Living Places – Simon Architecture Prize 2016 received 104 built works from 16 European countries. The Jury analysed all the proposals and drew up a list of 8 finalists and 2 winners, one per category. The jury meeting took place on the 18th of November 2016 at DHUB in Barcelona. A conversation between the winners, Anne Lacaton, Jean-Philippe Vassal, Frédéric Druot, Eva Prats and Ricardo Flores, was held at Sala Beckett in Barcelona on the 22th of December 2016. The Granting Ceremony was celebrated at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in the evening of the same day.
Ilka Ruby is a Berlin-based publisher and curator on issues surrounding architecture and urbanism. She studied architecture at RWTH Aachen and TU Vienna. Together with her partner Andreas Ruby, she founded textbild, an office for architectural communication, and Ruby Press, a publishing house with a focus on architecture, art, and other cultural practices engaged in the production of space. Ilka Ruby has taught at Cornell University, Berlin University of the Arts, and the Peter Behrens School of Architecture in Düsseldorf.
Partner, Director Head of Design Team Architect MAA, PhD. As Team Lead, Camilla works with her team to develop Public Space and Street Designs, Masterplanning Frameworks and Pilot Projects. Camilla has worked with both public and private clients in Europe, USA, Australia, Middle East and China at both a strategic and design level. Camilla holds a PhD in Urban Design with a focus on urban housing and is an active lecturer on the Gehl methodology, speaking at conferences around the world. She is also an Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen, as well as a Board Member for the Danish Architects Association.
Doctor of Architecture and Professor of Architectural Project Design at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. Director of the Cátedra Blanca, Barcelona. Awarded the 2009 National Architecture Award by the Spanish Ministry of Housing for his overall career and since 2011 member of the Royal Institute of British Architects RIBA. Academician-Elect of the Real Academia de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi. Conferred as Doctor honoris causa by the University of Trieste. In 2006 he set up, along with Xavier Martí, Lucía Ferrater and Borja Ferrater, the Office of Architecture in Barcelona (OAB), with Núria Ayala as Projectʼs Director.
Hailing from Catalonia, Albert Moya is at the forefront of a new generation of film directors who are injecting structure and ambitious storytelling into fashion’s motion image field. He began his career as an art director to the fashion brand El Delgado Buil, but Moya’s fascination with historic cinema swiftly led him to filmmaking. After assisting directors including Isabel Coixet in his home country, Momya moved to New York in 2013 where he directed his debut short “American Autumn”. Throughout Moya’s work, the thread of design and architecture personified has lead to meaningful collaborations with Bulgari, Mulberry, Hermés, M2Malletier and new Dries Van Noten Film shot at Palau de la Música to name a few.
Salvi Plaja Miró, design director for Simon group, has an extense experience in the industrial design field. Under his leadership, SIMON has been widely awarded both in national and international contests including the Premios Nacionales de Diseño 2016 awarded by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, the IF Gold Design Award, the Red Dot Award, the Premios Delta, and the Premi Catalunya d’Ecodisseny 2015.
Living Places – Simon Architecture Prize 2018 received 145 built works from 12 European countries and Mexican territories. The Jury analysed all the proposals and drew up a list of 8 finalists and 2 winners, one per category. The jury meeting took place on the 26th of October 2018 at Espacio Fluvia in Barcelona. A conversation between Frida Escobedo (president of jury) and Martha Thorne was held at Espacio 100 de Simon in Barcelona on the 25th of October 2018. The winners were announced at the Granting Ceremony that took place on 28th November 2018 at Espacio 100 de Simon in Barcelona.
Frida Escobedo is an architect and designer based in Mexico City. Her work focuses largely on the reactivation of urban spaces that are considered to be residual or forgotten, through projects that range from housing and community centers, to hotels, galleries, and public art installations. In addition to her practice, Frida Escobedo has taught at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and Harvard Graduate School of Design. She is the recipient of the 2016 Architectural Review Emerging Architecture Award, the 2017 Architectural League Emerging Voices Award, and in 2018 was selected to design the 18th Serpentine Summer Pavilion in London.
Davide Rapp, 1980, architect and video artist. Ph.D. in Interior Design at Politecnico di Milano. He participated as a contributor in the 14th International Architecture Exhibition – Fundamentals (Biennale Venezia, 2014) with ‘Elements’, a movie montage of short architecture-related clips, conceived specifically for the introduction room of the exhibition ‘Elements of Architecture’, curated by Rem Koolhaas, the Office for Metropolitan Architecture and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He has been published in national and international architecture magazines such as Abitare, Icon Design, San Rocco and Architectural Review.
Biologist turned designer turned entrepreneur. Harvard graduate. Mentor for Google Launchpad. Speaker at TEDx Barcelona. Parsons New School
Born in Hong Kong, she has been living in Barcelona for more than 14 years. She has lived in Macao, Atlanta, New York and Boston and has two daughters. She is the founder of Makers of Barcelona, one of the largest platforms for coworking in the city. She has also created FabCafe, MEAT Creative and Assemble.rs, initiatives that promote collaborative innovation between companies and individuals.
Ricardo Flores is architect by the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urbanism of Buenos Aires, Master in Urban Design and Doctor Architect by the School of Architecture of Barcelona. After a long collaboration at Enric Miralles’ office, in 1998 establishes Flores & Prats Architects together with Eva Prats in Barcelona, an office dedicated to the confrontation of theory and academic practice with design and construction activity. Ricardo is Professor at the School of Architecture of Barcelona, and has been Visiting Professor and Lecturer in universities around the world.
Salvi Plaja Miró, design director for SIMON Holding and Fluvia, he has an extense experience in the industrial design field. Under his leadership, SIMON has been widely awarded both in national and international contests including the Premios Nacionales de Diseño 2016 awarded by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, the IF Gold Design Award, the Red Dot Awards, the Premios Delta, and the Premi Catalunya d’Ecodisseny 2015.
The international jury is made up of professionals from various disciplines. Their profiles are diverse, forming a transversal jury of European and Mexican origin, from the sectors of interior design, lighting design, architecture, audiovisuals, and including consolidated professionals and emerging talent.
The jury of the Living Places – Simon Architecture Prize 2020 met via videoconference on 22 and 23 October 2020 to debate on the participant works. Before starting these conversations, each member of the jury had reviewed the 140 submitted works on the third edition of the Prize: 79 for the Collective Places category and 61 for Personal Places. The jury considered all the proposals and reviewed the videos, drawings, photographs and briefs submitted by the participants.
2016 jury: Ilka Ruby (RubyPress, architect, Berlin), Carlos Ferrater (OAB, Doctor of Architecture, Barcelona), Camilla van Deurs (Gehl-Making Cities for People, architect, Copenhagen), Albert Moya (film director, Barcelona-New York), Salvi Plaja (director of design in Simon, Barcelona).
2018 jury: Davide Rapp (architect and video maker, Milan), Cecilia Tham (MOBMakers, Barcelona-Hong Kong), Ricardo Flores (Flores & Prats, Buenos Aires-Barcelona), Frida Escobedo (architecture workshop, Mexico), Salvi Plaja (director of design in Simon, Barcelona).
Kundoo is an Indian architect internationally known for her research and experimental work on materials and architecture with low environmental impact, which fits the socioeconomic context and is sustainable in all its aspects. She is one of the most prominent exponents of a new generation of architects concerned with habitat. Currently Professor at FH Potsdam she has taught previously in TU Berlin, AA School of Architecture London, Parsons New School of Design New York, University of Queensland Brisbane, IUAV Venice, ETSAB Barcelona and UCJC Madrid.
Skira is a Croatian lighting designer who has won important awards and has captured international media attention thanks to his lighting design projects, art installations and product design. He maintains that “the light is not for architecture but for the people who live in it”. Therefore, its lighting solutions, creative and efficient, revolve around how the user feels using space and experiencing architecture.
Soares is an architect trained in Porto and Tokyo and co-founder of Fala Atelier. This young architecture studio works with methodic optimism on a wide range of projects, from territories to birdhouses. This are a medley of formal languages, references, quotations, and themes, and the results are both hedonic and post-modern, intuitive and rhetorical. In addition, Ana Luisa is regularly invited as a teacher, guest critic or lecturer.
Lemoine is a video-artist, producer and publisher based in Paris and partnered with Ila Bêka for the past 15 years. Their research focus on experimenting new narrative and cinematographic forms in relation to architecture and urban environment and more specifically on how the built environment shapes and influences our daily life. The New York Times presented them as “cult figures in the European architecture world”.
Jaime is a Mexican architect co-founder of Productora, which work is characterized by an emphasis on precise geometries, generating legible projects with clear gestures and the search for timeless buildings in their material and programmatic resolutions. Productora has stood out especially for the development of public projects that range from cultural centers to a temporary pavilion in Mexico City.
Plaja, design director of SIMON Holding, has an extense experience in the industrial design field. Under his leadership, SIMON has been widely awarded both in national and international contests including the Premios Nacionales de Diseño 2016 awarded by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, the IF Gold Design Award, the Red Dot Awards, the Premios Delta, and the Premi Catalunya d’Ecodisseny 2015.
The selection made in the Collective Places category gathers a diverse group of projects in terms of programme, scale and context. It is a complementary ensemble that addresses the notion of collectiveness through different spatial and architectural qualities. There is a place where children and teenagers can gather after school in a marginalized area, an urban garden reborn as a public focal point after an earthquake, a refined intervention within the historical urban fabric that brings openness to its urban life, a new public place that is given to citizens after the apparently ordinary task of repairing a party wall, and finally, a housing cooperative that allows shared collective domestic living within an urban environment.
The Boys and Girls Club embodies the ideal of architecture as social mediator, to provide a better quality of life and a decent future for those who have less. This project is a massive effort that takes place in the middle of an underprivileged neighbourhood, fostering community integration. Its multiple programmes involve many kinds of activities such as education, arts and sports, and are merged into a simple organic gesture. Using minimal resources, the project opens up a lot of possibilities for uses and creates a series of different spaces and places in which to be lived. It represents architecture that takes care of our society and tries to repair open wounds, such as the ones left after an earthquake in the Mexican town of Jojutla, which was completely destroyed. This is the story behind the Jojutla Central Gardens, a public space created as a memorial, giving it the opportunity to be reborn as a green landscape in the core of the city. The project was not only conceived as a garden; its flexibility could also allow it to work as a forum, a market at the weekend or simply as a pavilion in the main plaza. Its geometrical complexity explores, with traditional materials and construction techniques, a single gesture that displays a game of moving shapes that would work as shelter to hide from the intense sunrise. The video shows how plants, animals and people cohabitate harmoniously in this collective place.
The Department of Radio and Television University of Silesia is a very refined piece of architecture. It is a unique example, produced with a lot of care, that acts as a legacy for the future. There is refinement in the variety of spatial qualities that it provides: from spaces with a high level of intimacy, to big open areas that stimulate the communality of student life. It is a fragment that merges with the existing city and becomes an extension of the public space through its entrance and courtyard.
Refinement and sensibility in working with the existence of urban scenarios are features that the jury also considered in the winning work from the Collective Places category: Can Sau. Emergency Scenery. It presents a unique and memorable approach on how to regenerate old parts of the city; it is an example of how a single project can add considerable value to the urban space. The project explores new programming and urban possibilities, encouraging the community to use public space for social activities. Its local materiality and construction system allow it to fit into the context, superimposing sustainability criteria and delivering great results with limited resources. The Jury really appreciated the clarity of this design intervention, a very refreshing approach to partly demolishing a building, enriched through geometry and the clarity of structural elements. They also particularly highlighted the simplicity and the accuracy of the lighting design: three globes in each of the arches that give a perfectly diffused, well distributed light. This makes it very easy for anyone to read it; not only the volume of the building but also its detail. Regarding the video, the members of the jury appreciated the use of simple elements and techniques to create a parallel narrative based on the three vaults that make up the project, and the involvement of the neighbours by acting on it as a type of participative action.
La Borda is a kind of a project that perfectly suits the ideal of collectiveness. Quoting some of the authors words: “It breaks with the classic scheme of a building as a result of the sum of individual units, to understand it as a single shared house where the boundary between the private space and the community is blurred.” The project enhances the interaction of its inhabitants through the creation and design of the common shared areas. The sustainability criterion is also one of the main pillars of the project, and the jury really appreciated this. The video effectively shows common living through precious scenes of communal life, scenes that are disappearing in today’s urban environment. Without the film, the jury would not be have been as able to feel the living aspect of the project itself.
The selection made in the Personal Places category turns around the domestic realm: three single houses rooted in their natural environments and two small interventions as new dwelling units within pre-existing urban buildings.
La Nave is a domestic appropriation of an existing industrial structure: a former printshop colonised to be lived in. By introducing new geometry made of brick and turned 45° with respect to the existing structure of concrete pillars, a new range of spatial possibilities unfolds. The existing façade is activated by creating a gallery that acts as a powerful illuminated space and the main shared space of the apartment. Through the use of colourful and detailed patterns on the new walls, the intervention introduces a human scale and a sense of domesticity to the different spaces. The video focuses on showing the uniqueness of the in-between space resulting from the introduction of the new structure and the old façade.
If La Nave proposes an interface for experimenting different ways of living by non-specific users, Casa Cruce is conceived for Bernat Lliteras, the owner, who is a unique human being with his own desires and tastes. He is the main character in the brilliant short film that shows this small but precise intervention that completely transforms the way that this area of the apartment is perceived and lived in. The project is therefore a good example of how a simple intervention can make a project very interesting. The jury took great pleasure in discovering the film: a really wonderful, witty, funny and well-done piece. There is an air of Wes Anderson in its spirit and aesthetics. The jury wanted to congratulate the filmmakers and the team for this great piece of work.
House in the Woods enables a unique way of living in contact with the natural environment: in between tree canopies. It creates the possibility of living in close and permanent contact with them, establishing a relationship that goes beyond contemplation. The sustainability aspects and concerns for the environment are reflected in how the construction touches the original place, with a minimal footprint. The video explores the relationship between different spaces and how they relate to the trees: around them, in between them, underneath them…
A Place to Perceive shares the same spirit as the House in the Woods in terms of respect and engagement with its exceptional environmental. The jury considered the project as a beautiful piece of landscape that merges with the trees on the top of the hill and becomes part of the scenario as a modest piece of architecture. The use of very basic materials and its construction system are linked in a very well detailed structure. The stable and house demonstrate a balance between horse and man, where an interesting game of scales matches up with topography.
The jury members decided to applaud Casa Ter as the winning project in the Personal Places category; a very beautiful project, which is subtle and delicate, and which conveys a real sense of harmony with the surrounding nature and landscape. The film actively contributes to portraying that feeling, creating a genuinely sensorial journey through the spaces. It allows us to get a real sense of the place in its both physical and atmospheric qualities. All the construction details, that are carefully imagined and very detailed in their thinking, are also very appropriate to the region, incorporating sustainability criteria. The relationship that the house establishes between the inside and outside is precisely and accurately thought and designed.
The jury decided to consider a Special Mention, to award the qualities of the filmmaking of the Institute for Molecular Sciences in Orsay in an effort to defend how much cinema can bring to the representation and to the knowledge of architecture; far from being just a tool of communication and promotion. The film is really beautiful, it is delicate and suggestive. It creates a certain captivating and surrealist atmosphere which evokes the mystery of scientific research, enclosed within long and silent corridors. The film is an achievement and the jury would like to congratulate the filmmakers and team.