Sydney-based architect Chris Bosse is the joint recipient of the prestigious European Prize for Architecture.

Bosse and his fellow partners from the Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA), Alexander Rieck and Tobias Wallisser will be presented with Europe’s highest public award for architecture at a Gala Dinner Awards Ceremony in Athens, Greece on September 23.

The European Prize for Architecture is awarded each year jointly by The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design to architects who have made a commitment to forward the principles of European humanism.

Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, President/CEO of The Chicago Athenaeum explains that the European Prize for Architecture is not a ‘lifetime of achievement award’, but serves as an impetus to support new ideas, to encourage and foster more challenge-making and forward-thinking about buildings and the environment, and to prompt the pushing of the envelope to obtain an even greater, more profound result.

The Prize also honours the commitment and achievements of the best European architects who have determined a more critical, intellectual, and artistic approach to the design of buildings and cities.

Previous Laureates include Bjarke Ingels (Denmark), Graft Architects (Germany), TYIN Architects (Norway), Marco Casagrande (Finland), Alessandro Mendini (Italy), and Santiago Calatrava (Spain/Switzerland).

The LAVA Laureates

Chris Bosse

Based in Sydney, the LAVA Asia Pacific director Chris Bosse is Adjunct Professor and Innovation Fellow at the University of Technology, Sydney and lectures worldwide. Educated in Germany and Switzerland, he worked with several high-profile European architects before moving to Sydney. As Associate Architect at PTW Architects in Sydney, he has completed many projects in China, Vietnam, the Middle-East and Japan.

A recipient of the prestigious Atmosphere Award at the 9th Annual Venice Biennale, he was recently recognised as an emerging architect on the world stage by the RIBA London.

Tobias Wallisser

Based in Stuttgart as a director of LAVA Europe, Tobias Wallisser is Professor of Innovative Construction and Spatial Concepts at the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart. After studying architecture in Berlin, Stuttgart and New York, Tobias worked in the United States, Netherlands and Germany.

For 10 years, he was an Associate Architect at UNStudio in Amsterdam, completing a series of high profile projects and master plans including the World Trade Center project in New York and the Arnhem Interchange. He was instrumental in the emergence of the recent Stuttgart Mercedes-Benz Museum, which has attracted worldwide attention for its innovative spatial concept.

Alexander Rieck

The Berlin-based director of LAVA Europe, Alexander Rieck works as a senior researcher at the renowned Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart. He studied architecture in Stuttgart and Phoenix and worked for a number of architects in Germany before starting his research career in the Virtual Reality environment. An expert on innovations in office, hotel, living and future construction, he has led many of the Office 21 research projects that produced ground breaking work in the field of future office organisation. He has also authored many publications about working environments and building processes of the future.

LAVA uses a creative analytical approach to design, with all of their work based on research. This allows the firm to develop an in-depth understanding of the constraints and opportunities affecting each project. This understanding provides a base from which LAVA explores and addresses multiple dimensions of a project simultaneously and continuously using a variety of tools and methodologies.


KACST, Saudi Arabia


In a recent project for King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, LAVA developed an innovative design for the facade of the building and the green interiors inside the new Knowledge Center by considering key local environmental and cultural factors.

Inside the master plan, the 20-storey Knowledge Centre consists of 75,000 square metres of offices to support the future expansion of the research and development campus, which will eventually grow to accommodate 10,000 researchers and scientists. Key elements of the master plan passive design strategy are the reduction of heat loads, an innovative shading system and night skycooling.

The building’s massing was designed in response to the climate of Saudi Arabia, which included utilising the vertical cores located on the east and west facades to reduce low angle solar gain, while the atrium was orientated on the North-South axis, which allowed for northern light as well as southern light reflected off light shelves. The architects also provided applied advanced bio-technology research and development integrated within the building and fit out environmental systems for the air treatment with bio breathing walls.

At KACST, the architects also contributed applied research and provided advice to the government on matters pertaining to science and technology to foster national innovation and technology transfer between research institutes and industry, as well as a national policy for the development of science and technology and develop strategies and plans necessary to implement them.

Green Climate Fund building, Germany


The Federal Republic of Germany’s proposal to host the Secretariat of the Green Climate Fund in the City of Bonn included LAVA’s design for the headquarters. The future Green Climate Fund building was to be situated in an idyllic setting along the Rhine River and offer ideal working conditions for approximately 300 Green Climate Fund officials.

The design complied with the latest energy and building ecology standards, meeting the highest demands in terms of sustainability (German gold certificate), ecology and energy efficiency (net zero energy).

This year, both the KASCT and Green Climate Fund buildings were awarded with the prestigious 2016 International Architecture Awards by an Italian jury in Milan, comprised of Francesco Mendini and other Italian architects and journalists.

The Square3, Germany


The Square3, a mixed-use development in Berlin by Moritzgruppe, combines three towers above a common plinth and three city blocks. Located nine minutes from the heart of Berlin, the project revitalises a unique urban quarter located near Europe’s largest urban nature reserve and the largest German Olympic training grounds. The three towers of varying heights with Olympic themed metallic facades of gold, silver and bronze are tapered to maximise sunlight, views and ventilation. Offices for sports companies and clubs, apartments, a medical and research centre, sports education facilities, a sports hotel (specifically for athletes) and a sports-focused shopping mall at ground level surround a green piazza.

Christian Narkiewicz-Laine observes that LAVA not only teaches one to look at the art of architecture with fresh eyes but also makes buildings and cities usable, sustainable, and exciting through their work. LAVA successfully uses imagination and intellect combined with social forces and the latest building technologies as both theme and apparatus of their designs, creating a body of work that explores and expresses architecture as a risk-taking visceral experience.

He adds that their work exemplifies the preeminent qualities that have always been associated with the best German architecture: conceptual precision, formal clarity, economy of means, and pristine detailing and craftsmanship.

The formal ceremony for the 2016 European Prize for Architecture will be held at a Gala Dinner in Athens, Greece on September 23, 2016.