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Competition: Traditional solutions for Spanish urban sites

G3.3 el ámbito de actuación visto desde el barrio de las cuevas (suroeste)
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An open international ideas contest has been launched for contextual and traditionally-inspired urban solutions in four prominent sites across Spain

Architects anywhere in the world are invited to draw up ‘beautiful, coherent, sustainable and socially integrating’ concepts for any of four sites in either Alzira, Valencia; Santa Cruz de La Palma on the Canary Islands; the pilgrimage settlement of Santiago de Compostela; or the ancient town of Guadix (pictured) in Granada.

The free-to-enter competition – Organised by INTBAU and Spain’s Ministry of Public Works – aims to identify new approaches to enhancing environmental and socio-economic sustainability while also solving local challenges surrounding each site. The four plots were chosen following an open call which invited Spanish local authorities to nominate suitable locations for the contest.

According to the brief: ‘The Richard H. Driehaus Architecture Competition is an international competition created to help preserve and revive the use of local architectural and urban traditions. It awards and promotes proposals upholding local architectural traditions, a sense of place, and contributing to make more beautiful, coherent, sustainable and socially integrating towns.

Designs using the materials and building techniques of the region, as well as prioritizing traditional solutions, will be encouraged, as will offering employment opportunities to regional building workers. The awarded proposals are intended to serve as a model for urban and architectural designs sensitive to these issues and committed to preserving Spanish cultural heritage.

Richard H Driehaus is an American fund manager, businessman and philanthropist. Since 2003, Driehaus has sponsored an annual prize for classical and traditional architecture worth $200,000 with recipients so far including Léon Krier, Allan Greenberg, Michael Graves and David M. Schwarz.

The philanthropist’s annual architecture competition – launched in 2016 and now in its fourth edition – aims to celebrate contextual responses to specific sites in Spain which help enhance local social and economic resilience.

The latest edition of the contest centres on four sites with the first focusing on the remains of the historic Almohad fortress in Alzira, Valencia and the second covering improvements to the historic northern gateway to Santa Cruz de La Palma in the Canary Islands.

The third contest site is the underutilised city centre in Santiago de Compostela where abandoned houses could be transformed into new temporary student lodgings, and the final site is the former citadel and surrounding precincts of Guadix, Granada.

Teams must feature up to four members including at least one architect alongside other roles such as town planners, landscape architects, engineers, and artists. Submissions may be in English or Spanish and should include between two and four A1 size display boards featuring a site map, general views, close-up views, floor plans and construction details.

Judges include Krier, INTBAU senior manager Harriet Wennberg, Isabel Cabrera-Kabana Sartorius who is an advisory member of the board of Spain’s General Directorate of Architecture, Housing and Land at the Ministry of Public Works. The winners of the four categories, to be announced on 5 May, will receive a €12,000 prize each while three honorable mentions of €2,000 will also be awarded for each site.

The deadline for applications is 17 March.

How to apply

View the contract notice and visit the competition website for more information

Contact details

General Directorate of Architecture, Housing and Land
Paseo de la Castellana, 67

Email: arquitectura@fomento.es
Tel: +34 915977890


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