November 15, 2009 - Prince Claus Fund Gallery - Simon Velez awarded Principal Prince Claus Award
November 15, 2009

Simon Velez awarded Principal Prince Claus Award

Cross water Ecolodge. Designed by Simón Vélez. Nankun Mountains, China. 2006. © Hitesh Mehta.

Colombian architect Simón Vélez to receive Principal Prince Claus Award
16 December, 2009

Prince Claus Fund
Herengracht 603
1017 CE Amsterdam
The Netherlands
t. +31(0)20.3449160
f. +31(0)20.3449166

The Principal Prince Claus Award of 100,000 EURO goes to Colombian architect Simón Vélez. The Awards ceremony will take place on 16 December 2009 at the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam. HRH Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands will present the award. The additional ten other Prince Claus Awards are granted to laureates from other fields of work. They will receive 25,000 EURO each in the Dutch Embassies in their home countries in 2010. The Prince Claus Awards have been given out every year since 1997 to artists, intellectuals and cultural organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Culture and Nature
Through its 2009 Awards Programme, the Prince Claus Fund seeks to highlight and celebrate artists, cultural networks and organisations that make a significant contribution in the interaction between Culture and Nature and introduce new ideas and approaches to environmental issues.

Simón Vélez (b. 1949, Manizales, Colombia)
Simón Vélez’s aesthetic and technical innovations in constructing with bamboo have enhanced its potential and challenged mainstream architectural trends. After completing his studies at Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Vélez moved away from the predominant international style to focus on indigenous architectural practices. He invented a new method to build foundations and roofs, which transformed one of the world’s oldest building materials, namely bamboo, into a modern resource that meets the strictest international construction regulations and can even outperform steel.

Vélez has successfully brought together natural design, avant-garde technology and ecological processes. In his book, Grow Your Own House, and in his seminars and workshops he demonstrates that bamboo is an efficient and aesthetic building material, with profound implications for social development and the environment. Its cultivation and processing are ecologically sound and sustainable, and bamboo is one of the plants, which most efficiently absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Simón Vélez is internationally recognised and has designed buildings in the United States, Germany, France, Brazil, Mexico, Jamaica, Panama, Ecuador, India and China, but is still very active in his home country Colombia. For his valuable contribution to architectural practices and sustainability, Simón Vélez receives the Principal Prince Claus Award. The award also recognises his work in integrating sustainable design practices and social development, and his focus on the relationship between culture and nature.

The Prince Claus Awards laureates (each receive a grant of 25.000 EURO,–)

Visual Arts
El Anatsui (b. 1944, Anyako, Ghana, living in Nigeria)
Doual’art (founded1991, Douala, Cameroon)
Liang Shaoji (b. 1945, Shanghai, China)
Jivya Soma Mashe (b. 1934, Dhamangaon, Maharashtra, India)
Photography & Film
Sammy Baloji (b. 1978, Lubumbashi, DR Congo)
Santu Mofokeng (b. 1956, Johannesburg, South Africa)
Collective Memories & Journalism
Kanak Mani Dixit (b. 1956, Lalitpur, Nepal)
Instituto de Historia de Nicaragua y Centroamérica (founded 1987,
Managua, Nicaragua)
Desiderio Navarro (b. 1948, Camagüey, Cuba)
Gaston Acurio (b.1967, Lima, Peru)

About the Prince Claus Fund:

Culture is a Basic Need
The Prince Claus Fund actively seeks international cultural collaborations with partners of excellence in spaces of need. The Prince Claus Fund provides immediate cultural rescue as well as support to sustainable cultural processes. It takes initiatives to raise awareness on the importance of culture in everyday life and for development. The Fund works in the spirit of Prince Claus’ belief that one cannot develop people, but people develop themselves.

The Prince Claus Fund is based in Amsterdam and is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Postcode Lottery.

For more information:

Media Contacts:
For further information, images, or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Sebas van der Sangen

Prince Claus Fund
Herengracht 603
1017 CE Amsterdam
The Netherlands
t. +31(0)20.3449160
f. +31(0)20.3449166

Prince Claus Fund Gallery
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