This is the fifth museum with ACCIONA involvement to receive an EMYA award from the European Museum Forum (EMF).
The House of European History, in Brussels, whose design and technical development was carried out by ACCIONA Producciones y Diseño, a company specialised in museography, received a special commendation at the 2019 European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA). The EMYA, Europe’s top museum awards, have been granted every year for the past 42 years in order to stimulate the international exchange of ideas and create networks of inspiration in the museum sector, leading to more innovative and sustainable museums.
The Judging Panel for this 42nd edition of the EMYA distinguished the House of European History as “the first museum to present a pan-European story based on thorough academic research and an impressive collection of objects. It raises awareness of the importance of democratic values, human rights, and diversity.” Additionally, “It is a new centre for a critical analysis of European history and a forum for exploring current political and social issues.”
Candidates for the EMYA must be new museums first opened to the public in the past three years or established museums that have completed a programme of modernisation, extension, reorganisation or re-interpretation. The House of European History competed against approximately 100 museums, of which only 9 received awards.
In developing the House of European History in Brussels, which was inaugurated in 2017, ACCIONA Producciones y Diseño focused on integrating original pieces with cutting-edge interactive and audiovisual resources to recreate Europe’s recent history.
The House of European History spans 4,000 square metres of floor space and offers visitors a collection of objects and documents that reflect the continent’s diversity and its common roots.
The museum project designed by ACCIONA Producciones y Diseño offers visitors content translated into the 24 official languages of the European Union. Visitors are given a tablet to guide them through the museum, automatically translating the content and offering additional information via a range of audiovisuals, pictures, graphics and texts.
The most outstanding item in the museum is an aluminium and steel sculpture 25 metres tall that islocated in the atrium and rises alongside the staircase to the skylight, traversing all six floors of the building.
The sculpture, entitled Vortex of European History, is allegorical of the “union of diversity”. It displays quotes from literature in the various languages and alphabets that exist within the Union in the form of a metal filigree that conforms the graphic texture like a mesh travelling through space.
The first floor houses temporary exhibitions, while the permanent exhibition commences on the second floor and provides an overview of the geographical changes and visions of Europe over time, together with a panorama of the continent’s cultural, social and historical legacy.
The upper floors present the history of European in chronological order from the revolutionary period to the two World Wars, the tensions between democracy and totalitarianism and the political divide during the Cold War, up to the political demonstrations and protests in favour of democratisation of the socialist and southern countries that led up to the fall of the Berlin Wall. As a conclusion, the process of building Europe is shown in an attractive educational format.
On the top floor, visitors are invited to participate and express opinions on a range of European issues, learn about Brussels and enjoy an audiovisual that highlights and celebrates the cultural diversity of the countries in the Union.
Five museums with Spanish involvement have received the EMYA – European Museum of the Year award.
The House of European History is the fifth museum in which ACCIONA has been involved that has obtained an EMYA award from the prestigious European Museum Forum (EMF). The Museum of Archaeology of Alicante (MARQ), designed and executed by APD, was named European Museum of the Year in 2004, while the Museo de Almería and Museo Caja Granada Memoria de Andalucía received Special Commendations in 2008 and 2011, respectively. In 2017, the EMF gave the Kenneth Hudson award to the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center, implemented by APD; this award is given in recognition of the most unusual and daring achievement that challenges common perceptions of the role of museums in society.