Last year’s winner of the prestigious Leaf Awards – David Chipperfield Architects – has impressed European judges again, this time for his winning design of the Museum of Modern Literature in Marbach, Neckar, Germany.

LEAF, the sister publication of designbuild-network, named Chipperfield its overall winner for his America’s Cup Foredeck Building in Valencia, Spain, which was also short listed for the Stirling Prize.

It was David Chipperfield’s Museum piece that caught judges eyes, however, who labelled the design both “rich and restrained”.

The museum, sitting on a rock plateau overlooking the Neckar River, houses 20th century literature including prized originals by Franz Kafka and Alfred Dobilin (The Trial and Alexanderplatz).

The neoclassical exterior invites visitors through hardwood doors to descend into an environment Stirling Prize judges describe as “somewhere beyond” to where the permanent collection, including original manuscripts, are kept behind glass cases in a “magical flickering landscape.”

“Chipperfield has responded by making a building that is in itself half of the visitor’s experience; if not a temple then a shrine to the soul of a literate nation,” a posting on the Royal Institute of British Architects’ website says.

Other projects shortlisted for the prize included the Casa da Musica in Porto, Portugal, by OMA and Arup, Dresden Station Redevelopment in Germany by Foster and Partners, the Savill Building in Windsor by Glenn Howells Architects and The Young Vic Theatre in London by Haworth Tompkins Architects.

By Penny Jones