The Madrid-based architectural firm arenas basabe palacios developed a hands-on concept for the redevelopment of an abandoned site in Vienna – one which represents a new form of garden city.
The architects divided the site of The Commons into a grid of gardens which would serve as a framework for urban and social development. 33 percent of the land area will be covered with nearly 1,000 residential units, 10 percent is reserved for private gardens, and 57 percent will remain as common green space. The architects defined an urban code for all the gardens. Private owners and investors can buy garden plots and construct buildings around them, ranging in size XS to XL, in accordance with the urban code. The unbuilt areas, or “the commons,” remain open to everyone. Thus, the actions of the owners will determine the appearance of the public space and of the whole neighborhood.
Project author Enrique Arenas from arenas basabe palacios notes: “The structure should be defined not by buildings but by the green spaces. The gardens are the playing board – or the hardware for the project. Once the playing field is defined, we need rules for interaction, or the software. Our garden city also has rules and playing cards. They define how things can develop and which relationships can arise among citizens.
As one of the three main Holcim Awards winners for Europe in 2014, “The Commons” automatically qualified as a finalist in the Global Holcim Awards 2015. All 15 finalist project teams were asked to submit an updated and more comprehensive entry that was evaluated by a global jury in March 2015.
The results of the global phase of the 4th Holcim Awards competition were announced on April 20, 2015.
The winners of the global phase of the 4th International Holcim Awards competition will be revealed on April 20, 2015. The results will be announced via the Holcim Awards website.
The USD 2 million Holcim Awards is the most significant international competition for sustainable design. The jury composed of renowned specialists from around the world and headed by Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University (USA) will evaluate 15 projects out of more than 6,000 submissions. The finalists are the winners of the Holcim Awards Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards 2014 in each of the five competition regions of the world.
The finalist projects competing for one of the three Global Holcim Awards prizes are located in Austria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, France, Italy, Lebanon, Mexico, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, and the USA and were entered by authors from these countries as well as from Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain. They reflect a broad variety of the current interpretation of sustainable construction combined with architectural excellence and enhanced quality of life beyond technical intervention.
The submissions will be evaluated by the Global Holcim Awards 2015 jury including Marc Angélil, Senior Dean of Architecture and Urban Design at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich, Switzerland), Alejandro Aravena, Principal of Elemental (Chile), Maria Atkinson, Founding Director of the Australian Green Building Council (Australia), Meisa Batayneh Maani, Principal of maisam architects and engineers (Jordan), Yolanda Kakabadse, President of WWF International (Ecuador), Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University (USA), Matthias Schuler, Principal of Transsolar(Germany), and Rolf Soiron, Chairman of the Board of the Holcim Foundation (Switzerland).
The winners of the global prizes will share prize money of USD 350,000. Previous winners of the tri-annual Global Holcim Awards include Bureau EAST (Los Angeles, USA), Centola + Associati (Salerno, Italy), Coelacanth and Associates (Tokyo, Japan), Ingenhoven und Partner Architekten (Dusseldorf, Germany), Kéré Architecture (Berlin, Germany), L’OEUF (Montreal, Canada), Public Architecture (San Francisco, USA), Proyectos Arqui5 (Caracas, Venezuela), realities:united (Berlin, Germany), Tsinghua University (Beijing, China), and Urban-Think Tank (São Paulo, Brazil).
About the Holcim Foundation and Holcim
The Swiss-based Holcim Foundation promotes and illustrates the strength of diverse strategies of achieving greater sustainability of the built environment. As part of its approach, the Foundation publishes booklets on outstanding examples of applied sustainable construction. The initiatives of the Holcim Foundation include the USD 2 million Holcim Awards – the most significant international competition for sustainable design.
Since it was established in 2003, the Foundation has been supported by Holcim in more than 70 countries worldwide and is independent of commercial interests. Holcim is one of the world’s leading suppliers of cement and aggregates (crushed stone, gravel and sand) as well as further activities such as ready-mix concrete and asphalt, including services.See more
Luis Basabe Montalvo of Arenas Basabe Palacios arquitectos and his co-authors consider the concept of “porosity” central to their design: a neighborhood of social and ecological porosity, creating a system of co-existence with the natural environment. “The Commons: Participatory urban neighborhood, Vienna, Austria” focuses on questions of procedures, including stakeholder participation and its effects on physical form.
An urban design project in Vienna that identifies a set of rules for establishing a sustainable urban neighborhood received the Holcim Awards Bronze. The urban plan by Enrique Arenas, Luis Basabe and Luis Palacios of Arenas Basabe Palacios arquitectos (Spain) uses a framework of gardens for the project’s physical and social development. The approach establishes a minimally-invasive intervention that will develop over time according to the needs of the community at every stage.
The jury especially commended the focus on questions of procedures, including stakeholder participation and its effects on physical form: “The proposal offers a method for a step-by-step urban densification, combining both bottom-up/top-down and formal/informal practices to create an urban commons”.Read full media release – Holcim Awards 2014 for Europe »
The jury especially commends the focus on questions of procedures, including stakeholder participation and its effects on physical form. Particularly interesting is the changing relationship between built and un-built areas that is constantly negotiated and re-negotiated in a process that engages a range of relevant parties. The proposal offers a method for a step-by-step urban densification, combining both bottom-up/top-down and formal/informal practices – to create an urban commons.
Located in the city of Vienna, Austria, the project identifies a set of rules for establishing a sustainable urban neighborhood based on democratic principles of governance, communication, and participation. Instead of proposing a pre-designed urban tissue, the strategy tenders a collective pattern based on a grid of gardens that structure the area. The gardens function as a framework for physical and social development, outlining a porous fabric with low environmental impact and a collective space – reprogrammable in time, while furthering ownership capacity-building. The area will first operate as an urban park; a matrix of gardens is inserted around existing trees. Gradually the district grows around these gardens and the shared open space. The approach establishes a minimally-invasive intervention that will develop over time according to the needs of the society at every step – a continuous process of small scale growth and appropriation, with autonomy at every stage.
The Commons (GartenSTADT) project calls for an alternative to the conventional suburban free space that is emphasized not only in environmentally-friendly construction practices, but also in economic and social sustainability of the whole process. Therefore, our proposal for the ten hectare site area is a minimally-invasive intervention that will develop over time according to current societal needs, but never compromising the necessities of future generations.
Initially, the area will function as an urban park: we preserve the previous trees, and insert the matrix of gardens. A wide variety of actors (from large companies to individuals) can colonize these “extroverted” plots promoting a multi-scalar urban development. As colonization, the initial structure of gardens reduces the scale of action, as well as the environmental impact on the existing landscape. We keep the nature we find in there, promoting it later through our gardens-matrix and continuity of the green open space for the community.
In subsequent stages, the district will gradually grow around the gardens, configuring itself over time. It will always work as a pedestrian area on the inside, leaving road traffic outside, and always be connected to alternative mobility: trains, buses, bikes, car sharing, and so on.
The aim is to minimize the consumption of the site land, so that the gardens and the allmende (common land) will be the main characters, and take more importance in human relationships and wellness: a porous city. This allmende is a shared open space for the community, with self-sufficient and sustainable centralized management. Since it will consist of green surfaces, it reduces the environmental impact, and it is a low cost maintenance space. But it is also a space full of significance: it is a reprogrammable space with appropriation capacity, which will turn into a symbol for the neighborhood, with communal identity and civic involvement as a basis for the production of urban development.
The new district involves citizenship in the management of its buildings and their surrounding open spaces, in order to promote the micro-identity with the natural environment, equal citizenship and social responsibility. Participation is a cornerstone for the sustainable and democratic development of the area. We understand urban planning as an open collaborative process in which everyone can be represented.Download project overview (PDF, 4.02 MB) »See more
An urban design project in Vienna that identifies a set of rules for establishing a sustainable urban neighborhood …
Luis Basabe Montalvo of Arenas Basabe Palacios arquitectos and his co-authors consider the concept of “porosity” central …
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