Associates: Gustavo Figueira Serrano (ES), Diego Diaz Mosqueira (ES), Álvaro Itarte Pérez (ES) – architects
Contributor: Javier Pombar Guillán – 3D designer
Valle Inclán 17, entreplanta D, 15100 Carballo, A Coruña. Spain
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.vi17.gal
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1. How did you form the team for the competition?
Prior to the competition we shared working experiences for different architecture offices and also in other competitions. We knew the work of each other and even before our first meeting there was a great feeling of trust between us. Thus, it felt very natural to work together for the Europan 16, approaching it with enthusiasm and common ambitions.
2. How do you define the main issue of your project, and how did you answer on this session main topic, Living cities?
The core strategy that drives our project is to reveal the natural, economical and social values that already exist in Levanger, but that somehow are hidden or disconnected. Referring to the topic of Europan 16 “Living cities”, we realised that Levanger didn't need any external strategy or invention to create new synergies between city and nature. But to connect and make visible its existing ones. Levanger is already surrounded by an outstanding nature, has a clear identity and hosts an incipient entrepreneurial scene around media production. Thus, we believe that bringing the citizen closer to these values, can leverage its consciousness towards them, leading to a healthy and sustainable future living.
Consciousness is the most powerful value towards a sustainable development of cities, regions and, at the end, our global society. If we are conscious about what surrounds us, we take care of it. This simple but ambitious statement is the premise of our proposal. Thus, to the question of the future of the cultural heritage site: Reveal, Relink, Rebuild proposes a strategy that simultaneously connects the different heritage sites while improving urban connectivity and comfort. A new street hierarchy is established from more to less walkable, where the historical buildings contribute to the quality and identity of the urban space. To the question of land use and ecological synergies, a new promenade with different meeting points is proposed along the river and to the fjord, connecting the town with its immediate landscape. Finally, to the question related to the historical park axis and the new library and cultural center, we seek to maximise the use of public space while preserving the historical layers that define the site. The new library unfolds connecting the train station, the park axis and the town hall courtyard in a continuous urban space, while the timber canopy welcomes the citizen to use the public space even when the weather doesn't allow it. In conclusion, Reveal, Relink, Rebuild makes the citizen and the visitor conscious about the qualities of the landscape, public space, and heritage sites that build Levanger´s identity. By that, we believe they will care and develop these values, feel proud about them, making Levanger a place to live, study, work, start a business, and develop as human beings.
As a team, we always start wondering, what are the existing values of the place we work, how can we strengthen and make them the core of our strategy. We seek urban and architectural proposals that, beyond a functional response, they connect with the collective identity of the place. Furthermore, instead of speculative or experimental questions, we work with direct environmental, economical, and social realities that eventually shape and define the visible but also theoretical background of the project. In that regard, the work and thought of Sverre Fehn, Jørn Utzon, and Enric Miralles; but also the current practices of Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Sinus Lynge, or Dan Stubbergaard have been incredibly inspirational.
Collaboration and taking into account every actor in the process is at the core of our project. When we say that Revel, Relink, Rebuild aim to bring consciousness about the environmental, economical, and social values of Levanger, it is because we believe people will lead the transformation and future development of the town. The different architectural and urban strategies proposed to facilitate new synergies, connections, and relations, but would never work without the cooperation with the citizens, policymakers, experts, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders. Thus, the project is presented as a multistage development in time; where the more urgent issues, such as the reduction of traffic in the main street, the creation of a new library can quick-start the transformation of Levanger. While the revitalization of the river-shore or the mobility strategy for secondary streets can follow up the initial interventions.
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 the first time we have been awarded a prize at Europan. This recognition has brought us great energy and conviction on how we can help people and communities to create better spaces and cities. We are committed to continuing working in this direction, through a collaborative process full of discussions, learning, experience, and joy!
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 yes, which ones?
We have dedicated most of our professional career working in leading national and international practices such as OAB and Francisco Mangado in Spain, Urban Agency in Ireland, or Fojab Arkitekter in Sweden. During these experiences, we have implemented and won several competitions. As independent architects, Gustavo and Diego -as founders of vi17 Arquitectura- got an honorable mention for the competition of the new CITIC building in A Coruña. An innovative TIC research center for the UDC university.
Gustavo and Diego share a common workplace as founders of Vi17 Arquitectura. However, as a team, we have developed an optimized and productive digital workspace which we aim to develop further.