Vaasa (FI) - Winner


Associates: Guillermo Pozo Arribas (ES), Justo Diaz Diego (ES) – architects


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VIDEO (by the team)

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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?
Contemporary architecture and urban planning affect the physical layout and the entire system of relationships of a territory. We propose the new residential area of Vaskiluoto, in Vaasa, as part of the already existing forest, generating a new hybrid territory amidst natural and artificial. As forests, we understand (me)tsä as constantly changing living organism where non-living and living species coexist in interdependence, establishing a self-sufficient and sustainable community. (me)tsä emerges from the union of two Finnish words: “me” (us) and “metsä” (forest), from which emerges the inclusive and resilient spirit of the project.

2. How did the issues of your design and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
Trying to understand and respect the immense landscape value of the site and creating what we consider to be an ecological residential neighbourhood for the 21st century. Throughout the process, we strive to design spaces in which we would like to live.


3. Have you treated these issues previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
We understand architecture as a cycle, in which buildings are one more step of a larger process. For instance, construction materials come from territories which host biodiversity and which does not provide infinite resources. In (me)tsä, some of our main inspirations and references, were both traditional and contemporary wood based construction systems (timber and CLT) as well as the growth and health of finnish forests.


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?
Since its conception (me)tsä aims for inclusivity and equity. We strongly believe, contemporary architecture should be multidisciplary and collaborative. In our project, to encourage sense of identity and belonging, we propose an open Phase 0 for negotiation, participation, and co-design. In which a multidisciplinary team composed of municipality representatives, promoters, neighbours’ associations, cooperatives, and planning technicians will gather to tackle the challenges that a constantly changing habitat requires.


5. How did you form the team for the competition and if so what are the skills you associated?
After a long friendship since we were kids, our first architecture collaboration was during Europan 15. After this fructiferous experience working together, we kept collaborating in smaller architecture projects and competitions. On May 2023, we saw Europan 17 as great opportunity to keep developing and deepening in our common perspective about architecture and territory.

6. How could this prize help you in your professional career?
As many young architects, winning a competition such as Europan is a great opportunity to transition into a professional office and carry out the proposed ideas. This prize is a great accomplishment, but it also can be the beginning of a new challenging path.

Legal status: 
architecture office
Team name: padd estudio
Average age of the associates: 30 years old

Has your team, together or separately, already conceived or implemented some projects and/or won any competition? if so, which ones?
It is the first time we have won an architecture competition. We have participated in other competitions both individually and collectively, working for architectural firms, but this is the first time we have won a first prize. The sensation is very gratifying. We believe it is very exciting and motivating to receive such a positive outcome.