E14 Results
Oct 2018
Heads in the Clouds Alcoy (ES) - Special Mention

TEAM DATA

Team Representative: Adrià Orriols Camps (ES) – architect
Associates: Sara Vima Grau (ES), Joan Gener González (ES), Miquel Ruiz Planella (ES) – architects

C/ Verdi 150, 08012 Barcelona (ES)
+34 680 108 632 - hola@h3o.es - h3o.es

See the complete listing of portraits here 
See the site page here 


J. Gener González, A. Oriol Camps, M. Ruiz Planella & S. Vima Grau

 

INTERVIEW
Click on the images to enlarge

1. How did you form the team for the competition?

h3o is a group of young architects founded in Barcelona in 2016 by Joan Gener González, Adrià Orriols Camps and Miquel Ruiz Planella with the aim of working on architecture through the spatial research on art, technology, design and history. Sara Vima Grau is a young architect, currently working on her PhD at UPC pursuing an academic career, who is very linked to h3o's philosophy and joined the team to address the challenge of Europan 14 as well as some other competitions.

2. How do you define the main issue of your project, and how did you answer on this session main topic: the place of productive activities within the city?

The main issue of our project is the decision not to create a building but a scenario. An equipped and comfortable representative space defined by a technological artifact, a shelter for thought and innovation to occur by the means of its free use by people. Our answer to the session main topic "place of productive activities within the city" assumed as fundamental the need of innovative ways to address productivity. With this aim, we considered the urgency to purpose spaces that are capable to incubate and stimulate new relationships and ideas. Our approach to progress, development and growth in social and economic terms is not mainly market production based, but it focuses on the enhancement of critical thought, creativity, empathy, collaboration and collective reflexive intelligence.

The atmospheric artefact
Shelter for thought
The creative plane

 

3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?

The issue parts from the challenge to address the municipality need to characterize a huge urban void into an Innovation Hub while, at the same time, consolidating Al-Azraq Square as connection point within a green and void urban structure. The pre-existence of high-density residential buildings and city blocks called for the proposal of a block-sized empty structure that allows not only the definition of an inner void and atmosphere, but also a volume with enough strength to dialogue with the urban fabric of the site, and to define a new entity within a much wider urban network. A public, common, transparent, generous and flexible interior atmosphere on an equipped continuous plane that links interior and exterior spaces, diluting limits between street, park, facility and productive space, and where technology and infrastructure support and stimulate different forms of public occupation, appropriation and use. The desire for urbanity, identity and identification is here reinterpreted with the proposal of a space of possibility in which the articulation of openness and identification provide the necessary dynamic stability for its present and future consolidation as a unique rooted component in the city structure.  

 

Plan of the site

Aerial view of Alcoy
General view of the urban void

 

4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?

Spatial research by means of working with theoretical, critical and political discourses that transcend and set basis for architectural form and instrumentation is a common interest and field of experimentation for all members of the team. In the scope of our will to explore the challenges opened by the current changing paradigm of the architecture profession, in deep connection with social and political contemporary discussions. Firstly, the understanding of innovative thought as a social, collective and public behaviour, as well as a time occupation itself, is described by philosopher Marina Garcés in some texts from the book "Fora de classe", Arcàdia 2016. Secondly, based on the discussion of buildings objectual solidity and materiality introduced by Gyorgy Kepes on "Art and ecological awereness" (1972), several sources for the research of material and atmospheric experiences where collectivity and introspection cohabit simultaneously in time and space are "Dome over Manhattan" (Buckminster Fuller & Shoji Sadao, 1960), "Restless sphere" (Coop Himmelbau, 1852), "Mobile office performance" (Hans and Lilly Hollein, 1852) among others. Finally, in the search of new city collective experiences of urban appropriation and creativity supported by architecture spaces, "The city as loft" by Martina Baum and Kees Christiansee (2013), provided a wide range of cases and criteria.

  

Cloud and shadow over Earth
Dome over Manhattan, Buckminster Fuller
& Shoji Sadao, 1960
Mobile office performance, Hans
& Lilly Hollein, 1969

 

5. Urban-architectural projects like the ones in Europan can only be implemented together with the actors through a negotiated process and in time. How did you consider this issue in your project?

The proposal of an architectural structure that conceives both programmatic and semantic changes, allows for interpretation, presenting screens and stages onto which individual ideas can be projected. It places the local actors and eventually users as the central roles in not only the performance and evolution of the site but also its main present and future conception. Even if technologically complex, the different elements that configure the structure, equipped plane, flexible space partitions, facades and shade roof are tested existing building systems. Their implementation in time (prior to the public appropriation) responds to the logic of understanding a first naked physical support as an infrastructure that literally supplies the space with the stimulation of a possible and un-programmed future instead of its framing, shaping, ruling and, thus, finishing. Consequently, we addressed feasibility as the result of new patterns of occupation conceived in long-term based processes of individual and collective appropriation and urban lifestyle. Strong and permanent social links with the site, based on the central role of the people for whom and by whom it is conceived, provide reliability for durability, conservation and adequacy to the changing needs of the city, but also for the ongoing creation of new unexpected elements that fulfill the ultimate goal of the implementation of an Innovation Hub.

6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?

Yes, it is the first time we have been awarded in Europan, and for some of us it is also the first time taking part in the competition. Being awarded in the Europan contest gives us visibility and encouragement to continue pursuing a path of experimental research, thought, and practice. 

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