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Reconnecting with nature
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NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS RISING STARS: concepts or ideas submitted by young talents (aged 30 or less)
Project title
Full concept/idea title
Climatic prototype for future landscapes

Mediterranean landscape is transformed by centuries of human activity, natural balance not longer exists. Our culture must adapt to extreme heat and drought and learn from those places we will become. Comfort will come from deconstructing the spaces we inhabit, incorporating natural cycles that we waste.

Valle is a prototype for public spaces, an installation that generates comfort by collecting humidity and that shows the functioning of our territory through hypernatural exaggeration.

What is the geographical scope of your concept/idea?
Mediterranean regions transforming into semi-arid (BSh) and arid climate (BWh)
Mediterranean regions transforming into semi-arid (BSh) and arid climate (BWh)
Does your concept/idea address mainly urban or rural issues?
It addresses urban-rural linkages
Does your concept/idea refer to a physical transformation of the built environment or other types of transformations?
It refers to a physical transformation of the built environment ('hard investment')
Has your concept/idea benefited from EU programmes and/or funds?
Has your concept/idea won an EU prize?
How did you hear about the New European Bauhaus Prizes ?
Word of mouth (colleagues, friends …)
On whose behalf are you submitting the application?
As an individual
Please provide a summary of your concept/ idea

Our whole planet is transformed and affected by hundreds of years of human activity, direct & indirectly. We’ve to be more aware of our actions or the lack of them, as the dynamic natural equilibrium is totally altered. The awareness and knowledge of our environment are necessary to understand the new conditions and adaptations to realize over a totally anthropic land, so we must look and learn from those places that we will become.

Droughts and rising temperatures will increase the heat island effect in cities, achieving thermal comfort for citizens without adding energetic consumption is related to the deconstruction of the streets, squares and spaces we inhabit, incorporating the local natural cycles that we now ignore, hide or waste: the collection of rainwater, atmospheric vapor, the evapotranspiration of plants, the generation of topographic microclimates, etc.

Vale is a prototype of a street, square or park space, an installation that generates comfort thanks to the collection of humidity through the topography and a fog catcher. It's also a pedagogical element, which tries to explain the functioning of our environment through the senses, reproducing a piece of territory in a reduced, accessible space. Vale seeks to increase the sensations of the Mediterranean ambient so that the population can understand and feel this specific territorial configuration.

The installation, realized as an art internship in Konvent (Barcelona), is an 80cm wide and 9m long path that descends 1 m in the central part. The excavated soil is piled up on the sides, building reed terraces that resemble cultivation patches. A fog-catching structure, like the ones used in coastal arid regions, is placed at the top of the mountains. This system generates a microclimate through the humidity gradient. The accumulation of water in the bottom of the installation is sought through the topography, the evapotranspiration of the plants and the collection of water through the fog trap.

Please indicate the main themes of your concept/idea with 5 key words
Natural processes
Public space
Ecological performance
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of environmental sustainability (including circularity) and how these would be met.
Please highlight how the concept/idea can be exemplary in this context

In order to expose the presented terms related to Vale prototype I may refer to Elizabeth K. Mayer “Sustaining Beauty. The performance of appearance” article, which was the main theoretical inspiration for the project.

The 3 main pillars of Sustainability: Ecological health, social justice and economic prosperity, generate a series of ethics that inter-relates each aspect. Sustainability has a global interpretation derived from globalization, but is mainly particular, each place has it’s own challenges and characteristics. In terms of ecology we must embrace our duty as gardeners, know and deal with the threats of our habitats. Vale proposes a mixture of plants that performance in multiple aspects that we can benefit: food, sensory appreciation, freshness, shadow, etc. while we offer them the optimal sun, water and soil condition. Horticultural species have been placed on the lower terrace: parsley, cabbages, spinach, endives, those that were in season at the time of planting. On the upper terrace, aromatic and medicinal species native to the understory have been planted: sage, thyme, rue and honeysuckle to colonize the fog catcher.

The project was built using more labour force than the cost of the materials itself. Orienting projects in reduction and proximity of materials used, dedicating more time to design and execute not only reduces carbon footprint but also can generate job places, awareness about the site and is the only option to stop resources overexploitation. Vale also is projected with time and natural processes, embracing the unexpected. The reeds for the terraces were obtained from the edges of the fields and certain areas of the riverside, traditional cutting tools were used to tear each reed in multiple parts to be easily braided. This material biodegrades after a few years, once the vegetation is installed.

Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of aesthetics and quality of experience beyond functionality and how these would be met.
Please highlight how the concept/idea can be exemplary in this context

Ethics generated by sustainability influence art, culture and aesthetics, we no longer appreciate certain manifestations if they imply environmental harm. Sustainable design must go beyond functionality, and must perform also socially and culturally. In the pre-industrial era our festivities, our calendar was linked to natural and productive cycles: harvest, blossoming, planting, flooding, etc. Beauty appears when we experience and recognize the connections between a landscape -natural and particular- and our ethics influenced culture and aesthetics.

Vale is designed recognizing this cultural and ecological experience; it is a process, a dynamic particular performance. When the visitor walks down the narrow path, they will notice their legs in shade and surrounded by vegetation and humidity, while keeping their heads sunny and warm. This gradient explains the functioning of the Mediterranean valleys: the peaks most exposed to the sun and the wind, with less vegetation, the terraced landscape to achieve full benefit of the water and the bottom where the river runs. The vegetation changes over the year and depending on the terrace.

The Vale prototype is an attempt to exaggerate and concentrate a natural element of the environment in a reduced, accessible space, also known as hypernature. Like Olmsted built parks that explain the vast and virgin north American territory, or Capability Brown configured the bucolic pastoral gardens for the aristocracy in Britain, Vale seeks to increase the sensations of the Mediterranean ambient so that the population can understand and feel this specific territorial configuration.

It is also the beginning of a line of research on the pedagogy of public space and knowledge of the local environment. The city has the capacity to have spaces that reproduce and use, to explain them, processes, natural distributions, the consequences of human transformations and their particular and local socio-economic landscapes.

Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of inclusion (equal opportunities, public participation, citizen engagement, co-design, universal design, accessibility, affordability, etc.) and how these would be met.
Please highlight how the concept/idea can be exemplary in this context

With industrialization and the rural exodus, society began a distancing from metabolism and natural cycles. These processes were supplied by engineering looking for a supposed efficiency and hygiene that allowed human growth and agglomeration. The paradigms of degrowth and naturalization of cities returns us to the need to reconnect with nature. We must recover certain forgotten knowledge and introduce it back into society to achieve communion with the environment.

The first and constant step is pedagogy, us, technicians and scientist, must help society recover and improve shared nature knowledge, which is the common base for every citizen regardless of our differences. By working with natural materials that are not fully monetized every person can take responsibility, join each other and help making their cities and villages more sustainable and green.

Vale prototype is a public space that may be designed by technicians with specific formation, but transformed and conquered by nature -and people as part of it-.

Please explain how these three dimensions would be combined in your concept/idea.
Please highlight how this approach can be exemplary

Vale is meant to be a prototype of a performative public space, a biodiversity node that we take care of, which generates food, thermal comfort, and connects us with our own nature and the landscape we inhabit. As explained before, sustainability aesthetics and ethics, like human rights, it’s infiltrating in our culture and art. Designing a space that improves a habitat, enhances life, and that uses local, nature or easy manufactured materials, is a prori a space that society can adopt and that responds to our actual challenge as a species.

Like botanical and palace gardens were a crucial in scientific investigation, gather knowledge and also worked as exceptionally beauty public spaces where the visitor could travel without moving, nowadays public spaces must help recovering the lost link between nature and humans.

Please highlight the innovative character of the concept/idea as compared to mainstream practices in the field of the concept/idea.

Actual practices in landscape still tend to build with hard and processed materials things that could be realized with soft and biological media. Also projects normally are designed focusing in solving certain city functional problems and tend to obviate cultural or landscape culture reference. For instance plant and material selection for a project normally is selected in particular terms of intensity of use, shadowing, colour, height strata, seasonality, etc. lacking a global vision of the intervention. If this choices are linked with the local resources, with the appreciated landscapes that surround us and are in the common imaginary, if we try to generate links and symbiosis between local culture, history and ecology, explaining how each part works -it’s processes- and relates, then we generate much richer, vibrant, resilient places.

Vale prototype is a callout and a self-reminder of the need to generate holistic projects, to amplify benefits and positive impact of an intervention wasting minimum resources.

Please detail the general plans that you have for the further development, promotion and/or implementation of your concept/idea.

These ideas are the common ground of my practice, a how-to guide for developing every public space project in a holistic way. Prototypes are an easy and pleasurable way of expressing ideas but the problem is transferring them to bigger projects and civil liability. The main issue about developing these ideas is fighting against city councils and strict normative, they assume new paradigms at a slower pace than the actual needs, as they are responsible and have to deal with citizen complaints.

Further desired development would be creating a new prototype full dimension in Barcelona’s dry south-oriented hillsides, which can be scientifically measured in climatic terms and where new planting and fog harvesting can be tested, and where it can be integrated and enjoyed by neighbours. The climate of Barcelona is expected to be in 2070 like the actual Marrakesh coastal region (Bsh) warm semi-arid in Koppen climate classification. Looking and learning from the cultural and landscape adaptations that they’ve developed in that and similar regions is a way of anticipation for the actual and future climatic challenges.

Imagine that your idea/concept is awarded in the New European Bauhaus Prizes 2022. What kind of initiatives would you take throughout the following year (June 2022- June 2023)

Contact with scientific climate and botanic specialists to gather information and advice, as well as with Barcelona City Council in order to search for possible locations for a prototype in a public space.

By ticking this box, you declare that you are not in in one or more of the exclusion situations foreseen under Article 136 of the Financial Regulation.
By ticking this box, you declare that all the information provided in this form is factually correct, that you assume sole liability in the event of a claim relating to the activities carried out in the framework of the contest, that the proposed concept/idea has not been proposed for the New European Bauhaus Prizes 2022 in any other category or strand and that it has not been subject to any type of investigation, which could lead to a financial correction because of irregularities or fraud.
By submitting your application, you guarantee that you are the author or have the rights to proceed with the application and to authorise the use of the project, concept, idea, and that you have obtained any necessary consents, licenses or assignments from third parties and included copyright notices when necessary.
By submitting your application, you understand that all the applications that meet the eligibility requirements will be shared for the purposes of the selection processes, and notably published on the secured platform and for the purposes of the promotion of these on the New European Bauhaus website and/or other European Commission communication channels. In this sense, the applications would be widely available. Applicants should ensure that they present their ideas, concepts, projects, in such a way that they could be shared without giving rise to intellectual property related concerns. If your submission is selected as one of the finalists, it will additionally be shared for the purpose of the public vote that will take place. The European Union is granted a licence to use and share your application with the general public and the official external experts for the purposes of the selection process, including the voting. The European Union has the right to use the images and visual materials and the description provided in the application for communication purposes related to the contest and beyond. Rights granted comprise the right to store, reproduce, display, publish and communicate or distribute copies in electronic or digital format, including, but not only, through the internet. Unless you have disclosed your name, the European Commission has no obligation to share your name when using or disseminating your contribution to the public. The European Union cannot be held responsible in case any submitted idea, project, concept is found to infringe third parties rights. The European Union shall be neither responsible for the use that third parties may do of the applications or related content.


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