Donna van Milligen Bielke wins Prix de Rome Architecture 2014

Architect Donna van Milligen Bielke (NL, 1983) was presented with the Prix de Rome Architecture 2014 from Minister of Culture, Jet Bussemaker. Van Milligen Bielke won the prize for Cabinet of Curiosities, her project for the Hoogstraat in Rotterdam. The award includes a cash sum of 40,000 Euros and a residency in Rome.

v.l.n.r. minister Jet Bussemaker, Donna van Milligen Bielke, Birgit Donker. Foto Daniel Nicholas

v.l.n.r. minister Jet Bussemaker, Donna van Milligen Bielke, Birgit Donker. Foto Daniel Nicolas

The international jury awarded the prize to Donna van Milligen Bielke for her radical and poetical proposal. She responds to the situation of decline and renewal in Rotterdam by enclosing the cacophony of solitary architectural icons in the Laurenskwartier. Various iconic structures are placed in individual containers, resulting in exciting new public interspaces. By putting each history in a different container, banality and serenity coalesce in this radical plan while the vast emptiness of the Binnenrotte is quietly ritualized. The idea, elaborated with great consistency, adds a new layer and allows for the development of a fascinating building typology that offers a solid solution for large solitary buildings. The brilliant concept leaves enough to the imagination: new communities can easily emerge in the interspaces and the jury is already fantasizing about a concrete implementation. Involving several architects in the design of the framing blocks has the potential to deliver a magnificent outcome. The jury is delighted to have discovered a young design talent in this seemingly simple solution and has no hesitation in unanimously awarding the Prix de Rome 2014 to Donna van Milligen Bielke.

In 2012 Donna van Milligen Bielke graduated at the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam. In 2013 she was nominated for the Archiprix Netherlands with her graduation project Reversed Boogie Woogie, a plan for the Amsterdam City Hall.

Foto: Daniel Nicholas

Foto: Daniel Nicolas

Donna van Milligen Bielke was nominated for the Prix de Rome along with Steven Delva, Florian Idenburg, Marieke Kums, Kees Lokman, Jasper Nijveldt, Tim Prins and  XML. They spent three months working on a fictional assignment for the area where Hoogstraat and Binnenrotte intersect in Rotterdam. An international jury challenged the participants to come up with a vision to turn Hoogstraat into a vibrant, mixed-use city street. An intervention at Binnenrotte is intended to breathe life back into the old dam and connect with the history of Rotterdam.

Prix de Rome
The Prix de Rome is the oldest and most prestigious prize in the Netherlands for young architects and artists under the age of 40. The award dates back to 1808 when Louis Napoleon introduced the Prix de Rome in the Netherlands to promote the arts. Although the award has regularly been renewed, the aim is still to tracé talented artists and architects and encourage them to develop and increase their visibility. Since January 2013, the award has been organised and financed by the Mondriaan Fund.

The jury, chaired by Birgit Donker (director of the Mondriaan Fund), comprises Adriaan Geuze (winner Prix de Rome 1990, landscape architect and partner West 8), William Lim (director CL3 Architects Ltd, architect and artist), Ellen van Loon (architect and partner OMA), Saskia van Stein (artistic director and curator Bureau Europa), Cathelijne Nuijsink (critic, writer on architecture and design).

Exhibition and publication
The final presentation of the proposals designed by all nominated architects is on display until 22 January in Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam. During the presentation of the prize, the first copy of the publication Prix de Rome Architecture 2014 was handed to Prix de Rome winner Donna van Milligen Bielke. (NAi010 Uitgevers, ISBN 978-94-6208-156-7, ned/eng, ill., €19,85 (NL), ontwerp: Lesley Moore)