|Pedestrian passageway at Mapo, Seoul (Atelier Lion Seoul)|
The winners of the annual prize given by the Culture Ministry are Kwon Hyung-pyo and Kim Soon-ju from Bau Architects, Lee Dong-joon of Stocker Lee Architetti and Lee So-jin of Atelier Lion Seoul.
The award, started in 2008, recognizes the achievements of up-and-coming architects for excellence in design, capacity to balance architecture and nature and to sustain local ecosystems and cultures.
Kwon and Kim of Seoul-based Bau Architects were recognized for completing small private projects that balance buildings with urban life. The team has built houses, coffee shops and remodeled pensions in the outskirts of the city. They were also praised for seeking new and effective ways to communicate with other architects and bringing an innovative way of working.
Lee Dong-joon tried innovative methods in architecture while working with his partner Melanie Stocker in Switzerland. The Korean-born architect has sought to balance the unique characteristics of local communities with universality and achieved top quality and exceptional design in several projects in Switzerland.
Lee So-jin of Ateliers Lion Seoul has been designing public buildings such as schools and public cultural centers, as well as city planning. One of her major achievements has been making her buildings and structures sustainable.
She also transformed a neglected public place in Jongno, Seoul, into the literature museum dedicated to Yoon Dong-ju, a famous Korean poet.
The award winners will hold an exhibition at the 2012 Korea Architecture Festival in October and share their design philosophies and processes with the public.
The Culture Ministry will publish a book on the winning architects in both Korean and English to be distributed to the relevant organizations.
By Lee Woo-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)