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Competition: Saint-Sever pop-up, Rouen

An open international contest has been announced for a temporary €10,000 installation in the Saint-Sever district of Rouen, France (Deadline: 21 March)

The anonymous competition invites participants to propose a unique structure incorporating 30 sheets of Garnica plywood which will form the centrepiece of Rouen’s La Forêt Monumentale festival in September.

The call for concepts – organised by Concéntrico on behalf of Metropole Rouen Normandie and La Rioja Cultural Foundation of Architects – will select a winning concept to be constructed in the pedestrianised Place Saint-Server plaza at the junction of Rue Saint Server and Marcel Dupré Street.

The contest site in the Saint-Sever district of Rouen, France

The contest site in the Saint-Sever district of Rouen, France

The contest site in the Saint-Sever district of Rouen, France

According to the brief: ‘Concéntrico and La Forêt Monumentale join together in this call to propose an urban intervention in the city of Rouen through a temporary installation that evokes the natural heritage and the forest of this French city.

‘The installation will take place in September 2019. One of the main objectives is to establish a dialogue between heritage and contemporary architecture, and to change the perspective of citizens and visitors. The organisation proposes the intervention take place in the Saint-Sever neighbourhood.’

Located on the River Seine in the north of France, Rouen is the capital of Normandy and was once one of Medieval Europe’s largest and most prosperous cities. Today it has a population of around 655,000 people and hosts an annual festival of monumental art known as La Forêt Monumentale.

The Saint-Sever district of Rouen in 1961, France

The Saint-Sever district of Rouen in 1961, France

The Saint-Sever district of Rouen in 1961, France

This year’s festival will see 12 installations created in the dense forest surrounding the historic city along with an additional intervention in the centre of Rouen which the competition focuses on.

The winning team, to be announced in April, will receive €10,000 and 30 sheets of Garnica plywood to construct their design in the Saint-Sever neighbourhood in time for the opening of the festival in late September.

Interested teams must submit two A2-sized presentation sheets along a specification sheet, and portfolio of previous projects. Judges include Cyrille Moreau, environment vice president at Métropole de Rouen; Christelle Simon from France’s National Forest Department; and Luc Perrot from the Architecture School of Rouen.

The competition is organised by Concéntrico festival which held three anonymous competitions earlier this year for a series of interventions in Logroño, Spain. London-based EBBA Architects was chosen ahead of 50 rival bids to win the first contest to transform the city’s Plaza Santa Ana public space.

The other contests – focusing on a pavilion at nearby Plaza Escuelas Trevijano and an installation at the Viña Lanciano de Bodegas vineyard – were won by local firms Gadea Burgaz y Pablo Losa Fontangordo and Juan Llamazares Argüelles respectively.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for applications is 1pm local time (GMT+1) on 21 March

Contact details

Email: info@concentrico.es

Visit the competition website for more information

Q&A with Javier Peña Ibañez

The organiser discusses his ambitions for the competition

Javier Peña Ibañez

Javier Peña Ibañez

Javier Peña Ibañez

Why are your holding an international design contest for a temporary installation in Rouen?

Concéntrico is an urban interventions festival that takes the city of Logroño as a point of reference to study these approaches to the urban. Concéntrico and La Forêt Monumentale join together in this call to propose an urban intervention in the city of Rouen through a temporary installation that evokes the natural heritage and the forest of this French city. The installation will take place in September 2019. The competitions allow us to open the festival to proposals from architects and designers that we do not know and who have much to contribute to the festival, being a call for international participation.

Example of Garnica plywood

Example of Garnica plywood

Example of Garnica plywood

What is your vision for the installation?

The location is very different from those of Concéntrico. It is proposed that candidates create a temporary installation in the public space of Place Saint-Server – Rue Saint Server (end of Marcel Dupré street). The first phase of the work was completed in January 2019. This is a popular pedestrian multicultural space, located at the crossroads between the church square of the same name and a commercial street. The square and street have many urban elements and the important thing is to know how to integrate them into the proposal.

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

All kinds of participants are welcome. It is not necessary to collaborate with local firms.

The contest site in the Saint-Sever district of Rouen, France

The contest site in the Saint-Sever district of Rouen, France

The contest site in the Saint-Sever district of Rouen, France

Plaza Santa Ana Installation case study: Q&A with Benni Allan

The director of EBBA Architects discusses lessons learned designing a contest-winning scheme for Spain’s Concéntrico festival

How did your contest-winning scheme respond to the Concéntrico contest brief?

Logroño is one of the significant cities on the ‘Camino de Santiago’, a pilgrimage route leading from the French border across the north of Spain, ending at the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The city is made up of a number of squares and large public spaces, lined by colonnades and small alleyways. Other architects in the past like Rafael Moneo have reflected on this condition and added new urban spaces that are defined by different column and edge conditions. We took the idea of the column as being integral to the way spaces in this city are formed, as our starting point.

EBBA Architects' winning scheme for Plaza Santa Ana, Logroño

EBBA Architects’ winning scheme for Plaza Santa Ana, Logroño

EBBA Architects’ winning scheme for Plaza Santa Ana, Logroño

Responding to quite a complicated site we wanted to give the square a new order that could be re-imagined through a very simple intervention. The placement of a column can help to demarcate and create an enclosure, as well as anchoring and making space around it. Our project proposed to transform the plaza by adding columns, as a way of offering new configurations that can be re-arranged. The project suggests a playful way of activating the space that can allow the various local festivities to happen within the sea of columns.

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

One of the requirements set out in the brief was the need to use a specific sheet material, which would be provided by the organisers to construct the installation. Using this we considered ways of making tall structures that would be elegant and simple to build.

EBBA Architects' winning scheme for Plaza Santa Ana, Logroño

EBBA Architects’ winning scheme for Plaza Santa Ana, Logroño

EBBA Architects’ winning scheme for Plaza Santa Ana, Logroño

In addition, we wanted to ensure the installation would have a presence at night. Given Spanish traditions of being outside late into the night, we considered ways of making the structures into light beacons that would project light from within the structure. A fragmented light could shine brightly through the fins to create a striking image and a totally unique experience for this historic square.

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing a pop-up structure for Rouen?

This pop-up competition, like the one in Logroño is a brilliant opportunity for young architects, given that there seem to be less and less of these types of paid commissions that go on to be realised. As architects we are well placed to respond to a brief and specific site. I’m always keen to find solutions that are beautiful and at the same time simple to understand. While it’s important to have a strong concept, its even more important to show that the project can be built. Understanding the requirements of the brief, the timeframe in which things need to be delivered and a clear outcome of what the project is going to do is vital to know what to design in the first place.

EBBA Architects' winning scheme for Plaza Santa Ana, Logroño

EBBA Architects’ winning scheme for Plaza Santa Ana, Logroño

EBBA Architects’ winning scheme for Plaza Santa Ana, Logroño