Simone Gobbo (IT)
Alberto Mottola (IT)
Davide De Marchi (IT)


Europan project: ideas and implementations


Simone Gobbo (IT), architect
Alberto Mottola (IT), architect
Davide De Marchi (IT), graphic designer
via Cornarotta 14, 31100, Treviso – Italy
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D. De Marchi, S. Gobbo & A. Mottola

When did you win Europan? On which site and in which country? How was the team formed by then? Please describe the main ideas of your project?

We won Europan 10 on the Gembloux site in Belgium, with a project called "Looking Through". The working group was made up of Simone Gobbo, Alberto Mottola, Davide De Marchi, the founding members of DEMOGO.
The project was the concrete evolution of a series of theories about the relationship between autonomy and dependence on architecture with a complex historical context. The idea was to grab some new parts in order to build a system of urban relations between the city's most important architectures.


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? 

The competition evolved into the definitive design for Gembloux's new Town Hall. A long process lasting more than three years during which we perfected and adapted the original concept. This implementation period was crucial to the growth of our office. We brought our professionalism to a higher level learning a lot about the processes that pertain to the path to achieving a important public architecture.


Project delivered in 2015.


Europan effects: office and label

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

We were already a young independent office by the time. After the competition we created a larger platform devoted to the implementation of the project. It was a complex work of new relationships in order to find local contributors able to work in the Belgian context. In order to have the job we formed a temporary association with several functions: engineers, security experts, economists, lawyers, local architects...

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?

The Europan prize –and above all the implementation of the project– has changed the development of our office. We come from a peripheral city and the prize helped us start building a European network of relationships and become an international working group.
The work has won several awards, in particular the "Best Young Italian Architect 2015", and has helped build our research philosophy in architecture.
We have a great cultural debt with Europan. We think it is a really positive system of sharing urban strategies and a great opportunity to launch for young architects.


Europan ideas and further projects

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

Sensitive approach based on interpretation of complex sites
The new Gembloux Town Hall has been a fundamental project, and the beginning of a new research way. The issue of the relationship with the historical context and the engagement of contemporary architecture on a specific habitat, nest, has evolved into the project we submitted for E11 in Marche-en-Famenne (BE). In that case we worked on the fragmentation of volumes, on small variations in coverage and on the definition points of urban views.
Later on we experienced that very sensitive approach based on the interpretation of complex sites through competitions for shelters in the Italian Dolomites. We ranked second for the Passo Rolle Alpine Hut and Petrarca Alpine Hut. Then in 2015 we won the international competition for the new Fanton bivouac. The design site is in Forcella Marmarole (2661 m.), with many climatic difficulties. We developed a really technological and site specific project that is now under construction.


Urban criticism
At the same time, we continued to explore our research on urban criticism, in particular in the competition that we won for the reuse of the FoxTown Building in Mendrisio (CH), and then in the Europan 13 competition on the Bruck/Mur site (AT), for which we were among the finalists. On that site we presented a strategic plan for new Startapp. We developed the topic of environmental quality; the reconversion of critical areas through the use of public space; and a great flexibility of programs. We believe a lot in the possibilities of a multifunctional space.


We can say that all these works contain a particular sensitivity to the reading of the places, each being different because they are the result of unique contexts. We deeply believe in the need to find an adequate response in each project, capable of interpreting the spirit of the place.

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