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Gouden Piramide

What is Gouden Piramide?

Gouden Piramide ('Golden Pyramid') is a state prize awarded biennially for excellence in commissioning work in architecture, urban design, landscape architecture, infrastructure and physical planning. Every building client in the Netherlands is eligible for the award. The prize is open to municipalities, private individuals, companies, organisations, specialised building clients and so on. Clients employed by the state are excluded from participation, however. The state prize is an award for projects that, in their preparation and completion, illustrate the inspirational role that clients can play in the design and construction process.
The winner of the Gouden Piramide gets a trophy and a sum of 75,000 Euro. The state prize was set up in 2003 and is awarded biennially.

Architecture policy

The government has pursued an architecture policy ever since the publication of the policy document Space for Architecture in 1991. Architecture policy aims at creating conditions favourable to the advancement of architectural quality. Architectural quality is here defined as the recognition of merit on the basis of three related criteria: cultural value, user value, and future value. Policy related to building clients is seen as an important aspect of architecture policy and is elaborated in two areas: the role of the State as an exemplary building client, and the role of clients 'in the field' (private parties, municipalities, provinces). De Gouden Piramide targets the second of these categories.

Why a prize for building clients?

In the Netherlands there are scores of prizes open to architects, urban designers, landscape architects and civil-engineering designers. Prizes for building clients are few and far between, however, despite widespread recognition among professionals that the initiative and role of clients have a huge bearing on architectural quality. The creative, expert and inspirational manner in which clients create the right conditions during design and construction is often the key to achieving quality results.
Introduction of the state prize is intended to draw attention to the importance of the inspirational role that clients can play in creating a good and attractive environment in urban and rural areas.

Range of clients

The prize is intended not just for those involved professionally in construction, such as building developers, municipalities, housing associations, or property departments within large concerns. Private individuals who commission their ideal home are also eligible for De Gouden Piramide. Dutch architectural history contains many sublime works that are the product of highly successful collaborations between private clients and designers. Others eligible for the award include school and church boards, social and cultural bodies, companies responsible for construction of their own accommodation, landowners, leisure organisations, and agencies active in the heritage and arts sectors.