugal); Solano Benitez, Asunción (Paraguay); Angelo Bucci, São Paulo (Brazil); Marianne Burkhalter, Zurich (Switzerland); Sean Godsell, Melbourne (Australia); Junya Ishigami, Tokyo (Japan); Shelley McNamara, Dublin (Ireland); Valerio Olgiati, Flims (Switzerland); András Pálffy, Vienna (Austria); Elisa Valero, Granada (Spain); Paolo Zermani, Parma (Italy).

The candidates in the 2022 edition of the Swiss Architectural Award were: Atelier Masōmī – Mariam Kamara (Niger), Bernardo Bader (Austria), Barão Hutter (Ivo Mendes Barão Teixeira, Peter Hutter, Switzerland), Giulio Basili (Italy), Bloco Arquitetos (Daniel Mangabeira, Henrique Coutinho, Matheus Seco, Brazil), Manuel Cervantes (Mexico), dekleva gregoric architects (Aljoša Dekleva, Tina Gregorič, Slovenia); Domat (Maggie Ma, Mark Kingsley, China); Estudio Flume (Christian Teshirogi, Noelia Montero, Brazil), Estudio Macías Peredo (Magui Peredo, Salvador Macías, Messico), Graux & Baeyens (Basile Graux, Koen Baeyens, Belgium), Grillovasiu (Romina Grillo, Liviu Vasiu, Switzerland), Go Hasegawa (Japan), Carla Juaçaba (Brazil), Ryan Kennihan (Ireland), LACOL Arquitectura Cooperativa (Spain), lopes brenna (Cristiana Lopes, Giacomo Brenna, Switzerland), Rozana Montiel (Mexico), Nickisch Walder Architekten (Georg Nickisch, Selina Walder, Switzerland), RAMA estudio (Carla Chávez, Felipe Donoso, Carolina Rodas, Ecuador), sugiberry (Mayu Takasugi, Johannes Berry, Belgium), Ted’A Arquitectes (Irene Perez Pifferer, Jaume Mayol Amengual, Spain); Terra+Tuma (Danilo Terra, Fernanda Sakano, Pedro Tuma, Juliana Terra, Brazil), Tropical Space (Tran Thi Ngu Ngon, Nguyen Hai Long, Vietnam), Xu TiantianDnA Design and Architecture (China), Raphael Zuber (Switzerland).

Portrait of Xu Tiantian: © Photo by Xu Meng

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