The Prix de Rome is the oldest and most prestigious award in the Netherlands for architects under the age of 35. The purpose of the award is to identify talented architects and to encourage them to develop further and increase their visibility. The Prix de Rome architecture is open to architects, landscape architects and urban planners. Architects are invited to apply themselves or they can be proposed by a wide range of scouts or by a third party. All architects wanting to participate are invited to send in their portfolio and to respond in their own way on a theme formulated by the jury.

This edition of the Prix de Rome focuses on two extremes in architecture, urban design and landscape design. These extremes will be covered in two consecutive rounds, on two different locations in the Netherlands. The first round - Low Pressure - is an open competition that addresses a specific rural area in the province of Groningen. This is an area plagued by various problems; an area where services and people seem to disappear. From all submissions to the first round, four candidates will be selected. In a closed competition, these four candidates will enter the second round, which involves spending three months focusing on the opposite of Low Pressure: High Pressure, an assignment in a popular urban area, a place where everyone wants to live. In the spirit of the Prix de Rome competition, the jury would like to emphasize that the candidates are challenged to submit daring, experimental and unconventional proposals! 

First Round: Low Pressure

East Groningen is traditionally an agricultural landscape, but today it is also an energy landscape in transition. Following South Limburg, it has been exploited for decades and now seems to be left to its own fate. The gas exploitation leaves its marks in an area that is already struggling to hold on to its residents. In this wide landscape there are many villages where houses seem to become unmarketable, because of earthquakes. These developments are insidiously making a lasting impression on the area and its residents. But none of that is palpable when you travel around in this landscape where, only two hours from the Randstad region, time, space and silence are an unmistakable quality. 

Site of the First Round

At the south side of the earthquake area, the two villages Ganzedijk and Hongerige Wolf are 1.5 kilometers apart from each other on the same dike overlooking the enormous 19th-century Dollard polders at the north side. The jury challenges participants to design an intervention for this area. The site comprises the two villages and the low dike in between. Your design proposal can take shape along the lines of building, landscape or urban design. Proposals may vary from a large-scale intervention to something at micro-level. It can be something aimed at many people or just a few, as long as the relationship with the changing landscape and its inhabitants is made clear and is strengthened. The participant determines for himself/herself what he/she considers relevant and topical. The present, the past but certainly also the future of this place form the input for adding or removing something in this location. Vastness, silence and peace, but also current and underlying tension in the province of Groningen form ingredients for your design, as well as the relationship with the ‘High Pressure’ area of the Randstad. Surprise the jury with your vision in the shape of a spatial design for this specific site in this special area.