Seed Structure - The Production of Happiness

Tubize (BE) - Winner


Team Representative: Humberto Pereira (PT) – architect 

Avenida da Escola Secundária, n°114, 4590-314 Freamunde (PT)
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H. Pereira


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1. How did you form the team for the competition?

In E14 edition, I decided to compete by myself to test my individual abilities. 

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 main issue of this project is Happiness. I started from the point that to have a productive city, we need to have happy human beings and for that to happen, we need to create structures able to produce that Happiness. This way, I proposed the creation of a central construction called The Seed of Happiness. This construction will generate other cores, called The production cores. These will energize and create new synergies in the city. I hope that this “seed” can be “planted” in different places giving rise to happy cities in the near future.


3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?

Currently, the site for Tubize’s project reflects the abandon and “sadness” of these empty lots, old industrial zones. The Happiness appears as the opposite feeling as the current one. We have been asked to re-think this entry of the city. The project proposes the creation of physical connections between the project site and the new Boulevard Urbain, the Senette small river, the Sarsi building and the old train station of Clabecq. It is important to refer that the memory of old factories Forges de Clabecq is maintained with the creation of a museum space representing the industrial activity that existed. On the other hand, the elevation of the light chimney pretends to create a symbolic frame that has been intentionally lined up with the axis of the existing bridge over the Canal River.



4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?

No, I haven´t. Not in urbanistic neither in architectural terms. However, my daily routine is made of thinking about it, the HAPPINESS. The reference projects that inspired me were constructions where it is visible the predominance of a central theme: LIGHT, WATER, NATURE. They portray spaces that have the power to calm down, to pacify. (I think this is extremely necessary nowadays). An example of this is the old Hammam situated in the Sille village, region of Konya in Turkey, the Vals thermal bath in Switzerland of the architect Peter Zumthor and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation garden in Lisbon, Portugal of the landscape architects Gonçalo Ribeiro Telles and António Facco Viana.


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?

The proposal here presented can be done in different stages. In a first stage, it is essential the construction of the Seed of Happiness, once this will be the generator element for the futher phase with the construction of production cores related to agriculture, in the specific case of Tubize.

6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?

In Europan 13 edition, I competed with a colleague and we were selected to the shortlist with the project “Rethinking the Viticultural landscape – The Market square as a Patio” for the city of Santo Tirso, in Portugal. I think this Europan contest format is interesting because it allows, in some cases, the realization of presented ideas. As young architects, this is an opportunity that open doors internationally. If contests like these didn’t exist, maybe we wouldn’t have these opportunities or it would be a lengthy process.