Team Representative: Laura Alvarez (NL) – architect
Nieuwe Hemweg 2, 1013 BG Amsterdam – Nederland
+31 61 529 8655 – email@example.com – lauraalvarez.eu
L. Alvarez © Ewout Huibers
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1. How did you form the team for the competition?
I did the competition on my own, I had a couple of days where I could fit this competition and I decided to do it like this. Maybe this is the reason of the good result: Just to follow what intuitively seems the best approach.
2. How do you define the main issue of your project, and how did you answer on this session main topic: Adaptability through Self-Organization, Sharing and/or Project (Process)?
I think the main topic of my project is consciousness. The site of Santo Tirso required very specific interventions, not too many not too few. It is about getting the most with very few means, adapting the city to new possibilities and preserving the characteristics of the existing context.
The new square is a continuous space linking the surrounding streets with fluent connections and acting as a place to rest, play, stay and enjoy. But the market then needs a new impulse with new functions to support the new centrality created by the square. Hence the creation of a FOOD lab – a combination of a traditional market with uses related to food. A food court, restaurant, culinary school and artist-in-residence complete the program of the new food centre.
3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
My first impression when visiting the site was the difficult scale of the market square: it is too large to be just a square, and at the same time, it would be a pity to densify this part and reduce its size. I decided to reduce the scale by creating a multifunctional square with covered areas, which creates a sense of enclosure and can also be used for different activities.
4. Today –at the era of economic crisis and sustainability– the urban-architectural project should reconsider its production method in time; how did you integrate this issue in your project?
I think we address sustainability in a very interesting way, giving a new life to the existing market hall, a new life that is still connected to its past, and yet very much related to the way we live. The position of the Municipality of Santo Tirso is very strong in this respect. They are investing a lot of their resources in having a pleasant and green city. The new square and market hall is a key factor for the development of Santo Tirso in this direction
5. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?
This is the second time. The last time we were awarded with a Runner-Up prize in Ås, Norway.
I think if everything goes as expected, this project is going change my career. I have already been in contact with the Santo Tirso Municipality and they are willing to build it, so this is fantastic news. I was there a couple of weeks ago and I am going there again in two weeks for a public presentation. I really feel good there. I am originally Spanish and I think Portuguese and Spanish people understand each other very well.