Team Representative: Miguel Martín Sánchez (ES) – architect & urban designer
Associate: Jorge Martín Sainz de los Terreros (ES) – architect, urban designer & researcher
C/ General Pardiñas 31, 3°D, 28001 Madrid (ES)
+34 650 616 025 / +34 699 581 146
firstname.lastname@example.org – exposeproposepoliticise.com
J.M. Sainz de los Terreros & M.M. Sánchez
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1. How did you form the team for the competition?
EPP* (ExposeProposePoliticise) is a team of architects, urban designers and researchers that works in the development innovative urban projects. We began our collaboration for the Europan 12 (when we also were awarded with the Special Mention) and we have been working together since.
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?
We approached the topic of ‘production within the city’ from a distinct place: we wanted to foreground the importance of climate change adaptation in building the city, and in doing so, air was the material with which we proposed to build new urban environments. In the project, air is, at the same time, a product and an agent. Urban air is cleaned, moisturised, refreshed and aromatised before it is given back to the squares of the city. In the process, new by-products are produced—such as sulphur or nitrogen, that could be used in chemical industries. Also, cleaned air is produced in the core of the city.
3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
Madrid’s site proposal was key to develop our project. The brief proposed the reconfiguration of underground parking spaces into productive spaces. Our point of departure was the current pollution issues that Madrid is facing nowadays. Our intervention proposed a productive infrastructure that purifies Madrid´s air. The project built environments for air, with air and through air. The infrastructure consisted in a series of air filtering prototypes—movable and car-like sized—that could be introduced in the former polluted environment of parking spaces. By activating these parking spaces previously occupied by cars, they were transformed into air productive spaces.
4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
We have been working in urban environmental projects before, proposing radical infrastructures to respond to the needs of the contemporary city. The intention of our practice is to question social and environmental underlying issues and to expose, propose and politicise them in a radical manner. In this specific case, we researched air related infrastructures that ranged from traditional practices—such as Persian wind catchers—to contemporary engineered solutions—such as Smog Free Tower. In the architectural realm, Phillippe Rahm is an inspiring reference in the field.
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?
Madrid municipality has underlined its interest in working together with the awarded teams, as the Europan jury already pointed out. Our project proposes a phasing process that begins with the construction of air filtering prototypes. We believe that beginning the implementation by researching prototypes opens the scope to external actors and investment. In our understanding, wider partnerships are required; partnerships that include not only Municipal actors but also other institutions and companies. Being our project an infrastructure that is movable, transferable and compatible with other uses and interventions in diverse environments, our objective is not only to develop a specific solution for one place but to produce and investigate a project that reaches the European level.
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 already been awarded before in Europan (6, 9 and 12) participating and collaborating in different teams. Europan is a platform that has helped us making our work visible and proposes innovative urban solution that would have been otherwise remained unexplored. We also believe that being awarded in the Europan competition is a great endorsement to continue with our practice and research, especially with this project.