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FAD prizes enhance sustainable buildings

The FAD awards are given every year to the best architecture and interior design projects in Spain and Portugal.

Casa Vicens and the CaixaForum of Seville, among the finalists of the 60th edition of the prize.

The FAD Architecture Awards celebrated their 50th anniversary when the crisis broke out. Now 60 years old, at a time when the sector is recovering, the selection of the finalist works remains contained and sustainable, including the refurbishment of Casa Vicens, by Martínez Lapeña y Torres and David García, and the CaixaForum of Seville, by Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra.

REHABILITACIÓ DE LA CASA VICENS by Torres-La Peña. Photo Casa Vicens · Pol Viladoms

“Somehow it is the result of the lessons learned during the crisis, but there is also the general will of society to address the problems and not so much image issues,” says the president of the jury, architect Anna Bach. Although the canopy of the CaixaForum of Seville is striking, the equipment is located in a space that should have been a car park. And Casa Vicens combines restoration with a powerful contemporary intervention.

CENTRO CULTURAL CAIXAFORUM SEVILLA by Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra. Photo Duccio Malagamba / Jesús Granada

Besides these works, the finalists include the new headquarters in Norvento (Lugo), Francisco Mangado. It is a group of laboratories in a rural environment that are disconnected from the electricity grid. “Regardless of the crisis, it is a sign of the times. We have more built cities and countries and now we have to address what already exists,” says Bach.

EDIFICIO DE LA NUEVA SEDE DE NORVENTO by Francisco Mangado. Photo Juan Rodríguez

On the international front, the jury selected the Parliament of Vaud (Switzerland), by Esteve Bonell; a vocational training workshop in Burkina Faso, by Albert Faus, and a school in Orsonnens (Switzerland), by the Mallorcan law firm TEd’A.

CAN PICAFORT by Ted’A Arquitectes. Photo Luís Díaz Díaz

The list of finalists also includes works such as House 1413 in Ullastret, by the Harquitectura office; fourteen social housing units in San Fernando (Formentera), by Carlos Oliver, built with traditional materials, and a house in Arrábida (Portugal), by João Ferras and João Ribeiro.

For Anna Bach, the trend of sustainability and containment, which implies revising in some cases the idea of the personal footprint and promoting social responsibility in the works, is not a generational issue between middle-aged and older people… “Younger architects have experienced these approaches more from the beginning, but I think it’s a question of the times,” she says.

PISCINAS EN LA LAGUNA DE MONTE DO GOZO by Oscar López Alba. Photo Héctor Santos Diez

“Although the crisis is evident in the limited public space and especially in the lack of public housing, which is difficult to find. Perhaps now it is starting to move in some cases, taking up a project that had been stopped”, says Bach about the situation of the sector in view of the selected ones. Among the public space proposals, an intervention by Ramon Bosch and Bet Capdeferro in a street in Carmel Street, Barcelona and a square in Lisbon by José Adrião are noteworthy.

CALLE PLAZA by Bosch-Capdeferro. Photo José Hevia

While the first work takes into account life on the street, the second is not only a recreational space but also connects two neighbourhoods that had been separated. “The finalists are very high quality and very different from each other,” Bachs explains. The conditions for the commissioning of the square were sufficiently open for the architects to propose that it was not necessary to have a square in front of a building but a space connecting two neighbourhoods passing under a viaduct”. As for Bosch and Capdeferro, Bach believes that they have recognised “the values of the neighbourhood and the way of life” very well.

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