European Awards for Urban Public Space

The European Awards for Urban Public Space are a biannual recognition, created by the Center for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB) in the year 2000, in order to recognize and promote the public nature of urban spaces as well as their capacity of social cohesion. Unlike other contests, it aims to recognize urban surgery interventions, large or small, that improve the lives of citizens, rather than interventions with an aesthetic or spectacular accent. It is currently co-organized with six other European institutions: The Architecture Foundation (London), the Architekturzentrum Wien (Vienna), the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine (Paris), the Museum of Finnish Architecture (Helsinki), the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (Frankfurt) and the Museum of Architecture and Design (Ljubljana).

In its 2016 edition, in which 276 projects from 205 cities and 33 countries participated, two projects shared the First Prize: the Recovery of the ditches of the thermal orchards in the Barcelona municipality of Caldes de Montbui and the Przełomy Center for Dialogue in Solidarność Square in Szczecin, Poland.

 prize-caldas-1In Caldes de Montbui, the jury has valued the recovery of the historic orchards, which had been left inaccessible and contaminated with wastewater, through a minimal intervention and low-cost, in which the ditches have been given a double use, also turning them into pedestrian paths connected to the center of the town. The jury recognizes in the project an example of how a small population can work together towards productive and environmental sustainability.

 prize-caldas-2In Szczecin, the jury has valued the integration of a museum in a public square of great recent historical significance, within an undulating topographic space, allowing to combine the occasional ceremonial use of the square with its daily activity.

 prize-caldas-3Four projects have received special mentions: the Ring of Memory on the hill of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette (Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, France) , the Garden of the Hundred Celestials (Kiev, Ukraine), the improvement of the Barkingside Center (London, Great Britain) and the New Multipurpose Porch of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean (Brussels, Belgium).

The city of Copenhagen has received, for its part, a special recognition for its commitment to the quality of life in urban public space that is expressed in innovative interventions on important issues such as mobility and water management. Its determined and persistent commitment to public space that prioritizes pedestrians, cyclists and public transport stands out.