The Ends of the City

Nacka (SE) - Runner Up


Team Representative: Adrian Phiffer (RO) – architect
Contributors: Dimitrios Karopoulos (CA), Liusaidh Macdonald (GB) – students in architecture

Spadina Av., Unit 308, Toronto, Ontario M5T 2C2 – Canada
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A. Phiffer, L. Macdonald & D. Karoploulos


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

We are a young office based in Toronto, Canada, that frequently participates in international competitions.

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)?

Whilst many contemporary urban themes converge on the Nacka site –how to build the post-oil city, how to build the edge of the city, how to re-adapt industrial sites into domesticated urban areas, how to plan a highly adaptable city, and so on– our proposal brings into light an almost forgotten aspect of urban planning: the resilience of urban form in time. Therefore, we refused to accept the dichotomy of Object vs Process put forward in the competition brief, and preferred to intertwine the two concepts as a strategy to plan the Adaptable City.


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

The diversity of building types deployed on the site becomes a strategy in itself on addressing the requirements for adaptability for unpredictable futures. While determined by their relationship to the plateaus they occupy, they vary considerably in scale. Arguably, our proposal does not make use of medium scale buildings. The large buildings proposed here are flexible in their nature. Mainly conceived for residential occupancy, their ground floors allow multiple uses, while the overall dimensions are generic enough to permit re-adaptation from housing to labour or public uses. The small buildings presented in the plan are either conceived as suburbia type housing or as tiny sheds with public and commercial use. They accept their ephemeral character and the fact that they can be easily replaced in the future or even during the implementation process.


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

We could answer this question with a quote by O. M. Ungers from 1999:

“The contemporary town is not one but many places. It is a complex, many-layered, multifarious structure, made up of complementary an interconnected ideas, concepts, and systems.”


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?

As mentioned in the answer to the first question, maybe it is time to rethink the urban form as a resilient element, rather than something futile that needs continuous restoration.

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

We have previously won First Prize in Europan 10 Competition, with a proposal for a site in Nurnberg, Germany. We hope that this second win in a Europan Competition will change the preconceived perception that we cannot resolve a large urban site because we are young.