The most innovative European Public Spaces awarded in Barcelona

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The most innovative European Public Spaces awarded in Barcelona

On November 15, Catharijnesingel in Utrecht, Netherlands, has been announced as the winner of the 2022 edition of the European Prize for Urban Public Space at the CCCBCenter of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona.
The European Prize for Urban Public Space is a biennial, honorific award which, since 2000, has recognized the best projects of creation, transformation, and recovery of public spaces in European cities.
The five finalists of this edition were selected last July among 326 projects carried out in 35 countries; a significant increase compared to the previous editions of 2016 and 2018 which confirms how much the design and redevelopment of urban public spaces is an increasingly strategic issue to address the climate crisis and to improve the quality of life of European citizens.
The international jury – with the agricultural engineer and landscape designer Teresa Galí-Izard, who teaches Landscape Architecture at the ETH, Zurich, as its president, and consisting of Hans Ibelings, architecture critic, historian, and editor of The Architecture Observer; Eleni Myrivili, who has a Ph.D. in Anthropology and is an advisor on Resilience and Sustainability in Athens; Andreas Ruby, director of the Swiss Architecture Museum in Basle; Paloma Strelitz, architect, creative director of Patch, and founder of Assemble, London; Špela Videčnik, architect and founding member of the architects’ studio OFIS in Ljubljana and with the support of Lluís Ortega, architect, lecturer at the UPC, and Secretary of the Prize – has selected the five finalists among projects carried out in Europe between 2018 and 2021.
The countries with the highest number of projects presented are Spain, Poland, Italy, France, and Portugal.

THE WINNER
Catharijnesingel, 2020. Utrecht, Netherlands.
OKRA landschapsarchitect

With the Catharijnesingel redevelopment project, the structure of the canal that had been closed and transformed into a road axis was restored. The reopening of the waterway has triggered a virtuous process in the name of biodiversity, defining a new public space accessible to cyclists and pedestrians.
All the elements of the project such as the vegetation, the materials for the flooring, and the street furniture (which have been carefully selected by also foreseeing their future evolution) contribute to the creation of a microclimate that will play an important role in the current global climate crisis.

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EU Prize for public spaces, winner, Utrecht

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Above: Catharijnesingel, 2020. Utrecht, Netherlands. OKRA landschapsarchitect.
Pictures courtesy of the European Prize for Urban Public Space.


THE OTHER FINALISTS

FLOW, 2021. Brussels, Belgium.
POOL IS COOL, Decoratelier Jozef Wouters
Designed and built with the participation of fifty young people, Flow is the first outdoor swimming pool built in Brussels in forty years. This project introduces a temporary structure that guarantees citizens a rich meeting place to enjoy fresh air and water.
As a simple, economical, and modular system that can be easily built, Flow is a good example of how everyone can participate in the creation of an active public space.

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above, and cover: FLOW, 2021. Brussels, Belgium. POOL IS COOL, Decoratelier Jozef Wouters. Pictures courtesy of the European Prize for Urban Public Space.


Hage, 2021. Lund, Sweden.
Brendeland & Kristoffersen architects, Price & Myers.

Lund Cathedral decided to use its properties to develop a public space that would be an alternative to the logic of rapid urbanization in its surroundings.
A courtyard, closed on three sides by walls made of bricks recovered from a demolished factory building, is set in still-undeveloped land on the outskirts of Lund. The owner of the land has decided not to keep pace with the urbanizing development of the area, but to let it follow its own course and open it to the citizens. The courtyard is a first intervention, an anticipation of a gradual evolution of the place: an hortus inconclusus.

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Hage, 2021. Lund, Sweden. Brendeland & Kristoffersen architects, Price & Myers.
Pictures courtesy of the European Prize for Urban Public Space.


Saint Sernin Square, 2020. Toulouse, France.
Joan Busquets, Pieter-Jan Versluys, BAU

The project for Saint Sernin Square in Toulouse restores eminence to the historic urban fabric of the city. The cars that occupied its surface have been removed, and lost trees are reinstated as organizers of the public space. The simplicity of the proposal, its use of materials, and its recognition of the heritage of the site have become the project’s mechanisms for reactivating a new, once jeopardized public space and regaining its vertical dimension, and establishing an area that can accommodate a range of public uses.

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Saint Sernin Square, 2020. Toulouse, France. Joan Busquets, Pieter-Jan Versluys, BAU. Pictures courtesy of the European Prize for Urban Public Space.


“Sporta pils dārzi”urban garden in Riga, 2021. Riga, Latvia.
Artilērijas dārzi

The urban community garden “Sporta pils dārzi” is the result of a popular initiative to recover an abandoned lot and becomes a new typology of public space. The project consists of a system of seedling distributions and interstitial spaces that will be occupied during events and encounters. The resulting project is a new system, a model of urban space that incorporates productive, cultural, and social logic and integrates emerging natural elements as part of the community space.

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“Sporta pils dārzi” urban garden in Riga, 2021. Riga, Latvia. Artilērijas dārzi.
Pictures courtesy of the European Prize for Urban Public Space.


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