Friday, 29. 6. 2012

Urban public space 2012

From 347 projects submitted from 36 European countries, the City of Ljubljana's project for the 'Refurbishment of the Banks and the Bridges of the River Ljubljanica' has won the European Prize for Urban Public Space 2012.

On Friday 29 June 2012 at the Centre of Contemporary Culture in Barcelona, the Prize was handed to City of Ljubljana Deputy Mayor Prof Janez Koželj by Deputy Mayor of Barcelona for Urban Habitat Antoni Vives i Tomas.

The aim of the European Prize for Urban Public Space is to encourage and recognise the process of renovating and reviving public open spaces in Europe, as well as their capacity for social inclusion and democracy-building in our cities. For the seventh year running, the prize was awarded by the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona – CCCB) in co-organisation with six European cultural institutions (Architecture Foundation of London (AF), Architekturzentrum Wien (Az W), la Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine of Paris (la Cité), Suomen Rakennustaiteen Museo of Helsinki (SRM), Nederlands Architectuurinstituut of Rotterdam (NAi) and Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM)).

In the jury’s opinion, the ‘Renovation of the banks and bridges of the River Ljubljanica’ project entirely meets the criteria specified, as it creates a unified public space that enables total accessibility. The refurbished banks along the Ljubljanica along with five bridges either renovated or newly emplaced connect all the river embankments and key points in the city centre. In this way, the River Ljubljanica ensures that the city centre is sufficiently attractive for the preservation and development of quality public life. In his project presentation, Deputy Mayor Prof Koželj stressed its complexity and placed it in the context of the vision for the sustainable transformation of the city, as foreseen in the City of Ljubljana's new spatial plan and transport strategy. The recognisable image of the enlivened banks of the Ljubljanica is not based on the repetition of the same elements, but in accordance with the unified principles of public space design that best act as a catalyst of spatial, social and commercial revival of the city centre, particularly city tourism.

In the words of the Secretary of the European Prize for Urban Public Space 2012 David Bravo i Bordas, the reconfiguration of the banks of the River Ljubljanica is clearly identifiable as the fruit of common efforts by diverse Slovene implementers and authors, who through the skilful use of available resources and via the optimisation of co-operation in the realisation of project objectives grasp “the humanistic dreams of architect Jože Plečnik and enable their continuity”. Rok Žnidaršič, one of the architects participating in the project, stressed adherence to principles of historical continuity, which link the renovated banks of the Ljubljanica and the squares connected to it.

The authors of the 'Renovation of the Banks and Bridges of the River Ljubljanica' project are Boris Podrecca, ATELIER ARCHITECTS (Jurij Kobe, Špela Kokalj, Maja Kovačič, Urša Podlipnik, Ljuba Dalla Valle, Jakov Brdar, Nataša Blažko, Tanja (Bojc) Paulin, Tomaž Habič), URBI (Saša Dalla Valle, Tea Fink), BB ARCHITECTS (Breda Bizjak), STUDIO VOZLIČ (Vesna Vozlič Košir, Matej Vozlič), DANS architects (Miha Dešman, Katarina Pirkmajer Dešman, Eva Fišer Berlot), THREE ARCHITECTS (Andrej Mercina, Ksenija Intihar, Nina Juratovec, Nika Svetina), MEDPROSTOR (Jerneja Fischer Knap, Rok Žnidaršič, Samo Mlakar).

The jury awarded this year's first prize jointly to two projects. In addition to Ljubljana, the prize was also awarded to Barcelona for a project to restore a tourist path on a hilltop site at Turo de la Rovira, which features remnants from the Spanish Civil War, and special prizes were also awarded to the cities of Malmo, Nantes, Madrid and London. The common denominator of this year's submitted projects was the role of architectural interventions in the urban public space intended to visually and socially transform cities. In the words of jury president Josep Llinas, this year's projects were strongly varied in terms of investment volumes and their impact. In their evaluations, the jury paid particular attention to the extent that the projects contributed to the quality of life.