Alzira (ES) - Winner

Héctor Salcedo García


Associate: Héctor Salcedo García (ES) – architect

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VIDEO (by the team)

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1. How did you form the team for the competition?
I established the architecture office studio swes with my partner, Javier Monge, in 2012. Europan 16 was my latest chance in this competition, and I decided to participate to test some reflections on the contemporary city from multiple scales and link our architectural background to the inclusive urbanism. 

2. How do you define the main issue of your project, and how did you answer on this session main topic, Living cities?
The project site is located in the north-east of Alzira, between La Alquerieta and El Torretxó districts. The area was well-known as an orange trees orchard. Currently it is an area under renewal process. Revitalization and integration between the territory and the use of all the resources (natural, ecological, infrastructural) is a fundamental requirement in planning future vision of the area. The proposal is defined as an integrated and continuous set that brings together the areas of greatest environmental, cultural, social, visual, recreational spaces and ecological and functional connections that relate to each other. 

3. How did the issues on metabolic and inclusive vitalities and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
Orangerie is the principal axis that should articulate the future urbanism in this area of Alzira, as an element capable of linking to each other the open spaces, the historic uses of this area and facilities of the city and putting them in direct connection to their territory. The values of the landscape of orange trees have progressively lost relevance and for this reason ORANGERIE proposes to recover the social, productive, identity and environmental values of this historic territory, based on the canonic structure of the orange trees orchard: an orthogonal grid of orange trees, stone walls, water ponds and beautiful ornamental gardens. The different interior roads proposed in the current urban planning are transformed in pathways and slow routes adorned with orange trees and palm trees. Its ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life of citizens, maintaining biodiversity, the historic character and ecological processes, such as the pillars that should be based the territory’s sustainability in the long term.
4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
For us, as architects, our generational challenge is to find the way to develop and adaptative, inclusive and open-programmed architecture which would be able to deal with concepts that the contemporary city requires. I studied a Master in Urbanism, urban Planning and Urban Design by the ETSA Sevilla and during my professional experience I have developed different urban projects. For this competition, we used some architectural references to build the idea of the project. Our proposal takes an urban configuration based on the “Espansiva building system” designed by Jørn Utzon.
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?
We consider this participative process involving all the actors (from developers and city government to the actual residents and future users of the area) as a crucial element to obtain a better quality of the urban public space, and what’s more, a city shaped for its inhabitants and not the other way. The proposal recognises and respects the historical condition of the site, symbolically relating to the agriculture and the orange tree orchards. The materials, the light, the shapes, the scheme of the façade and the new public space create a bridge between the productive past of the place with the time in which we currently find ourselves.

6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?
I obtained a runner up in Europan 11 San Bartolomé (ES) and honorable mention in Europan 12 Graz (AT). This first prize in Europan 16 Alzira (ES) with the project Orangerie is an opportunity to have a commission to develop an urban and architectural project. For my own office, studio swes, is definitely an incentive to continue researching and deepening the proposed ideas.

studio swes - Sevilla (ES)
Function: Architect
Average age of the associates: 39 years old

Has your team, together or separately, already conceived or implemented some projects and/or won any competition? If yes, which ones?
Héctor Salcedo (Cáceres, 1982) and Javier Monge (Cádiz, 1979) architects from the Seville School of Architecture, established the architecture office studio swes architects in 2012, after collaborating with Cruz y Ortiz Arquitectos in Seville. The wide professional training and experience through years of collaboration with renowned architects allows us to establish a high professional profile, where investigation and commitment with contemporary architectural practice launch widely internationally recognized results.
2021 FIRST PRIZE. Europan 16 Alzira (Spain)
2018 THIRD PRIZE. Refurbishment Palacio Cortiguera, Santander (Spain)
2017 ACCESIT. Enrique Blas Sport Centre, Collado Villalba (Spain)
2016 HIGHLIGHTED. New School of Architecture, Aarhus (Denmark)
2015 FIRST PRIZE. Tourist Information Rathausmarkt, Hamburg (Germany)
2013 SPECIAL MENTION. Europan 12 Graz (Austria)
2013 FIRST PRIZE. New Town Hall in Denklingen (Germany)
2011 SECOND PRIZE. Europan 11 San Bartolomé (Spain)