The Europan 11 competition is taking place in conditions marked by a strong commitment amongst European cities to very stringent environmental objectives.
Following the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in 2009, municipalities became aware of the importance of what they do alongside central government to limit greenhouse gas emissions, control energy consumption and manage (or preserve) rare and non renewable resources such as water, as well as to diminish pollution of different kinds. As a general rule, they are trying to achieve greater autonomy, in both food and energy, and want to develop societal innovations in order to encourage every Citizen to adopt an eco-responsible lifestyle. These geopolitical concerns need to be reflected in the design of urban spaces at the urban and architectural scale.
The objective: urban adaptation
Good-quality planning with a focus on sustainability should generate an evolution in its environmental and human components that is consistent on all scales. It has become a strategic factor, since it can enhance the economic, social and cultural attractiveness of a region, city or locality, and also boost local identity.
The challenge: to combine urban and natural fabric
For a municipality, the quest for sustainability entails the production of areas that bring quality of life to everybody, in other words the appropriation of public space and ease of access to amenities and services.
A sustainable approach also involves tackling the question of nature. Whether developed, wild or in the form of local agriculture, nature needs to be reconciled with the urban fabric in order to enhance the territories of the city and protect resources, biodiversity and the urban future.
The priorities: densification, accessibility and connection
A city or conurbation that is seeking to achieve a degree of sustainability must moderate its horizontal expansion in order to limit its consumption of unbuilt land and thereby prevent urban sprawl. Sometimes it may even need to recycle or reduce its built-up areas, and reorder its existing fabric. In any case, thinking about the future requires the development of a prospective approach to the identification of local specificities.
The sharing of created spaces and access to the different municipal services promotes social relations between citizens.
Whatever their scale, areas interact and it is essential to develop these connections and interdependencies in systems that extend from the local to the global. These connections must also allow access to knowledge and the confrontation of ideas.
The requirement: to design urban processes with the capacity to evolve
For this purpose, Europan 11 entrants will need to propose an environmental development strategy and projects that have the potential to evolve and take account of the specific identity of the different locations.
Project designs will also need to include a method of achieving development that is appropriate to the scale of the site, despite the unknowns that may arise with the passing of time.
To fulfil this goal, the architect will need to bring together multiple skills (planning, landscape, environmental, economic, etc.). Only a synergy between different approaches will meet the challenge.
Sites: incorporating contextual diversity
Geographical and territorial locations have their own specific character, so the remit will need to be diverse to obtain solutions that reflect the particular requirements of the site.
This is because every site, whatever its size, interferes with the surrounding area and this interference will depend on its scale. It will have to contribute to ensure that every new local or wider operation constitutes an enhancement within a global context by adding significant value.
Finally, the site forms part of a specific urban culture that differs from country to country, which will need to be identified to allow competitors to take it into account.
Scales: strategy, ideas and projects
The diversity inherent to the conditions, not to say the specific problems of each participating European country, means that three different scales need to be distinguished, ranging from the wider surrounding area to the specific location:
1- Global strategic scale (the scale given to the competitors)
- The metropolitan area (spatial conurbation consisting of autonomous and interlinked urban units) and the city (urban space of activity and habitat with diversity and mixture)
2- Ideas scale (scale used by competitors to define the problems to be resolved)
- The district and its relations with the neighbouring districts
3- Scale of the urban and architectural project (focus of the design process)
- The urban fragment and plots
Information on the sites
These scales correspond to spaces of different sizes, which will need to be defined precisely for each site and on the basis of the contexts provided.
Each Europan 11 site pack will therefore contain three types of information for entrants, corresponding to the three scales:
- The political objectives of the city or conurbation in terms of sustainability (economic, social and cultural) together with the big territorial determinants (networks, usages, density, etc.), whether current or future.
- The specificities of the area where the site is located and the outlines of future evolution.
- The actual project site where operations are likely to occur after the competition, with all the information needed to understand existing conditions and the hoped-for changes.
The objective of Europan is to bring to the fore Europe's young architecture and urban design professionals, and to publicise and develop their ideas. Its objective is also to help cities and developers, which have provided sites to find innovative architectural and urban solutions for the transformation of urban locations. Europan 11 is a European federation of national organisations, which manages architectural competitions followed by building or study projects, launched simultaneously by several countries on common theme, objectives and rules. The open competitions are anonymous and public calls for ideas on a European scale.
Europan 11 is open to any team of young urban and architectural design professionals (architects, urban planners, landscape designers, engineers). Teams may also include young professionals from other disciplines. All candidates must be under 40 years old on the closing date for submission of entries.
From Monday 28 February 2011, every entrant or team has free access to the European's website www.europan-europe.com, where they can download and print the rules, the themes and the synthetic presentations of the sites of the session, classified according to thematic families.
Each team registers on the Web site and makes a payment on line of 100 Euros in order to download a complete file of site in English (and possibly in the language of the country of the site). This includes detailed written documents on the city, the site, its context, and the developers' intentions, as well as plans, photographs, and all visual documents necessary for design work. Each supplementary complete site folder will be charged at the rate of 50 Euros per folder.
Elements to be submitted
The entry is divided in two parts:
One part sent by postal service comprising
. 3 vertical A1 format panels (594 mm x 840 mm)
. a sealed envelope format A4 containing documents revealing the competitors identity and proving that the proposal meets all the qualification requirements
One part sent by Web (from the"Registration" zone of the website)
. 3 vertical A1 format panels, each one in JPEG 3000 pixels wide
. a document of maximum 7 pages in horizontal A3 format, each page in JPEG 3000 pixels high
Judging in each country
A national jury, whose composition - 9 personalities and the substitutes - is published on the Website, examines all the projects entered in its country. The jury meets in two distinct sessions. During the first one, it examines the conformity of the projects in relation to the competition theme, and shortlists a maximum of 20% of the projects entered, for the quality of their ideas. During the second session, the jury examines the short-listed projects in terms of their innovative qualities and suitability to the context into which they are inserted. It thus chooses winning and runner-up projects with prizes and possibly gives a mention to complementary projects. A European forum with the members of the juries and the representatives of sites is organized between the two sessions of judging in order to debate of the short-listed projects in relation with the thematic families of sites.
The winners and runners-up receive a prize of 12,000 and 6,000 Euros (including tax) respectively.
The organisers undertake to publicise all prize-winning entries both nationally and throughout Europe by way of exhibitions, meetings and publications with a European catalogue of all the results.
Europan guarantees to use all necessary means to incite cities and/or planners of sites to entrust the prize-winning teams with operational follow-through.
European Forum of results
To coincide with the closing of the eleventh Europan session, an event is held in April 2012 comprising both an international exhibition of the results, a workshop and debates on the prize-winning entries and their practical feasibility. The winners and runners-up are invited.