Bijoy Jain wins Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award 2012

The winner of the 2012 international Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award is Indian architect Bijoy Jain. The award, which includes a monetary sum of 40,000 Euros, is awarded by the Wood in Culture Association.

”Bijoy Jain’s architecture is based on the ingenious and creative use of wood,” states architect Samuli Miettinen, chairman of the competition jury, in explaining the basis for the choice of the award winner. Miettinen continues: “Bijoy Jain’s efforts to coordinate culture-bound values, traditional working methods and modern life with the requirements of architecture are beautifully displayed in Studio Mumbai’s work. The handling of materials and the beauty of the joints are stunning. The buildings’ themes and constructions have been developed through the study and knowledge of materials. The architecture is genuine and original, something that emanates temporal depth and indubitably high standards. Qualitatively, Bijoy Jain’s works can with complete ease be compared to the masterpieces of Frank Lloyd Wright or Alvar Aalto.”

“Studio Mumbai is a community of skilled carpenters, craftsmen and architects. They design, build and maintain the buildings themselves in interaction with each other. A working community with over 100 professionals has gradually developed a working method based on materials research, pattern models and drawings, combining in an excellent way traditional craftsmanship with architecture that brilliantly uses very little resources. The employees work together to find the sustainable solutions that the architecture requires. The work of Studio Mumbai is characterized by solidarity with the working community, growing into a mutual respect for people representing different religions and cultures through shared work, as well applying principles of ecological construction,” the jury stated, praising Studio Mumbai for its integrated and holistic working methods.

Bijoy Jain was born in 1965. He began his architecture studies in Bombay and completed them at Washington University in St. Louis, USA, in 1990. He then worked in Los Angeles and London before settling down in his home city, where in 1995 he founded Studio Mumbai. Jain regularly teaches, including stints at the School of Architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. He previously visited Finland in 2009 to lecture at the Alvar Aalto Symposium in Jyväskylä.

The international Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award is given to an individual or group who has achieved distinction in the field of architecture, and who in their work demonstrates an ingenious and creative use of wood. The award is presented every second year. The first recipient of the award was Italian architect Renzo Piano in 2000. Since then it has been awarded to architects Kengo Kuma from Japan (2002), Richard Leplastrier from Australia (2004), Peter Zumthor from Switzerland (2006), José Cruz Ovalle from Chile (2008) and Hermann Kaufmann from Austria (2010).

The chairman of the jury for the 2012 Award is architect Samuli Miettinen SAFA (JKMM Architects, Finland). The other members of the jury are Juulia Kauste, director of the Museum of Finnish Architecture, architect Anssi Lassila SAFA (Lassila Hirvilammi Architects, Finland) and architect Bjarne Mastenbroek (SeARCH bv., The Netherlands).

The Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award is presented at the same time as the Young Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award, awarded to a young gifted professional, and both are part of World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 official program. The awards are being presented in connection with the international “Feeling for Wood” wood architecture and design event to be held at the Sibelius Hall in Lahti.

The Young Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award, established to encourage the creative use of wood among architecture students studying in Finland, is this year being awarded for the second time. The award, which includes a monetary sum of 5,000 Euros, is presented to a student work of architecture in which wood plays a central role. The 2012 recipient of the Young Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award is architect Tiina Antinoja from Oulu. She completed her diploma thesis “Papinpelto housing area in Rauma” at the Department of Architecture at the University of Oulu in autumn 2011.