The Finnish prize for wood architecture ‘Spirit of Nature’, this year, goes to the Vorarlberg architect Hermann Kaufmann.
The jury based its decision explicitly on Kaufmanns life’s work. The work of the Austrian, born in 1955, was characterized by sustainability, beauty and functionality. The award ceremony took place on September 10th at the Sibelius Hall in Lahti. The head of the jury, Professor Matti Rauttiola, wrote of the award winner;
“Kaufmann’s work is part of the generations’ old tradition. He builds from wood, he builds sustainable and beautiful, he builds with people and for humans. The Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Prize honours his decades of work and his life.
It’s appealing, uncompromising details were based primarily on functionality, durability and a delicate understanding for the material as well as its concrete, tangible appearance, which can only arise in a seamless collaboration between the architect and the construction worker. Thanks to his pronounced social conscience and his ambitious work, he has created a piece of architecture that integrates into the environment with its modernism.”
The prize has been awarded every two years since 2000 and comes with a 40,000 euros award. Also receiving the prize are Italy’s Renzo Piano, Kengo Kuma from Japan, Richard Leplastrier from Australia, and Switzerlands Peter Zumthor. Two years ago the award went to the Chilean architect José Cruz Ovalle.
In addition to his work as an architect, Hermann Kaufmann has been a professor at the Technical University of Munich since 2002. In addition to renovating buildings, he is intensively involved with restoration. Kaufmann comes from a family with a history of handwork and craftsmanship in Vorlarberg. In 2007 he was awarded the Global Award for sustainable architecture. Kaufmann about himself:
“I am an architect, who feels more comfortable in workplaces and on construction sites than in the studio and on the drawing board. Both aspects have an important role: the architect in me ensures that simple does not become banal and the craftsman prevents things from being overly complicated.