Team Representative: Juan Marcos Rodríguez (ES) – architect; Associates: Iñaki Llorens (ES), Conxa Gené (ES), Carmen Largacha (ES), Joan Alomar (ES), Javier Íñigo (ES) – architects & urban designers
firstname.lastname@example.org – www.estudiolunar.nl
C. Gené, J. M. Rodríguez, I. Llorens, C. Largacha, J. Íñigo and J. Alomar
1. How did you form the team for the competition?
We founded Estudio Lunar in Rotterdam in 2012 together with other architects, graphic designers, engineers, etc., with the idea to develop our own architectural concerns and create multidisciplinary teams to participate to this kind of competitions, especially Europan. So, probably Europan was one of the motivations we all had in common to found Estudio Lunar and one year and a half later we got the best results we could ever imagine.
2. How do you define the main issue of your project, insisting on how you answered on this session main topic: adaptability and urban rhythms?
Gjilan has suffered many traumatic transformations in the last 50 years, driving the city to an urban situation that is not acceptable. The current image of the city is a central artery dominated by cars with no coherence between public space and buildings, most of them damaged from earthquakes and urban aggressive dynamics. The public space is heavily fragmented lacking any identity that would transform the open space into a public space for the inhabitants. We turn this bad insight upside down by improving the existing public spaces and creating additional ones, achieving a continuous network of urban areas that much more friendly towards pedestrians and public transport. An activation of the commercial, cultural and social activities is pursuit by the new buildings and open areas linked to them.
3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
A clear strategy and phasing for Gjilan is the key for a successful plan. We found it crucial to define a sequence of changes that could be perceived by local population as improvements rather than transformations. Details are submitted to the main guidelines that our proposal is offering.
4. Have you already treated this issue previously and could you present some reference projects that inspired yours?
The improvement and optimization of Gjilan's public space is essential to activate its city centre, nowadays suffering from degradation and heavy traffic. Barcelona is for us a great example: the city chose to renovate itself through a policy of urban regeneration in public space and promoting public transportation according to the particular situations of each city area. We also find Dutch policies in public space remarkable, particularly in city centres where the tendency is to create shared spaces where cars, pedestrians and public transportation run on the same platforms.
5. Today –within the era of an economic crisis and sustainability– the urban-architectural project should reconsider its production method in time; how did you integrate this issue in your project?
Time is a very important factor in urban planning projects; in fact masterplans should never be presented as finished designs but open to evolve and change to adapt to future needs or requirements. In our proposal the phasing strategy guides all the process of the city transformation, this not only makes the project feasible but also creates a quiet transition to make sure that the process is natural and not traumatic for the city and its citizens, who will naturally adapt to the new Gjilan.
6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?
In our team of Estudio Lunar, we have J. Marcos Rodríguez who was a runner-up in 2009 for Europan 10 Genova (IT) and Iñaki Llorens who was a winner of Europan 8 Stavanger (NO) while he was student. Currently we feel that these two Europan 12 awards are a great opportunity to boost our professional career. We are not students anymore, now we have enough experience to follow our own path since we all have been working in great Dutch and Spanish architecture offices.