Team Representative: Mercè Amat (ES) – architect
Carrer Torrent de l'Olla 24, 08012 Barcelona (ES)
+34 654 868 542 – firstname.lastname@example.org – merceamat.com
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1. How did you form the team for the competition?
It is a one-woman team, so the main issue was finding the time to do it on my own. Planning and time management were crucial.
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?
The proposal consists in transforming the built environment by integrating new outdoor spaces in the three different scales of the competition: the Street, the Building and the Apartment. The new outdoor spaces are designed to promote the appropriation of the existing by adding new green areas with rich vegetation that will offer a friendly atmosphere for the citizens. In addition, the project proposes the integration of two commercials spaces in the ground floor and the basement of the building just by making a small structural intervention to integrate new uses in the plot. All these combined will help to foster a vital urbanity and transform the existing environment with low land use into a new, domesticated and lively urban area.
3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
In my opinion, the main topic is the place of productive activities within the city and appears to me as an interesting issue to discuss in contemporary city planning. After having tested during decades the "zoning planning", it is well known that this model has failed, and we have the rethink our cities guaranteeing mixed-use programmes that create synergies promoting dynamic urban areas. In my proposal I have worked with this on various scales. At the urban scale, I have combined the existing car-oriented traffic lines with wide sidewalks, green areas and bike paths. At the building scale, I have included different uses like commercial activities in the ground floor and space for leisure activities in the surroundings. Finally, at the apartment scale, I also modified it by adding a new space with a different atmosphere (terrace or green houses) to improve the qualities of the dwellings.
4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
In my Master's Thesis Final Project I have also worked with the same topic. That project consisted in how to re-adapt an industrial site in Barcelona into a domesticated urban area by giving new uses and make small transformations in the building environment. Besides that, several projects have inspired me during this competition like the intervention by Lacaton y Vassal in la Tour-Bois-le-Pretre, the renovation of Passeig de Sant Joan in Barcelona by Lola Domenech, the landscape projects and public squares by Desvigne&Dalnoky and the gardens from Piet Oudolf.
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?
Thanks to the jury report: "With its minimalist interventions, the work represents the lower end of interventions that have to be made so as to improve the property, and the surroundings. It does so in a very subtle way and, in doing so, takes the inhabitants into consideration, since the building is currently rented" I tried to make sure that the needed interventions represent minimum actions to gain the maximum potential for the citizens, always considering that life can not be interrupted by the architectural works. Furthermore, I was seeking for a flexible strategy that can integrate different actors demands during the process, so that, the ideas of the competition can be implemented in different ways. The panels only present the beginning of a possible scenario.
6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?
Yes, it is my first rewarded project but it is my second time participating in Europan. It has been, of course, a giant boost of morale! I believe this competition has a very interesting format and very skilled organizers and juries, so I am planning to participate again in further editions. Of course I would like to be able to further develop my proposal in collaboration with the GBW Franken GmbH and the City of Aschaffenburg as we think this is a great opportunity to develop a very interesting project for the city. Furthermore this prize means a lot to me because it is an opportunity to showcase my work in an international forum.