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Competition: Europan15

Europan, the world’s largest biennial design competition for young designers, has once again opened for entries (Deadline: 28 July)

Open to multidisciplinary teams under 40 years of age and based in Europe, Europan15 seeks proposals for 47 urban sites spread across 12 countries on the continent. Countries that are contributing competition sites include France, Spain, Germany, Finland, Sweden and Norway but not the UK, Ireland, Baltic States, or Balkan countries.

The latest competition is themed on how cities can integrate productive uses in an ecologically-sensitive fashion. The winning teams will each receive a cash prize worth €12,000 in local currency along with support to negotiate a commission to deliver their scheme.

Contest site in Rotterdam (Bospolder Tussendijken, Visserijplein)

Contest site in Rotterdam (Bospolder Tussendijken, Visserijplein)

Contest site in Rotterdam (Bospolder Tussendijken, Visserijplein)

According to the brief: ‘Europan 15 enlarges the topic from Europan 14 – Productive Cities, which is complex and crucial in the contemporary evolution of European cities. This session, Europan would like to focus on the issue of ecological transition, related to a vision of a productive city for the future.’

‘The ecological productive transition needs to consider synergies between ecosystems, between biotopes and artefacts, between functions and uses, between citizens (etc..) rather than only considering a dualist approach. Europan 15 therefore proposes to point out three issues for this challenge on new productive conditions of transformation: Resources, Mobility and Spatial Equity.’

First held in 1989, Europan was set up to boost young European designers and promote open dialogue and cooperation between European countries on issues relating to housing and urban planning. UK teams may participate in the contest regardless of whether the country leaves the European Union with or wihout a withdrawal agreement deal.

Now in its 14th edition, the contest is organised by a European federation of national architecture organisations. This year’s sites include a 387-hectare masterplan for the remote settlement of Guovdageaidnu in northern Norway, a 2.2 hectare mixed-use regeneration in Rotterdam, and a new development next to the Balearic Islands University campus in Mallorca (pictured).

Competitors may apply for a maximum of one competition site in each participating country. Their applications may include either a strategic reflection on the overall site or an architectural solution for a defined part of the plot. All proposals will be evaluated by the Europan Scientific Council prior to the national juries selecting a winner.

Contest site in Mallorca (Parc Bit, Palma)

Contest site in Mallorca (Parc Bit, Palma)

Contest site in Mallorca (Parc Bit, Palma)

Participating teams must feature at least one architect, with all members aged under 40 and holding either a European degree or working in Europe.

Submissions may be in English and potentially the local language of the contest site and must include three A1-sized display boards, a description of the submitted project plus three promotional images and a project text of four pages. Applicants must pay a €100 registration fee.

The overall winners, to be announced on 2 December, will each receive €12,000 and support to negotiate a design commission. Runners-up will receive cash prizes worth €6,000. A special mention may also be announced.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for applications is 11:59 (GMT+1) on 28 July

Contact details

Europan Europe
16, bis Rue François Arago
93100 Montreuil
FRANCE

Email: contact@europan-europe.eu

Visit the competition website for more information

Seed Structure case study: Q&A with Humberto Pereira

The portguese architect discusses lessons learned designing a contest-winning project for a Europan site in Tubize, Belgium

Humberto Pereira

Humberto Pereira

Humberto Pereira

How did your project respond to the site and Europan14 brief?

The main topic of Europan 14 was Productive Cities. I started from the idea 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 and well-being. I proposed the creation of a central construction called The Seed of Happiness. This construction will generate other cores, called ‘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.

Europan14 winner: Seed Structure by Humberto Pereira

Europan14 winner: Seed Structure by Humberto Pereira

Europan14 winner: Seed Structure by Humberto Pereira

In relation to the site (the east entrance to Tubize city in Belgium), it currently reflects the sense of abandonment and ‘sadness’ in these empty lots and old industrial zones. We were asked to re-think this entry point to the city. The project proposed the creation of physical connections between the site and the new Boulevard Urbain, the Senette small river, the Sarsi building and the old train station of Clabecq. The memory of old factories such as Forges de Clabecq were maintained through the creation of a museum space representing the industrial activity that previously existed in the area. From another perspective, the elevation of the light chimney creates a symbolic frame that has been intentionally lined up with the axis of the existing bridge over the Canal River.

Europan14 winner: Seed Structure by Humberto Pereira

Europan14 winner: Seed Structure by Humberto Pereira

Europan14 winner: Seed Structure by Humberto Pereira

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

I used schemes, 3D images, plans and axonometry.

What advice would you have to contest participants for this year’s Europan?

Ask yourself. The main topic this year is also Productive Cities. Ask yourself: what is production? How do we produce? Why we produce? Ask yourself: What is the city and what can we change in it? What does not work in the city? For each specific site ask yourself what the real problem is and focus on it.

Europan14 winner: Seed Structure by Humberto Pereira

Europan14 winner: Seed Structure by Humberto Pereira

Europan14 winner: Seed Structure by Humberto Pereira

The Productive Heart of New Ulm: Q&A with Co.P.E

The authors of a Europan14 contest-winning proposal discusses lessons learned

Co.P.E

Co.P.E

Co.P.E

How did your project respond to the site and Europan14 brief?

The project proposes new connections, porosities, juxtapositions and overlapping functions transforming the Vorfeld neighbourhood into a new attractive Heart of Neu Ulm and a central pole within the existing urban constellation. New connections in the project are social, spatial, urban, cultural and environmental. In particular – new relations between learning, production and housing are the main feature of the project in creating a new identity of Neu Ulm.

We interpreted the productive city as a shift from closed to connected, from central building to central open space, from monofunctional to mixed architecture. The isolation and closure of the site, which has persisted since its military days, is remedied by the design of new connections at different scales, enhancing the site by creating complexity and multifunctional overlapping.

Europan14 winner: Productive Heart of New Ulm by Co.P.E

Europan14 winner: Productive Heart of New Ulm by Co.P.E

Europan14 winner: Productive Heart of New Ulm by Co.P.E

The project’s primary references came from positive local legacies which are present on the site. ‘Vorfeld’ was built in the 1950s as a monofunctional housing neighbourhood, and therefore lacks variety and diversity. However, its urban design as a former American military base created interesting similarities with the American ‘neighbourhood unit,’ where all the dwelling units are grouped sufficiently close to the central elementary school to allow children to walk easily and safely. The central role of education, the importance of children and design based on walking distance are key elements we sought to reinterpret and reactivate to create a new identity of ‘Vorfeld.’ Another local reference was the ‘Ulm School of Design’ (Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm- HfG) (1953-1968) which inherited the ‘Bauhaus’ legacy and where the learning process for furniture and graphic design was connected to industrial production. This mix of education and production will become a central feature of the new neighbourhood too.

Europan14 winner: Productive Heart of New Ulm by Co.P.E

Europan14 winner: Productive Heart of New Ulm by Co.P.E

Europan14 winner: Productive Heart of New Ulm by Co.P.E

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

The multifunctional buildings which contain the public space encourage public life and a brand-new relationship between living, learning, public gathering, food and productive activities at many different rhythms of use. A linear building on the west side is bisected by a cycle/pedestrian path – like the Smithsons’ ‘streets in the air’ – and it is characterised by overlapping commercial, productive and living functions. A platform at the east will mainly host local and international students of design and local artisans, promoting a synergy between learning and production in line with the legacy of the Ulm School of Design. The idea embraces both the local pedagogical legacy and future potential for productive learning.

Europan14 winner: Productive Heart of New Ulm by Co.P.E

Europan14 winner: Productive Heart of New Ulm by Co.P.E

Europan14 winner: Productive Heart of New Ulm by Co.P.E

As far as representational tools are concerned, we represented the masterplan experimentally as a flat axonometric view connected to a perspective displaying the historical context. The main aim was to highlight the continuity between the two cities of Ulm and Neu Ulm, and to place an emphasis on the role of the periphery/new city as a new central hub of living and productivity. This representational tool highlighted the importance of the political-social dimension of the site, proposing new points of view and tracing new positions and identities.

What advice would you have to contest participants for this year’s Europan?

Europan is a pivotal competition and was an excellent opportunity to increase our own design/research practice. We would advise participants to first listen to the context, to understand local legacies and potentialities, in order to interpret them into a complex and challenging project for the future development of the site.

 

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