Prize to the Public Space

From Elche to Marsella


Although the management difficulties involved in any kind of urban transformation are sometimes unsurpassable, at other times public space serves as material for the undertaking of extraordinary projects directed at serving the citizenry. Recognizing and honoring these projects is the aim of the European Prize for Public Urban Space, awarded by seven Europe-based institutions led by the Centre de Cultura Contemporània in Barcelona. The eighth edition since the year 2000 has resulted in two first prizes and four special mentions out of twenty-five finalists.

While the two main awards distinguish two Mediterranean works – the redevelopment of the Vieux-Port of Marseille by Foster + Partners with landscape architects Michel Desvigne Paris (see Arquitectura Viva 154) and the intervention at the bed of the river Vinalopó in Elche by Grupo Aranea – the four mentions are geographically dispersed, from the opening of the Rainham Marshes in the United Kingdom to the footbridge and arcade of La Lira Theater in Ripol (see Arquitectura Viva 136), besides the Islamic cemetery in Altach, Austria, and the Baaba project, a corridor for cyclists and pedestrians in Helsinki.

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