European Collective Housing Award Announces Winners of First Edition

The European Collective Housing Award has selected the winners for the 2024 cycle. Created by The Basque Architecture Institute and Arc en Rêve Centre d’Architecture, in collaboration with the Department of Territorial Planning, the award highlights innovation and excellence in collective housing design, emphasizing aesthetics, social responsibility, and environmental sustainability. Selected from a category of 171 entries from 19 European countries, the winners are La Borda Housing Collectie in Spain and Construction of a Wine Storage into Housing in Switzerland for the new construction and renovation category, respectively. The inaugural edition of the European Collective Housing Award recognizes the importance of collective housing in creating sustainable and inclusive communities while also emphasizing the need to promote architectural excellence in this domain.

Designed by Barcelona-based studio Lacol, the jury describes the winner of the new construction category as an “outstanding example of developing collective housing in the city at all stages of the process.” Activating regeneration of the entire neighborhood, the project was selected due to its successful reimagination of living and living together. The project prioritizes quality of living and introduces a new cooperative system as an alternative model to housing production, combining affordability and quality.

For the “renovation” category, which encompasses reuse, adaptation, and restoration, the winner is the Conversion of a Wine Storage into Housing, designed by Esch Sintzel Architekten. The project “proves that ordinary and utilitarian buildings have value, and can support new creative projects that bring additional life into the neighborhood.” The existing structure, initially an industrial wine storage, is uniquely complemented, giving the site a new identity and new life. Due to the challenges posed by the existing site conditions, the design challenges traditional forms of housing, presenting new ways of living and challenging the standard typologies.

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Facing a range of challenges, collective housing projects are integral in addressing the housing needs of modern societies, promoting sustainable development, and fostering inclusive, vibrant communities. The Basque Architecture Institute, situated in the heart of San Sebastiàn’s old town in Northern Spain, aims to bring architecture closer to public citizenship. Focused on fostering the “culture of everyday architecture,” the institute believes in including the general public and facilitating access to larger audiences in the Basque region. Currently on their fourth edition of the Basque Country International Architecture Biennial, the institute’s initiatives merge architecture, landscape, urbanism, thinking, research, housing, heritage, citizenship, civic enjoyment, and public cooperation.

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The jury, led by Pritzker prize laureate Anne Lacaton, comprises various professionals, including architects, government officials, housing cooperative agents, and philosophers. The jury members include Kristiaan Borret, Professor of urban design at Ghent University; Emanuele Coccia, associate professor at EHESS, author, and thinker; Fernanda Canales, architect and founder of Fernanda Canales Architecture (Mexico City); and Christian Hadaller, architect and co-founder of KOOPERATIVE GROSSSTADT eG.

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Awards in architecture play a vital role in spotlighting innovation and pushing the boundaries of the industry. Similarly, the European Commission and Fundació Mies van Der Rohe have just selected the winners for its 2024 UE Prize for Contemporary Architecture / Mies van der Rohe awards. Similarly, New York-based architecture office WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture has recently been named the 37th recipient of the Louis l. Khan Award. Finally, the 1940s architecture marvel Casa Sobre el Arroyo has been awarded the 2024 Worlds Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize.

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