The Obel Award is a new, international prize for architecture to be awarded annually by the Henrik Frode Obel Foundation. The prize sum is €100 000, and the award will be presented for the first time on 22 October 2019.

The ambition is that with time, the award will be amongst the most esteemed prizes within the world of architecture.


Committed to the common good

Architecture has an enormous impact on the conditions, and the future developments, of individual and social life, the self-awareness of people, the public sphere, education, science, economics, politics, and the environment.

The Henrik Frode Obel Foundation wants to offer an incentive to architects worldwide to consider their obligations towards the welfare of people and the environment.

To this end, the foundation presents the OBEL AWARD. The general aim of the OBEL AWARD is to honour outstanding architectural contributions to human development all over the world. These contributions should offer seminal solutions to urgent problems.

Thus, the OBEL AWARD is a commitment to the common good.


The jury

The OBEL AWARD jury consists of independent professionals with a strong background within or relating to the field of architecture. At present, the jury numbers four members. However, the jury will be supplemented with additional members during the course of the year.

The current members of the jury:

Martha Schwartz, Chairperson (Founder, Martha Schwartz Partners, USA)
Kjetil Trædal Thorsen (Co-founder, Snöhetta, Norway)
Louis Becker (Design Principal and partner, Henning Larsen, Denmark)
Dr. Wilhelm Vossenkuhl (Professor emeritus, Germany)

The jury met for the first time in Copenhagen in January 2019 to make preparations for the award. Watch the video below:



What does the prize entail?

The winning project receives a prize sum of €100,000. The winner also becomes a member of the award winner network and will be invited to all OBEL AWARD ceremonies and events.

The award winner is expected to give a masterclass or lecture which is open to the public.

When is the award presented?

The award ceremony takes place every year on 21 October – the birthday of the founder Henrik Frode Obel.

What are the criteria for the award?

The award is given to physical works or projects inaugurated within the past five years. The award can be given to an architect or group of architects, and the award-winning projects can range from manifesto to master plan and include buildings, landscape projects, and exhibitions.

The OBEL AWARD can be won by any eligible candidate regardless of nationality, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, ideology, or age.

How can I apply?

We do not accept applications for the OBEL AWARD. Identifying a winning project takes place in a closed process.

How is the jury picked?

Discovering and evaluating seminal works of architecture requires high professional competence as well as an ability to see the big picture. Therefore, the OBEL AWARD appoints a jury that consists of members with a strong architectural profile but also distinguished professionals from other backgrounds.

The jury consists of 4-7 members, and each member may be appointed for a maximum of 2 x 3 years. The chairperson of the jury is appointed for a maximum of 3 x 3 years.

Where do the funds come from?

The Henrik Frode Obel Foundation draws on the endowment left by Henrik Frode Obel. Each year, a portion of the proceeds from the endowment goes to the award prize sum, the travel grants, the internationalisation funds, and the exhibitions, lectures, and other events to promote the circulation of new ideas.

Is the Henrik Frode Obel Foundation related to the Obel Family Foundation?

No. Although Henrik Frode Obel was a member of the Obel family, the foundations are separate. The Obel Family Foundation is a national foundation, operating exclusively within Denmark, while the Henrik Frode Obel Foundation has an international focus and reach.