Credit: neimënster

The Abbaye de Neumünster (neimënster) has announced that its renovation of the housing for artists in residence was awarded a Special Jury Prize at the Bauhärepräis OAI 2024 ceremony on Monday 10 June 2024.

The Order of Architects and Consulting Engineers (Ordre des Architectes et des Ingénieurs-Conseils - OAI) organises the Bauhärepräis OAI competition every four years. The competition aims to reward the fruitful relationship between a client and the design team of an architectural project. This distinction crowns the design and architectural quality of a project, contributing to promoting the culture of construction in a sustainable approach.

The Bauhärepräis OAI, under the High Patronage of Luxembourg’s Grand Duke, has been enjoying popularity since its launch in 2000, neimënster noted. For this 2024 edition, 301 applications were submitted to the vote of an independent jury of the OAI, composed of nine professionals and personalities from the political and cultural scene. The prizes are divided into nine categories, which cover all the services of the OAI professions.

For the renovation of its housing intended for its artists in residence, entrusted to the RM Archi firm and represented by Linda Retter and Philippe Macaigne, neimënster was awarded the Special Jury Prize rewarding the jury's favourite, who noted that "this transformation constitutes a strong example for the reuse of existing buildings".

The housing intended for artists in residence at neimënster is located in the Robert Bruch building and has the particularity of being integrated into an architectural ensemble located on a route classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, neimënster added.

The renovation project consisted of restructuring six studios, six duplexes, three apartments, and two corridors serving these accommodations, taking into account the historical heritage of the building: the Robert Bruch building (also called "Criminel") housed the former men's prison cells, converted for the first time into housing in 2004 for the inauguration of the Neumünster Abbey Cultural Meeting Centre.

The specifications included the functionality of the accommodations and the optimisation of space while respecting the allocated budget, for a construction period of approximately twelve months.

"Mutual listening and our constructive discussions allowed the project to exceed our expectations: a modern aesthetic, a respectable saving of space and all with the greatest respect for our listed building. The regular presence and responsiveness of our architects allowed the construction phase to run smoothly, including the adaptations required for this type of renovation," said RM Archi, which delivered housing adapted to very different needs, without sacrificing a “strong aesthetic and line”, according to neimënster.

The international and national jury, completely independent of the OAI, is made up of professionals and personalities from the political and cultural scene. It is responsible for assessing the merits of the project owners. The jury is made up of nine people chosen by the organiser:

• Inès Ferguson, President of the European Federation of Engineering Consultancy Associations;
• Anna Ramos, Director of the Mies van der Rohe Foundation;
• Hervé Sybertz, Private Project Owner (2020 winner);
• Alex Kieffer, Vice-President of the Chambre des Métiers ;
• Catherine Decker, Advisor to Luxembourg’s Ministry of Culture, UNESCO File;
• Arlette Schneiders, architect;
• Stefan Maas, Prof.- Dr.- Engineer;
• Patricia Wruuck, Dr. and Executive MSC in Cities, author.