Winners of the IOC IPC IAKS architectural prizes 2013 announced

GMP Architekten and BIG take the three major awards

by Malcolm Clark
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The medal winners of the biennial awards organised by The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS) to reward exemplary architecture in the sports and leisure facilities sector have just been announced.

The 2013 competition was open to newly built facilities as well as extensions, modernizations, rehabilitations or conversions of already existing buildings and facilities in the public and private sector, which had been erected and gone into operation between 1st January 2006 and 31st March 2012 and had been in successful operation for at least one year. This year, 97 projects from 30 countries were submitted.

There were, of course many entrants from the London Olympics and from other high profile sports competitions of recent years like the Euro 2012 football competition. The three gold medal winners, however, were not built with either of these events in mind.


BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group's Superkilen masterplan won a Gold medal in the Community outdoor grounds section – a category rewarding those sports facilities built without envisaging spectator facilities. This 30,000 square metre urban park created in collaboration with landscape designers Topotek1 has few equals in Europe and in the world because it was not created with a big sports event or another cultural event like an Expo or world culture capital in mind.

Shanghai Oriental Sports Centre

The other two gold medals went to gmp Architekten. In the “Pools and wellness facilities” category the German architects' Shanghai Oriental Sports Center won Gold.  This new sports centre was created in Shanghai China for the competitions of the 14th FINA World Aquatics Championships in 2011. It covers an area of over 347,000 square metres and comprises a sports stadium, a pool stadium, an outdoor pool for diving competitions and a media center. The link element between the different venues is an artificial lake. The buildings are supported on platforms that project into the lake. Towards the north, this results in a softly curving bank around the circular stadiums and, to the south, in a straight edge at the outdoor pool.

Bao’An Stadium

GMP's other gold medal was in the “Major outdoor stadiums” category for the Bao’An Stadium in Shenzhen. This stadium for 40,000 spectators was built on the occasion of the 2011 Universiade. The design was inspired by the bamboo forests of southern China. The image of the bamboo forest is created by a double ring of green steel posts whereby every other post of the inner ring combines with the concrete structure of the undulating upper rank, supporting the vertical loads from the spectator stands. The roof of the spectator stands consists of a tensile membrane structure with an inner ring and radial spokes. In detail, the roof is formed of 36 radial cable pairs which are tied together above the playing field via a double circular tensile ring consisting of cable bundles.

London 2012 Olympic Stadium

The stadium fought off strong competition from the probable pre-competition favourites; the London 2012 Olympic Stadium by sports architects par excellence Populous, which took the silver medal and the iconic PGE Arena in Gdańsk Poland, by RKW architects. It did win bronze in this category but also received an award for IPC/IAKS Distinction 2013. This award is given to architectural projects which increase the accessibility of all sports facilities and architectural projects in order to give opportunities to persons with a disability to practise and view sport freely and without barriers.

PGE Arena Gdańsk

This award was also given to the The Copper Box - London 2012 Handball Arena by Make Architects, which also recieved the special prize, awarded for facilities remarkable for particular design features or particular exemplary characteristics.

London 2012 Handball Arena

The complete list of winners of the IOC/IAKS Award 2013 follows:


Bao’an Stadium in Shenzhen, China

Architects: gmp Architekten - von Gerkan, Marg und Partner with South China University of Technology

Superkilen in Copenhagen, Denmark

Architects:BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group with TOPOTEK1

Shanghai Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai, China

Architects: gmp Architekten - von Gerkan, Marg and Partners with Shanghai Institute of Architectural Design & Research and Tongji Design Institute


London 2012 Olympic Stadium in London, United Kingdom

Architects: Populous

Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre in Edmonton, Canada

Architects: MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects in joint venture with HIP Architects

Milson Island Indoor Sports Stadium, Australia

Architects: Allen Jack+Cottier Architects

Sports hall CPC Chiasso, Switzerland

Architects: Baserga Mozzetti Architetti

Auster Graz, Austria

Architects: fasch&fuchs. Architekten


PGE Arena Gdańsk, Poland

Architects: RKW + Städtebau

Narodowy National Stadium Warsaw, Poland

Architects: consortium gmp Architekten-jsk-sbp

Fodbold Eksperimentarium Herning, Denmark

Architects: GHB Landscape Architects with Centre for Sports and Architecture

Heerenschürli in Zurich, Switzerland

Architects: TOPOTEK1 with Dürig AG

Lentpark Cologne, Germany

Architects: Schulitz Architekten GmbH

Hillcrest Centre Vancouver, Canada

Architects: Hughes Condon Marler Architects

The Stork Nest Farm Olbramovice, Czech Republic

Architects: SGL Projekt

Noor-e-Mobin sports hall in Bastam, Iran

Architects: Arash nasiri & ensieh khamseh (FEA studio)

Karate-Dojo Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Japan

Architects: KINO architects

KAP 686 in Cologne, Germany

Architects: Metrobox Architekten

Max Aicher Arena in Inzell, Germany

Architects: Behnisch Architekten with Pohl Architekten

Lee Valley White Water Centre in Waltham Cross, United Kingdom

Architects: FaulknerBrowns Architects

Special Prize

The Copper Box - London 2012 Handball Arena in London, United Kingdom

Architects: Make Architects

StreetMekka Copenhagen, Denmark

Architects: BBP Arkitekter AS

Skatepark Tanzania in Dodoma, Tanzania

Architects: Maier Landschaftsarchitektur/Betonlandschaften

The winners of the IPC/IAKS Distinction 2013

PGE Arena Gdansk, Poland

Architects: RKW Architekur + Städtebau

Community Centre West Vancouver, Canada

Architects: Hughes Condon Marler Architects

Abilities Centre Durham Whitby, Canada

Architects: Mark Berest, B+H Architects

Olympic Handball Arena London, United Kingdom

Architects: Make Architects

Lee Valley White Water Centre in Waltham Cross, United Kingdom

Architects: FaulknerBrowns Architects

The winners of the Architecture and Design Award for Students and Young Professionals 2013


Caribbean Arena by Aileen Gayko, Dresden (Germany)


Activity Centre Odessa by Anna Khrystoforova, Odessa (Ukraine)


Acoustic Hammam by Matt Ceckiewicz, Berlin (Germany)

    Superkilen masterplan 235

    Superkilen masterplan

    Copenhagen / Denmark / 2012

    Shanghai Oriental Sports Center 9

    Shanghai Oriental Sports Center

    Shanghai / China / 2011

    London 2012 Olympic Stadium 25

    London 2012 Olympic Stadium

    London / United Kingdom / 2011

    PGE Arena Gdańsk 24

    PGE Arena Gdańsk

    Gdańsk / Poland / 2011

    The Copper Box - London 2012 Handball Arena 2

    The Copper Box - London 2012 Handball Arena

    London / United Kingdom / 2011

    Bao’an Stadium 4

    Bao’an Stadium

    Shenzhen / China / 2011

    Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre 17

    Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre

    Edmonton / Canada / 2012

    Milson Island Indoor Sports Stadium 4

    Milson Island Indoor Sports Stadium

    New South Wales / Australia / 2010

    Narodowy National Stadium Warsaw 12

    Narodowy National Stadium Warsaw

    Warsaw / Poland / 2011