Auby (FR) - Runner-Up
Team Representative: Elida Mosquera (ES) – architect; Associates: Jérôme Picard (FR) - architect urbanist; Matthieu Boustany (FR), Benoist Desfonds (FR) – architects
Contributor: Peeraya Suphasidh (TH) – architect
Ladegårdsgaten 37, 5033 Bergen (NO)
See the complete listing of portraits here
See the site page here
P. Suphasidh, J. Picard, E. Mosquera, B. Desfonds & M. Boustany
VIDEO (by the team)
1. How did you form the team for the competition?
We are a group of friends and colleagues formed when meeting in different international offices. We collaborate on a regular basis and this is an opportunity to develop a project together in the context of the Europan competition. It is also a way to meet again while operating in different parts of Europe.
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?
For this second session of the idea of ‘Productive city’, we have voluntarily moved away from the notion of production as literally ‘making’ and youth as the expected ‘maker’. We asked ourselves: What if not the city, but our life in the city, were to be more ‘productive’, and had more to do with the idea of being ‘meaningful’? What if the notion of productivity was not focused on youth but overcoming a fortuitous age segregation to focus on senior?
We wanted to re-centre the debate on the idea that one fundamental ‘production’ for a city is shaping a meaningful community that is attractive and sustainable because it is intergenerational and based on shared values. We especially wanted to emphasise that seniors or newly retired people should not be marginalised but placed at the centre of the debate about the city, as a possible driving force. The current context of retirement reform brings an interesting light to the situation.
3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
When visiting Auby and understanding its lineage, maybe one of the best examples of what a ‘productive’ city literally means, with the extraction of a mineral that shapes a community - a region even, one can only grasp the challenge to imagine again a future identity that can come close to that rich heritage. Luckily, it is not an isolated case and we see that one of the reasons that Auby is so attractive and resilient for the future is the potential attractiveness of living a meaningful life together.
4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
It is a topic that was a research theme for Jerome some 10 years ago at the Architectural Association in London, looking at the typological evolution of elderly living towards more inclusive and active living neighbourhoods shaping the life of city rather than segregated institutions. It is also a theme where we are today actively involved in Scandinavia with several healthcare projects and an integrated masterplan, with our good colleagues from Norway and Denmark. It is of course useful to look at new trends and new projects in the field, but we more often use as a reference the mature or vernacular urban condition. We try to understand how and why certain types of city fabrics or towns have been successful over time at accommodating different activities and lifestyles. We try to extract some principles and see how they can be tested as new design tool in order to address new challenges. Most recent examples we use are a way to show clients that massive-wood, passive building or building with added civic value are possible to build.
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?
We understand that the municipality alone can no longer be the only provider for public life and support all civic activity because there is simply not enough resource to do so. At the same time, we see a change in the private sector understanding the benefits for different reasons, to deliver better integrated projects with added-value that support the shaping of the public life of cities. For us a public-private partnership is an essential synergy.
There is another fundamental aspect. By giving the opportunity for people to take more ownership in shaping their future environment and being included and active in a community, there is also a bottom-up effect, which can be supported by possible economic incentive. Our proposal revolves around the synergy of different actors over time:
- The municipality being willing to convert their most attractive sites along the beautiful canal.
- Regions improving public transport infrastructure
- Private companies running healthcare institutions, looking to expand their ambitions as service providers beyond the apparently holy ‘Thé dansant’ and are mindful of the added value and marketshare there is to create more integrated and productive projects.
- Families willing to relocate in new places where they can live closer to their seniors and have better access to health, nature and education.
- Independent seniors relocating to new places because there is a network of possibilities and meaningfulness where it is possible to contribute, give back, able to self-manage care facilities or kindergarten, support business part-time, support research, or keep local history alive.
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 received an award for Europan. For us it is the starting point of our new office named Local, based in Bergen and Paris. Working on this competition has made it possible to synergise our desire to work together and our wish to be a new local voice in the debate on city in Europe and Scandinavia.
Functions: Architecture, Urbanism
Average age of the associates: 32 years old
Has your team, together or separately, already conceived or implemented some projects and/or won any competition? If yes, which ones?
In 2019, Benoist, Matthieu and Peeraya received first prize for the House 100% in wood competition at Château de la Bourdaisière in Montlouis-sur-Loire, completed last autumn 2019. In December 2019, Benoist, Elida, Jerome and Matthieu received the first prize in the international competition for the new Paralympic centre in Riga, Latvia with their good friend RUUME arhitekti and Sandra Sinka. Elida and Jerome are refurbishing a Dutch building in Rotterdam into a new boutique hotel, due to open March 2020.