The founding partners of the architects practice von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp), Meinhard von Gerkan and Volkwin Marg, have been honored with the 2016 Baukultur prize for their life’s work in architecture. The prize was awarded by Volker Halbach (1st chairman of BDA Hamburg) and Prof. Bernhard Winking (chairman of BDA foundation) in the name of the Association of German Architects (BDA) of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg at an official ceremony on 3 November 2016.
In his eulogy, the architectural critic Dr. Jürgen Tietz praised the „totally unique architectural oeuvre“ with which Meinhard von Gerkan and Volkwin Marg have contributed to and enhanced Hamburg’s building culture since the formation of their architects practice – „Many buildings that define Hamburg’s identity to this day were created by gmp... Therefore Hamburg has every reason to give an award to, and be proud of, its two sons who – over the years - have been adopted by the city. They have shaped the city with their buildings, as well as with their social and cultural engagement.“ The individual and urban design projects, both small and large, which have been built in the Hanseatic City to their designs, have significantly contributed to the forward-looking development of both local and international architecture. In this context he mentioned some selected examples that characterize the architects’ comprehensive portfolio, such as Hamburg’s large-scale transport intersection, Helmut Schmidt Airport, the HafenCity concept with which gmp has influenced the structure of a new urban quarter, and other projects such as the inner city Hanseviertel with its brick esthetics, and the architects’ office ensemble as a „public place on private land“. Dr. Tietz went on to say that the two outstanding architects were distinct from many of their colleagues due to their „double artistic gift of building and writing“. This, he said, made them part of the discourse on architecture and society.
The Baukultur prize, which was given by the 1st chairman of BDA Hamburg Volker Halbach and the chairman of BDA foundation Prof. Bernhard Winking, has been awarded to architects for the first time in its history. It is also new that the award goes to two persons. The award was inaugurated in 1994 and – about every three years - honors institutions or personalities in Hamburg that make an active contribution to the development of building culture, either in a professional, private, or honorary capacity. Those honored in the past include Oberbaudirektor of the City of Hamburg, Prof. Jörn Walter (2012), Prof. em. Dr. Dieter Läpple (HafenCity University Hamburg; 2007), Science Senator Jörg Dräger (2005), and art historian Prof. Dr. Herrmann Hipp.