Earth, Wind & Water

Makarska (HR) - Winner


Associates: Elisabeth Terrisse de Botton (ES), Matthieu Brasebin (FR) – architects

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1. How do you define the main issue of your project in relation with the theme “Living Cities Imagining architecture taking care of the milieus”? And in which way do you think your project can contribute to an ecological and/or social evolution?
The project “Earth, Wind and Water” raises a major issue for the city of Makarska, as in many other coastal cities of the Mediterranean Sea: the impact of mass tourism on a place's social and cultural heritage. The site's specific territorial and atmospheric conditions (Biokovo mountain/Earth, Bura/Wind, Adriatic Sea/Water) give unique tastes to local products, strongly defining Makarska’s unique identity. Three sites in the core of the city center were proposed with programs gravitating around culture and food: a market, a gastronomic center, and a cultural platform. These programs set great opportunities to define public spaces that could offer new synergies between locals and tourists.

2. How did the issues of your design and the questions raised by the site mutation meet? 
Our approach focused primarily on the understanding of the existing context. The emptiness of each site is perceived as a quality in the core of the city center. Systematically, these voids are reconfigured through their topography, from which superstructures and series of elements could offer polyvalent activities, and programs. Thus, we propose a covered square for the market, a terrace for the gastronomic center and wine cellar, and a performative park for the cultural platform. Each part of the project interacts in a different and complementary way with the existing: its natural and built environment. Specific climatic conditions are offered on each site to meet the program and the comfort of its users.


3. Have you treated these issues previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
We already share a strong interest in public space and its climatic conditions as it defines both our personal and professional backgrounds. Lina Bo Bardi’s projects raised all those topics and represent a continuous inspiration for our work. She established a strong dialogue between the bodies, the climate, and the culture of the place. Regarding construction and design, Eladio Dieste’s work was a clear reference for us. His curved surfaces are a unique lesson of technique, humility, and sensitivity. The understanding of Mediterranean culture towards its climate was also an important insight for the project for its configuration and materiality.


4. How can your project be implemented together with the actors through a negotiated process and in time. How did you consider this issue in your project?
Feasibility and an open design-process is the basis of our approach. Therefore along with the design, we also started to think carefully about how the different elements of the project can be implemented in different phases according to the complexity of the location. In addition, we would like to better understand all the steps of the process, the city’s needs, and the potential actors involved as we would like to establish a relationship of mutual exchange with them. Indeed, we strongly believe it is essential to work with a local team of specialists to help us to develop the proposal. We also believe workshops will help us to know better the dynamics of the city while creating some links with the local community.


5. How did you form the team for the competition and if so what are the skills you associated?
We have known each other for a long time and we both share the same vision and values regarding architecture. We had been working in different architecture offices and practices for years and we were eager to work together in a competition for the first time. The Europan competition was a great opportunity to challenge each other and test our skills as a team.

6. How could this prize help you in your professional career?
We are extremely honored to have won the Europan competition. It is a strong motivation for us, as the first competition we collaborated and it pushes us to work on future projects and competitions. We are excited to see how our project “Earth, Wind and Water” will evolve and hope for its future implementation.

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Average age of the associates: 29,5 years old

Has your team, together or separately, already conceived or implemented some projects and/or won any competition? if so, which ones?
As a team, Europan represents our first winning competition. However, during our professional experience, each of us have led and won several international competitions among different architecture offices and in our own individual practice.