The European Good Practice Awards
10 categories, 2,000 projects from 27 countries, built projects and young designers. Spain and Italy are the most represented countries
‘The New European Bauhaus is a creative and interdisciplinary initiative, convening a space of encounter to design future ways of living, situated at the crossroads between art, culture, social inclusion, science and technology’. Program’s background helps to understand the meaning of the prizes awarded, last September, at the end of a process started about a year ago. The numbers of entities and professionals involved are significant: over 2,000 projects presented in 10 different categories (each project could be nominated in 3 different sections) to build a framework of ‘good practices’ at continental level. Projects come from 27 different countries, with the Mediterranean ones (Italy and Spain) dominating as numbers.
2 sections and 20 categories
The competition’s structure is quite complex: the first section collects built projects (mainly constructions, but also cultural and educational programs), the second is instead dedicated to young designers. The sections are then divided into 10 different categories with the aim of covering a wide spectrum of works’ approaches and identities, without differentiation of scale or use and function or type of intervention. It’s a choice that partly impacts on the clarity of the path and pushes the most popular projects to be in different sections.
The method adopted by the European Commission for the awarding went through different phases and moments. In the first, the projects were selected with a sort of ‘popular’ votation among all subscribers to the NEB website, in the second the jury made up of the program partners’ members chose the prizes among 30 + 30 nominations from the short-list: half of the finalist projects is Spanish, 5 Italian, 2 German, 2 Portuguese. The others from Austria, France, Cyprus, Belgium, Poland and Romania.
Below we list the awarded works, briefly highlighting the characters which make them emblematic proects of a new, possible, architectural horizon:
Category 1: Techniques, materials and processes for construction and desig
ERDEN PURE Walls – Martin Rauch / Schlins / Austria
Technological and constructive proposal for prefabricated and unstabilised “bricks” (ie without cement added) in rammed earth, made of 100% natural and completely recyclable material. The composition allows a passive regulation of the internal space temperature and humidity control. The raw material is earth extracted from local construction sites, so it “redeems” a waste product. Prefabrication optimizes production and construction by innovating an ancient and labor-intensive technique.
Category 2: Buildings renovated in a spirit of circularity
Gardens in the Air – Sergio Rodríguez Estévez / Sevilla / Spain
Vertical garden designed for a district of Sevilla, Tres Barrios-Amate. It is made up of wooden boxes, hung on the facades of obsolete buildings and without special quality. The poor energy efficiency of the housing forces the inhabitants, mostly elderly and immigrants, to depend on external machines for summer air conditioning. The small hanging flower beds are irrigated by the water recycled from the air conditioning units and want to improve the environmental habitat.
Category 3: Solutions for the co-evolution of built environment and nature
RoSana – Anna Heringer and Martin Rauch / Rosenheim / Germany
It is a small guesthouse in an Ayurvedic retreat center. In line with the functional program, it is a “healthy” architecture capable of improving the wellness of its users by feeling to harmony with the environment. The structure is made with solid glue-free wood panels, the internal walls of the rooms are in plaster, earth and willow while the facade is covered with untreated larch elements. All materials are present in the nearby forest.
Category 4: Regenerated urban and rural spaces
LA FÁBRIKA DE TODA LA VIDA – Helena Ortiz / Los Santos de Maimona / Spain
La Fábrika, in rural Extremadura, is a Franco’s rule period cement factory, abandoned for decades. A group of young people brought it back to life by hosting a series of innovative programs and uses, mainly using donated and recycled materials. An open-air cinema was created, a co-learning place dedicated to sustainable construction, an open space that regenerates polluted soil through new vegetable gardens, a platform to promote young musicians and some laboratories for teaching and applied research.
Category 5: Products and lifestyle
AYR sustainability platform – Catarina Selada / Matosinhos / Portugal
AYR is a blockchain-based platform that rewards users when they choose soft mobility (bicycles, e-bikes, scooters, walking, sharing vehicles and public transport), currently available in Matosinhos. The platform quantifies the amount of CO2 users “save” by choosing an alternative to the private car. Saved emissions are converted into green credit units that users can store in a digital wallet and then exhange to acquire services or goods.
Category 6: Preserved and transformed cultural heritage
ifré’s Rooftop: “Floating” Wild Garden – Sergio Carratalá Lamarca / Barcelona / Spain
The project builds a series of “floating” gardens on the roof of a 10-storey building, the Els Porxos d’en Xifré. Result of a competition, it preserves the original structure and materials, transforming the roof into a rediscovered and unexpected Mediterranean garden, structurally autonomous: with earth dunes, benches, paths accessible to residents as a rediscovered meeting space. It aims to have a high local ecosystem impact with ponds, bird nests and over 50 plant species. It is energy self-sufficient thanks to solar panels, harvested rainwater collection and composting.
Category 7: Reinvented places to meet and share
ULIA GARDEN – Leyre Rodriguez / San Sebastian / Spain
The park is an intergenerational project, led by some women in the place where the Ulía plant nursery was, which supplied the entire city with plants and flowers throughout the 20th century. The site was abandoned, waiting to be transformed into a residential district. Some citizens instead opposed and asked for it to be transformed into a public park of almost 15 thousands square meters, which includes greenhouses and vegetable gardens. It is a meeting place where neighborhood residents, homeless people, refugees and people with disabilities can garden and grow food.
Category 8: Mobilisation of culture, arts and communitiesà
ESSERI URBANI – Alessandra Neglia / Locorotondo / Italy
Esseri Urbani is a complex program of urban and social regeneration that uses contemporary art as a privileged tool, offering the public the work of emerging artists with free outdoor exhibitions. The first festival took place in 2019 in the streets of Locorotondo. Each event is tailored to local specificities and aims to develop tools for accessing culture, sustainable tourism and work. The project is an opportunity to create a connection between communities, landscapes and local architecture with contemporary artistic expression as a medium.
Category 9: Modular, adaptable and mobile living solutions
APROP Ciutat Vella – Eduard Cabré Romans / Barcelona / Spain
APROP is an acronym for “Proximity Temporary Affordable Housing” and is a program of Barcelona municipality to prevent gentrification. It offers evicted families decent, sustainable and affordable emergency housing in their neighborhood, pending long-term housing solutions. It is a lightweight, modest and modular construction system that uses assembled shipping containers with facades that aim to build a visual relationship with the urban landscape of the historic center. Each building can be dismantled, transported and adapted to the next destination.
Category 10: Interdisciplinary education models
Degree in Design. Universidad de Navarra – Carlos Naya Villaverde / Pamplona / Spain
In 2016, the Universidad de Navarra launched a masters course in Design to train versatile and creative designers, through an innovative approach that focuses on how designcan serve society. All theoretical, practical and technical contents are applied to the projects; this allows students to learn through practice and to meet professionals in different fields. The integration of contents and skills helps students connect and understand the corpus of subjects, ideas and teachings.
Among the winners of the Rising Stars section there are 4 Italian projects:
Porto di Mare Eco-district in the category Regenerated urban and rural spaces, by Tommaso Mauri, Milan
Retrofitting the UNESCO Site of Ivrea in the category Preserved and transformed cultural heritage, by Giuseppe Galbiati, Ivrea
Materieunite in the category Products and life style, by Jacopo Cardinali, Terni
Social reconstruction in post-emergency in the category Reinvented places to meet and share, by Ludovica Gregori, Florence
The other works of the young award-winning designers are:
Inhabiting an enclosed landscape (Spain) in the category Techniques, materials and processes for construction and design, by Siddartha Rodrigo, Santa Margalida – Mallorca
Zero Waste House (Slovenia) in the category Buildings renovated in a spirit of circularity, by Jona Rak Koceli / Žalec
Nest (Spain) in the category Solutions for the co-evolution of built environment and nature, by Magdalena Mróz, Barcelona
Spaces to reconnect citizens with cities (Spain) in the category Mobilisation of culture, arts and communities, by Giulia Damiani, Barcelona
Homeless housing (Denmark) in the category Modular, adaptable and mobile living solutions, by Astrid Lykke Nielsen, Holbæk
Klasse Klima (Germany) in the category Interdisciplinary education models, by David Reitenbach, Berlin
Is everything architecture or does architecture no longer exist as a discipline? The overview of the awarded projects allows – perhaps it requires – a topical reflection. The scene the New European Bauhaus frames, among emblematic experiences and good practices, is mainly made of tactical and temporary actions, social programs, small and punctual operations of transformations that are quantitatively modest. The architectural form, as we have known in the 20th century, is disappearing, or rather fades, becoming just one of the many ways to work on environmental and social assets. The physical-spatial dimension is no longer the unique dimension of architecture, but one of the many, between different levels of interacting virtuality. The background widens, encompasses disciplines and actors and seems to strongly modify the very concept of architectural design.
Official site with the Awards and all the applications: https://prizes.new-european-bauhaus.eu/home