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International VELUX Award 2008 - Winners announced today

Three winners and eight honourable mentions was presented and honoured today at an Award event in Venice.

Reilly O'Neil Hogan from the US won the first prize. Chinese Ruan Hao and Xiong Xing won second prize and Dean MacGregor from Portugal took third prize.

- I feel that light and space have a profound effect on people’s everyday experience. It has a universal appeal through time, place and belief, which gives light an incredible power as a material to enliven architecture with something greater than ourselves, says first prize winner Reilly O’Neil Hogan.

In his project “Embodied Ephemerality” (i.e. lasting for a short time) Reilly O’Neil Hogan discusses how to challenge the daily city routines by getting off the subway at a new (wrong) station. How -when you are forced to drift from your routine - you perceive the city with new eyes, in this case the Path station in Lower Manhattan. Hogan experiments with the projection of sunlight into the underground station to elevate the daily experience of the users.

- The project’s conceptual idea of discussing underground spaces with daylight is very articulated, and the project is accomplished and very efficient in scale. The author demonstrates the talent to understand and work with light in big spaces. The project covers all aspects of great imagination and a serious and professional presentation, says the jury about the winning project.

Second and third prizes to China and Portugal
A team of two students from Tsinghua University in Beijing took the second prize with their project “Interface Repairing – Light Festival” celebrating sunlight in the city.

- Too often the young architects in China are bewildered by the rapid urbanization resulting in a massive, indifferent construction. Design is not a process of innovation anymore. We hope to be pioneering architects and to make a change in the context of urban spaces and reconsider the China-made design process, say Ruan Hao and Xiong Xing, students at the Tsinghua University in Beijing to whom International VELUX Award is the first international award.

This year saw a great increase in entries from China, where 124 students from 38 schools participated in The International VELUX Award.

Third prize goes to Dean MacGregor from Portugal for his project “Light has a body”, taking the essence of light and focusing on the way that light enters and exposes itself through the refraction of water.

- I wanted to show that light can be seen as a physical dimension. You can see and feel light. I wanted to transform this invisible thing that everyone recognizes into a mass of light. To do that, I used the water. This stops the light for an instant and refracts it to the interior of the space – and creates a body of light, says Dean MacGregor, who is currently a student at Lusíada University in Lisbon.

In addition to the three prize winners the jury awards eight honourable mentions from eleven different countries representing Europe, North America and Asia.

Celebrating the talent of students
The total number of 686 projects from 244 schools in 46 countries represents a great variation of responses to the theme “Light of Tomorrow”. When the jury met in Turin this summer to evaluate all the Award entries, they were not necessarily looking for complete projects, but merely projects that celebrated the privilege of being a student – with the naivety intact, with curiosity, with the willingness to take a risk, and with a mindset for experimental thinking. The jury also looked for projects that solved a problem rather than a ready-to-build building. A strong focus was directed on projects that addressed the future rather than the past.

Jury chairman, Hani Rashid, remarks on the award winners:

-   I am very pleased with the winners because they cover three distinct parts of the entire propagation that we see in The International VELUX Award. On the one hand the winning project from a student who is working in a way that is realistic about the potential to use light, space, form and city to create a viable architectural answer. The second prize takes another approach and shows a student mind that works and thinks in terms of globalisation and of revisiting urbanism through conceptual thinking. And the third prize working in a smaller scale, but equally compelling to the jury due to its sublime poetry and with a mystical approach to light. So all in all we have the practical, the visionary and the poetic approaches that somehow sum up what all the students were after in their projects.

Promoting discussions on daylight
VELUX has always had a strong wish to facilitate the debate on natural daylight and fresh air in architecture. Michel Langrand, who is VELUX representative on the jury, explains:

- To succeed today as a company you need to have a vision or a project that goes beyond the product that you sell. What comes to us is to recognize the importance of daylight and fresh air through the roof into the building. So it is not only about selling windows, it is more about how important it is to have daylight and fresh air at an affordable price and still create the best living environment for people.

The International VELUX Award for Students of Architecture takes place every second year, next time in 2010.

All winning projects are presented in the Yearbook published for the Award event. All Award entries are exhibited on www.velux.com/iva.

Detailed information about the winners, photos, and graphics are available for download from the press section in the above mentioned website.

About VELUX
VELUX creates better living environments with daylight and fresh air through the roof. Our product programme contains a wide range of roof windows and skylights, along with solutions for flat roofs. In addition, VELUX offers many types of decoration and sun screening, roller shutters, installation products, products for remote control and thermal solar panels for installation in roofs. VELUX, which has manufacturing companies in 10 countries and sales companies in just under 40 countries, is one of the strongest brands in the global building materials sector and its products are sold in most parts of the world. The VELUX Group has more than 10,000 employees and is owned by VKR Holding A/S. VKR Holding A/S is a limited company wholly owned by foundations and family. For more details, visit www.velux.com.