E12 Results
Dec 2013
Das Andere Aalborg (DK) – Winner

TEAM DATA

Team Representative: Gianmaria Socci (IT) – architect urbanist; Associate: Andrijana Sekulic (ME) – architect

Via Dei Tornei 13, 60020 Offagna – Italia
+39 335 691 57 14 – gianmariasocci@gmail.com – www.gianmariasocci.com

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G. Socci and A. Sekulic

 

INTERVIEW 

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

We are partners.

 

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?

The proposal builds up on the belief that no real renewal can happen without the participation of the ones directly involved: the citizens. We aimed at creating a background for their commitment by staging alternative narratives trough gentle and incremental architectural interventions, that would eventually relink the history of the city toward the creation of new memories, and therefore of a new identity. The topic of adaptation and urban rhythms is thus inserted in a historical framework, as we consider it not as an extra quality of city planning, but rather as the essence of urbanity itself, within a general understanding of the city as an incremental artifact.

Snapshot 2025: Negotiative plans
The Hospital: slabs and low rise meet in
a hybrid fragment
The Back Court: unexpected monumentality
behind the gardens

 

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

We found in Aalborg the perfect meeting point between the competition theme and our concern in identity and citizens involvement. We think that small and medium sized cities like Aalborg represent epicenters of resistance, places where a relative marginality allows for a critical understanding of social and cultural transformation: we have to preserve these epicenters, to take care of them and enhance their inherent potentials. The fact that Aalborg is shifting its identity from industrial and trade to culture and leisure predicts the further development of an extremely valuable social capital, which is what we are most interested in.

Old map of Aalborg:
spaces of exception emerge
Aalborg as a traders town
Aalborg as a workers town

 

4. Have you already treated this issue previously and could you present some reference projects that inspired yours?

Somehow the relation between public space, identity and citizens’ involvement is always the main focus of our projects. We realize nowadays that the fast growth of large urban agglomeration coupled with the shrinkage of peripheral settlements, often leads to the decline of the sense of community: we strongly believe that cohesive communities can only arise where a common ground is granted, a shared identity. To this regard, projects by O.M. Ungers, C.Rowe, Y. Friedman, the Smithsons among others, have always inspired us.

"The City in the City – Berlin: A Green
Archipelago", by Oswald Mathias Ungers,
1977
P. Carl, J. di Maio, S. Peterson, C. Rowe,
"Roma interrotta", Nolli: ottavo settore,
L'Aventino e l'Orto botanico (1978)
Sketch of “Golden Lane network”,
by A & P. Smithson, London (GB)

 

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?

We believe that planning nowadays has to tackle alternative strategies, looking at other disciplines like media and arts. In fact, the multiplicity of stakeholders involved in the making of the city nowadays, with their own contrasting, unpredictable interests, makes unsustainable any uniform, top-down action, and rather asks for a process of negotiation and iterative adaptation. To put it with Fumihiko Maki words: “Any order introduced within the pattern of forces contributes to a state of dynamic equilibrium - an equilibrium which will change in character as time passes.” The empowerment of citizens in decision making, opens the way to a new, exciting application of direct democracy that could become the heaviest ingredient of a new equilibrium.

 

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 that we have participated. To win EUROPAN is for us a major achievement as it demonstrates that the research that we are bringing forward is aligned with one of the most exciting constellations of architectural intelligentsia of today. This makes us feel part of a greater cultural discourse, it brings along pride but also a strong commitment in constructing a shared knowledge with all the parties involved in the organization of this great initiative.

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