Team Representative: Guillem Pons Ros (ES) – architect
Associate: Carme de Cara Nadal (ES) – architect
Palma Oficina, 22 Tomàs Forteza, 07006 Palma (ES)
+34 971 512498 – firstname.lastname@example.org – palmaoficina.com
G. Pons Ros & C. de Cara Nadal
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1. How did you form the team for the competition?
We come from a recent but steady collaboration, initiated back in 2015, which has eventually developed into a professional practice, currently based betwen Palma and Brussels.
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?
At the first glance of the site, its context seems unredeemable. The kind of ‘glorified’ sea front, aggressively developed for a ‘tourist-only’ industry, saddly anticipates the neglected back devoid of any vibrant activity or residential asset. We realised that the main challenge was to face this antagonsim by negotiating between a larger ambition – a fundamental change of the current model – and a more ‘in situ’ set of actions to instigate a visible urban transformation. We understood that the shift towards a more productive environment could only happen in this case with a simultaneous transformation of the two.
3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
The site basic demand was a shift from seasonal to year-round activities in order to improve its liveability. We proposed an argument that focuses on the main assets of the context (the beach, the surrounding fields, the grid pattern, the interior courtyards, the public spaces, etc.) in order to support the new activities to come: sustainable transport network, shared use regimes of private facilities, vegetation increase for environmental improvement, consolidation of public spaces to maximize uses, openning of interior courtyards to increase available space, and so forth.
4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
We have researched in the past the impact of mono-functional activities in the city, i.e. the European Commission in Brussels, but never the question and implications of seasonal turism as such. To face the limitations of the ‘monofunctionallity’, but also to some extent the ‘fuss’ and complexity of the site, we found interesting answers in some dutch urban projects from the late 80s; the urban study for Randstad by Neutelings-Riedijk, or the OMA’s Yokohama masterplan to name a few. We found on them the instruments to represent urban fragments subjected to shifting economical forces or non-spatial orders that allowed us to put at work nonconventional planning techniques.
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 were aware of this fact since the beginning, especially since the public administrations of this site have little or no economical maneuver (the consortium is dissolving in due course and the municipality has low budgetary capacity), and therefore we incorporated these processes into the implementation framework. We firstly located potential areas of development, based on actual and envisioned uses, and then we proposed a set of actions involving both private and public stakeholders. With this ‘intertwined process’ we aimed to leverage the private sector investment.
6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?
This is the first time that we participate and so we are very happy with the prize. It encourages us to carry on with our practice and to pursue further development.