European Architecture prize Philippe Rotthier

During 25 years, architect Philippe Rotthier sought everywhere in Europe for new architectures which fall under the genius of a place, fulfill the requirements of today's comfort and ecology respect ; architectures which come into the city and the landscape without damaging them, architectures which waste neither the territory nor the energy ; achitectures which dialogue with the past and the history.

This search, Philippe Rotthier undertook to carry it out through a price of architecture. Works are selected by jurys composed of architects but also writers, journalists, artists, art historians and political officials. Among those, we can notice the names of Matali Crasset, Bruno Foucart, Sergio Frau, Charles Jencks, Francoise Lalande, François Loyer, Dimitri Porphytios, Oscar Tusquets, David Watkins, inter alia.

The choices always went towards works of architects often little known apart from small circles of initiates. The jury of the seventh session of the European Price of Architecture Philippe Rothier for the rebuilding of the city met in Brussels on June 10, 2005. The jury examined 68 files of 15 European countries, of Tunisia, of Morocco and Mali.

A price of 30.000 euros was given to Emir Kusturica for the construction of the village of Küstendorf in Serbia. The jury thus rewards the director and musician who reproduced the original architecture of his country as a factor of pacification, source of comfort and dash for the tourist economy of the area. Emir Kusturica made build this traditional village on the spot of the shooting of Life is a miracle, in the south-west of Belgrade, close to Višegrad, not far from the Bosnian border and of the town of Sarajevo. It gives a second life to the many kilometers of railway built for film.

All information on the foundation and the Price Philippe Rotthier :

Maurice Culot and Philippe Rotthier wrote an interesting book on this occasion: Alter-architecture, treating evolution of the various forms of alter-architecture with the wire of the centuries, and taking again each winner of the Price Philippe Rottiher, among which of course, Küstendorf. This work (in French and English) is available on

Download the press kit :

Inauguration of the exhibition - 21 & October 22, 2005

Obviously very moved during the prize ceremony with Emir Kusturica, Philippe Rotthier made a very beautiful speech on his hope in another shape of architecture, respectful of the places and the men.

Incredible but true”, Emir Kusturica declared himself deeply touched by the attribution of this price: ”The last place where I would have seen myself receiving a prize, it is well here, in a foundation of architecture. Cinema is in fact images that move without stop, whereas architecture is fixed; but the trades of architect and director are finally close, in the direction where the reception by the public is the same, and the emotion felt in front of a house or a film can be very close. Küstendorf was built without plans, nor mathematics; it is a phantasm of a filmmaker… 1000 years ago, the religion was imposed like a destiny, today it is the globalisation which is imposed to us like new destiny. Küstendorf is a place which sets up against the globalisation, in human proportions.

The attaché of the embassy of Serbia & Montenegro in Belgium then gave the prize to Emir Kusturica.

The ceremony was completed by the traditional ribbon cut, and the journalists could admire the superb sights of Küstendorf, taken during the summer 2005 by Michel de Schaetzen, during the cinema workshop.

Proposing to bring back Emir Kusturica to his hotel in his van, Charley Case (artist taking part in the Alter Architecture exhibition) had to request assistance from the members of the Foundation to help him pushing his old engine on the slope of the street. A rocambolesque scene which made much laugh the two artists all along the road…

Rudy Ricciotti

Member of the jury which awarded the prize to Küstendorf, the French architect Rudy Ricciotti wrote a very strong text on Küstendorf. Having the reputation not to chew his words, Rudy Ricciotti is at the image of his buildings : direct, without concessions, facing the polemics which never fail to emerge with such an original and radical character, in his words, his ideas and his plans.

In the presence of Emir Kusturica, Rudy Ricciotti presented his work in margin of the Philippe Rotthier prize ceremony. Emir Kusturica seemed to have met an alter-ego in the field of architecture, so that both men had common points in their work, the way of apprehending pharaonic projects in spite of usual conventions.

Among his most known projects, let us quote Vitrolles Stadium (black suburban concrete bunker, drawn up in the middle of bauxite castings, on an old discharge), the philharmonic Concert hall of Postdam, the Lyprendi Villa in Toulon, the new Palate of the Festivals of Venice, as well as future installation with the Louvre museum for the section of Islamic Arts.

After the war like a mean of making cinema with the Americans unloading in Mogadiscio, after the cinema like a mean of making war with the film Apocalypse Now, after architecture like a mean of making the war with the work of the architect Zaha Hadid, after architecture as a mean of making cinema with the annual exhibition Archilab, finally the cinema as a mean now to make architecture, with Emir Kusturica and the village of Küstendorf for film Life is a miracle.

When the cinema, transitory disciplines over the duration of a produced turning of the places and durable forms; drive out precariousness to produce a social activity, one reaches the enchanting universe of Merlin. Without culpability, the director approaches the territory of perenniality by building a village under the theoretical angle of nonthe invention while proceeding without remorse by the imitation of old. Houses are successful, beautiful, solid, learnedly built there on the memory and the writing of a technology of site. Without architect, without town planner, demagogic dialogue, teaching lawsuit, the director manufacturer produces effective and obliges poetry for everyday's life. It is also a culture of the effectiveness which, paradoxically, is born from a transitory need of the technical time for the shooting of a film.

But with the assessment, the constructive tradition testifies to a cultural act of strong combat. In charge, but not guilty, Kusturica atomizes the last cultural convictions which would still let believe that modernity would be the Jean Valjean of the unhappy. The adventure lights; is a victory against cynicism, the defeatism and the stupidity. Recycled, the village of the cinema regards the cinema as means of making architecture. Knocked-Out, the promoters, banks, bureaucracy and all. In Küstendorf the village is a miracle, it makes the war to the mediocrity. The true prophecy of the Tarabić brothers is that; that which one did not believe possible any more; to have a radical romantic project to transform a reality which is not it. To refuse the Utopia to endanger itself in order to improve the world. To believe that poetry is an art in flesh and bone. Küstendorf is tender like the rock'n'roll culture !

Exposition Alter-Architecture

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