Azenha do Mar (PT) – Winner


Team Representative: Alessandro Labriola (IT) – architect; Associate: Roberto Carlucci (IT), Giuditta Matarrese (IT) – architects; Antonietta Canta (IT) – engineer-architect; Daniela Mancini (IT) – urban planner; Maria Piepoli (IT) – landscape architect

via Martin Luther King 37, 70124 Bari – Italia
+39 338 455 1111 - –

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M. Piepoli , A. Canta, D. Mancini , A. Labriola, G. Matarrese & R. Carlucci


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

We had a common university education at the Politecnico di Bari. After University some of us worked together in an architectural firm, while others made different work experiences. The team was formed around a union of acquaintances and friendships. Each of us has different skills, so our union creates a well-rounded team.

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)?

In our proposal, adaptable response to the site issues passes through the rediscovery and enhancement of the existing resilient values, which define the identity of this small place. Connection to landscape, an economy based on natural resources and social cohesion are the key elements in the shared process of community-making. The existing housing model is made adaptable to the specific needs of modern society through the flexibility of configuration and use, still keeping reference to the archetypal image coming from the traditional Portuguese house. Self-organized micro-actions on buildings and shared spaces, the use of colours, traditional materials and recognizable elements, such as the tall chimneys and pitched roof, all help the construction of a community identity.


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

The project achieves to deal with different problems by enhancing the unexpressed potential of Azenha do Mar’s landscape. The proposal focuses on the strengthening of the waterfront, the reconnection between urban tissues and fields, the socio-economic growth restarting from fishing, agriculture, renewable energy and tourism. Thus the fishing seaport implemented with facilities related to the sea and integrated into the cliff profile, the new promenade connected with the existing Rota Vicentina and the regenerated urban community become new poles of Azenha and its landscape.


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

We had never faced this issue as a group before: nevertheless each one of us contributed with his personal national and international experience. We do believe that any sustainable and adaptable process must be aligned to the identity values of the local community: the link with the traditional architecture of Alentejo was the first driving force of our proposal. The research on rural Portuguese architecture, on its materials and strict relations between private and common, living and working spaces, offered us the main references for our project.


5. 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?

The main consideration at the basis of the project is that the boundary conditions and people’s needs are continuously changing in the actual world. This is why our proposal provides a modular architecture which can adapt to different requirements in terms of kind and number of people living in it, also giving the chance to implement existing buildings and create a new system of relations. Introducing cheap local materials for buildings and innovative efficient systems for the reuse of local resources, we provide the local community with effective tools to adapt to upcoming issues and overcome the rigidity of a pre-determined design scheme.

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

It is the first time we have been awarded a prize at Europan and for some of us this has been also the first time taking part to the competition. We believe that this prize could represent a turning point in our career, making us part of an international network of professionals and site promoters. This will be the first step for the consolidation of our young team, ready to carry on the implementation of our proposal and reach further achievements.