arenas basabe palacios arquitectos

Enrique Arenas Laorga (ES)
Luis Basabe Montalvo (ES)
Luis Palacios Labrador (ES)

Arenas Basabe Palacios Arquitectos

Enrique Arenas Laorga (ES), architect
Luis Basabe Montalvo (ES), architect
Luis Palacios Labrador (ES), architect
Collaborators for the Europan projects are specified under
the “Europan Project” section Plaza del Cordón 2, 28005 Madrid – España
+34 911 427 075 –
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E. Arenas Laorga, L. Basabe Montalvo & L. Palacios Labrador

When did you win Europan? On which sites and in which countries? How was the team formed by then? Please describe the main ideas of your projects?

In 2007 we won two first prizes for E9 in Badajoz (ES) and Kapfenberg (AT). In 2009 we won a first prize for E10 in Wien (AT), and in 2013 we won a first prize for E12 in Höganäs (SE). Additionally, we were runners-up for E8 in 2005 in Alcazar de San Juan (ES) and for E12 in 2013 in Wien (AT).
At the beginning, we were a group of friends doing a competition with the help of some students in architecture. In the last editions, we had already some amount of structure in the office, and we could organize it in teams.

E9 Badajoz (ES) – Flexible system
E9 Kapfenberg (AT) – Urban liquidity
E9 Kapfenberg (AT) – Suburb activation
E9 Badajoz (ES) – Shared spaces

Our whole Europan odyssey was accompanied by a row of recurrent research lines, which were precisely developed through the projects. The common issue to all the projects is the process-oriented approach to architecture, as well as the obsession to make urban structures more democratic.
We have subsequently introduced topics which have become our architecture’s essential pillars: the importance of management structures, the understanding of the city as a multiplayer entity, the subversion of property-based structures, and the recovery of the commons as a main urban element, among many others.


Did your project have any follow-up? If yes, which one and how? Did this step have a learning effect for you as far as the process is concerned? If yes, which one? If not, why did the project not go further? 

Some projects did have a follow-up and some did not.

E9 follow-up in Badajoz (ES)
We were able to do the urban planning for the area, but the process is currently on stand-by. We have learnt a lot from the Citizenship of the Santa Engracia neighbourhood, about transversal work structures and the relation of urban projects with politics.


E10 follow-up in Wien (AT)
The project goes very well. The masterplan for the 10.7 ha was approved in September 2015, and we will soon be starting the implementation of some parts. This process was especially important for our office. We have learnt a lot about the development of new neighbourhoods and its huge complexity.
At the present time [May 2017], we are involved in the design of 80 housing units arranged in 11 building blocks of different sizes, from one to eight stories following the idea of diversity and flexibility of the competition entry.

Wien (AT) – Model of the project
Collaborative planning process

E12 follow-up in Wien-Siemensäcker (AT)
In Wien-Siemensäcker we have been involved in a collaborative planning process, together with the winning team and some other local planners, in order to define the masterplan. The process was very enriching, and came to a really interesting result. We have learnt a lot about the importance of the process itself.
The result was the approval of the masterplan by the Municipality at the end of 2016. Currently, associated with local partner Soyka-Silber-Soyka, we are defining the project of 60 housing units arranged in 3 buildings, plot included as a part of the entire neighbourhood.

Diversity & Flexibility
A multiplayer city 

For Höganäs (SE) - E12, we presented a preliminary work plan to the municipality, who is very receptive to the process. Nevertheless, the project is currently on stand-by, waiting for a proper political moment to be developed.

The process in Kapfenberg (DE) - E9, did not even start.

Contributors for the Europan projects (since 2005): Franca Sonntag, Lucía Leva, Enrica di Toppa, Miriam Alonso, Marta Guedán, Lidia Fernández, María Ángeles Peñalver, Almudena Cano Piñeiro, Andreas Benéitez, Ana Conesa, Carolina Eslon, Marta Fontecha, Paula Fernández San Marcos, Kerstin Pluch, Alfonso Rengifo Cavestany, Guillermo Ramírez Camarero, Salas Montes Mañas, Juan Pablo Arenas Laorga, Isabel Gutiérrez Sánchez, Helena de Sebastián Ochotorena, Marta Juliana Abril, Enrique de Alba, Alejandra Climent, Carlos Ruiz Jiménez, Guadalupe Hernández Lorenzo – architects; Alicia Gómez Nieto, architect and urban planner; Rosa Pérez, Carlota Le Quinio, Silvia Muñoz, Nieves Andrea Calvo, Alba Sospedra, Elena Iglesias, Laura Salvador González, Inés García García, Catherine Folawiyo, Ana Isabel Prieto López, Eva de Miguel Gómez, Alba Caballero – students in architecture; Clara Ruiz, student in computer programming

Did winning Europan launch the creation of a professional structure and if so, which structure and with whom?

First arenas+basabe, and soon later arenas basabe palacios arquitectos came together through winning Europan. Furthermore, the E9 Badajoz (ES) and E10 Wien (AT) projects have really sustained our office in the first times. Thanks to these projects, we were able to organise bigger teams and maintain a certain infrastructure. In the last times we have been running an office of about 7 to 10 people in a very nice space in the old city of Madrid.
We are a product of Europan!

Did winning Europan have a label effect for you after the competition (acknowledgement by clients, call to participate to competitions or direct order)? If yes, how? Do you feel being part of a “Europan generation” and if so, why?

Of course, our awards have always been a wonderful feedback for our clients. But Europan has also given us a good amount of authority to start our practice in different countries, not only through the award itself, but also through the many publications linked to it.
Winning Europan was also very important for our academic career. In fact, all three partners of arenas basabe palacios are involved in the Academia.
We certainly do feel part of a certain “Europan generation”, in more than one sense. On one hand, we have met a lot of interesting people –many of them good friends now–, with whom we could interact and exchange ideas and experiences, especially during the Forums. On the other hand, Europan has collectively formulated –both through briefs and projects- a way of looking at the city and of understanding architecture, which is somehow common to all of us, and which allows us also to talk of a “generation”.


Did the issue developed in your winning projects act as a baseline for the later development of your work? If yes, how? And more specifically in which projects –implemented or not?

We have always understood the Europan competition as a laboratory for ideas, in which we were able to test and develop our corresponding concerns and concepts. In that sense, we think it is possible to read a progressive line through our different entries, in which some ideas appear and some others mature in different moments of the process.

Many of our proposals for residential tissues in German and Austrian competitions are directly related to the tools developed in Europan. A good example could be our finalist entry in the competition for the Nordbahnhof development in Wien (AT), which we developed together with einszueins Architektur. Another nice example could be the public space competition we won in Moscow (RU) last year, together with Nowadays office, in which we were able to go a step further in many of our “Europan concepts”, like the objectualisation and atomization of urban landscapes.
And again in our last awards –2nd prize in the restricted competition for the urban development of the Area ‘Landesklinikum’ in Wiener Neustadt (AT), 2016 and the 3rd prize in the two-stage competition for the development of the suburban area Hrachowina-Liegenschaften in Wien (AT), 2017– you can recognize the basis of our Europan strategies.

Nordbahnhof development in Wien (AT)
Landesklinikum project in Wiener Neustadt (AT)

Our interest in collaborative planning processes also finds its origins in our Europan-based research, especially in our E10 non-winning entry “Procesos Transversales” for Elda (ES). In this extremely instrumental project, we began to think about the development of tools for a transversal, multiplayer architecture. As a consequence, we have already participated in a good row of collaborative processes for the definition of urban developments in Wien, we have created the collaborative platform Arbeitsgruppe Stadtprozesse with some Austrian colleagues, and are now developing an structure for the introduction of our collaborative planning methodologies in the Spanish context.