Team Representative: Teresa Arana Aristi (MX) – Architect; Associates: Anna Nötzel (DE),Tony Nielsen (SE), Alice Lemaire (FR), Martin Näf (BR), Emeline Lex (CA), Fernando González-Camino (ES) – Architects Urbanists; Victor Ohlsson (SE), Marcin Żebrowski (PL), Dominika Misterka (PL) – Urbanists
T. Arana Aristi, A. Nötzel, T Nielsen, A. Lemaire, M. Näf, E. Lex, F. González-Camino, V. Ohlsson, M. Zebrowski & D. Misterka
1. How did you form the team for the competition?
The team was formed by a group of colleagues from the Sustainable Urban Design master programme at Lund University. It is during our master’s studies where we got experience working together during several of our studio projects in both Sweden and China, which in addition to individual work required team collaboration during early phases of the projects. During our final semester we saw potential in each other’s abilities and found value in our diverse professional and academic backgrounds as well as our international knowledge. We then decided to combine our expertise in this year’s Europan competition. As a larger group we decided to submit two proposals for two different sites, combining different expertise where needed during the project processes.
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 municipality of Borås inhabits approximately 112,000 residents with a population increase of over 1,000 people per year. Therefore, Borås is a city that is growing, with about 140,000 citizens projected by 2035. Re:mediate seeks to rethink how cities expand, how new models of businesses can interact with the city centre avoiding industrial outskirt phenomena and how to plan for the future worklife, which includes work-from-home and other more flexible work environments. At the same time, the project seeks to rethink the location of the very resources we use in our everyday life: by more closely integrating our food, waste, energy, and water systems closer to where they are consumed. The project seeks to provide a series of services to educate and integrate this new “close-to-home” lifestyle, by combining and creating places for interaction between different education, work, living and leisure functions.
3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
The Gässlösa neighborhood will become its own kind of ecosystem, in which a symbiosis between the green, built, and the living is able to support the needs of nature and people on the same level. This ecosystem will create a cycle of functions in which everything that is put into it, will mutually define, impact, and support something else. The synthesis between living, working, nature, and recreation are the main drivers for the design proposal. Ultimately creating a productive cradle-to-cradle neighborhood that is cautiously developed throughout different phases, supporting ecosystem-services as well as different needs of users. Within a block, a cluster, or the neighborhood sustainability issues such as waste management, energy production and consumption, or water treatment, will be regulated innovatively and future oriented. Creating a mixed use environment that ultimately is sustainable within its green and built form, and resilient towards economic and environmental challenges, but also connects to the existing urban fabric and landscape assets, like the Viskan River.
4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
The theme of productive cities is a very relevant topic in contemporary urban design. One of our team members had worked with this theme previously in her thesis. Entitled Oulu Biovillage the thesis project seeks to create a fully-functional blue bioeconomy ecosystem in Oulu, Finland, where the synergies between production activities: fish farming, vegetable production, services, and new industrial products are integrated with everyday life, thus enhancing the relationship of citizens with natural life cycles and more closely linking consumption with production. To read more, see link: www.issuu.com/oulubiovillage.
In line with the theme, the team also took inspiration from Michael Braungart and William McDonough’s book entitled Cradle to Cradle (2009). Braungart and McDonough emphasize the shift from single life cradle-to-grave to cyclical cradle-to-cradle industrial processes which engages with local material flows, optimizes added value of by-products and nourishes ecosystems with biodegradable materials, to name a few. Using these principles, we were also inspired by Regen Villages, which has been exemplified by EFFEKT in Almere, The Netherlands. The principle of Regen Villages are to create integrated and self-reliant villages which combines innovative technologies from energy positive homes, renewable energies, door-step high-yield organic food production, vertical farming aquaponics/aeroponics, water management and waste-to-resources systems. The challenge for us was to examine how to integrate these themes within the context of an existing city.
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?
There are several benefits for creating an ecosystem based on the symbiosis between actors and businesses as a result of physical proximity. Physical proximity not only allows for savings: in energy, logistics, marketing and labour, but also allows for mutual trust and strong personal relationships between people and businesses. Building such an ecosystem would require a group of committed stakeholders, each with their own distinct requirements and interests. The project impacts a variety of actors ranging from existing businesses, to natural heritage (Viskan River), to the proposed school, and new businesses. Because each player’s needs can be so diverse and at times, contradictory, it is imperative to distinguish and analyze what the requirements are from the very beginning of the process and to balance as best as possible.
In our process we examined how phasing could benefit the evolution of the district. We examined this at the site and block level and how the urban grid evolves over time. The site today has spaces for existing industrial processes and we thought it was key to propose a layout and phasing that ensures the progressive development of the blocks. In the early stages, existing businesses can be transformed into public functions to activate the block while it is being developed. Existing buildings with poor qualities would be demolished while buildings with character are kept. Over time the block densifies and diversifies and provides flexible structures to adapt to the changing work life and business needs while also providing surfaces to grow food in the city. The built form allows for citizen empowerment who become part of a shared local ecosystem with increased decision-making and autonomy. The block becomes an ecosystem where people can decide what to grow, where to activate, whether to welcome large or small businesses etc. The sustainable Gässlösa neighborhood is the one where daily paths of citizens, businessmen, craftsmen and others are intertwined. Therefore, open discussion panels about the project would be a preferred way of consulting the future of the area with the actors. of the first mixed-use premisses and collectivey-housing iniated by the public concertations.
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 all at once the first time we have been awarded a price and have been participating to Europan. It might allow us to push our thinking forward with the city and its inhabitants, which might prove very exciting. This price also encourages us to pursue our thinking and, hopefully, might give us a greater legitimity and visibility in the future.
Functions: Architecture, urban planning
Average age of the associates: 26 years old
Has your team, together or separately, already conceived or implemented some projects and/or won any competition? If yes, which ones?
1. Żywa Ulica / Livable Street
Urban prototyping project in Dąbrowa Górnicza (2017) - Implementation - Dominika Misterka, Marcin Żebrowski and team (link to the Żywa Ulica / Livable Street website: www.facebook.com/zywaulica/ link to the report from Żywa Ulica / Livable Street in Dąbrowa Górnicza: www.issuu.com/zudabrowagornicza)
Żywa Ulica / Livable Street in Dąbrowa Górnicza was a part of the revitalization process called "Fabryka Pełna Żywa - rewitalizacja śródmieścia Dąbrowy Górniczej" (eng. "Factory Full of Life - the revitalization of Dąbrowa Górnicza city center), co-organized by the city authorities of Dąbrowa Górnicza, a small mining town in southern Poland. It led to the first street reconstruction in Poland which was developed by using an urban prototyping method and which was implemented after testing the temporary solutions. The project was a result of months of collaboration with the citizens and local community. As a result, a road previously dominated by car traffic was transformed into vibrant street with multiple functions and urban life.
2. Óga – Adapt, Build and Live Emergency Housing in Paraguay (2019) - Competition - Finalists - Alice Lemaire and Martin Näf (link to the boards : www.arch-sharing.com)
A simple home for a complex need, smart and economic response to emergency housing. Made up of cheap, standard and local materials, the design revolves around light and interchangeable pieces cut on site, requiring little prefabrication. With simple tools and little training, a unit can be built by local workers or the new residents themselves. Adaptability is key. Modules are easily combined to create a village-like structure. To ensure a decent and livable space for all, the shapes allows to divide the house in two, separating day and night, and parents and kids when wanted. Simple solutions like curtains, foldable sofa bed or movable furniture offer an ergonomic and cost-efficient space.