Extract from the presentation of Belén Moneo as president of the jury of the 2017 FAD awards:
It has been an honor and a great responsibility to be the president of the Jury of this year's FAD awards. The journey has been intense since the first day in February, when we faced the 435 projects presented. The members of the jury have been honored to analyze the X-ray of Spanish architecture and to visit many fantastic projects. In short, it has been, for all of us, a great learning trip that has reaffirmed our commitment to work and architecture.
As a jury, we agreed on the importance of strengthening the pre-existences, -cultural, historical and social- preconditions, emphasizing that constructed objects are capable of consolidating parts of the city, improving its identity, its relationship with the urban fabric and with society.
Many of the works presented had elongated in time, but we discovered that this circumstance did not detract from its final quality, on the contrary, perhaps because the decision making process was slower, the superfluous and the excessive was eliminated.
Despite the times of shortage, the ingenuity in the solutions became sharpened. The finalist projects stand out for their innovation in multiple senses: new typologies, technical solutions, morphologies and creation of cultural and architectural values.
In 110 Rooms (Finalist Architecture), a wise re-reading of the party wall residential buildings of the Cerdá development offers a novel typology. A plan resolved with intelligence, where a set of rooms hinged to each other, without needing aisles, allows future versatility in their uses and redistributions.
In a former working-class cooperative, the sala Beckett (Finalist Architecture) puts in value the historical patina of the building, converted with imagination to the new use, establishing a dialogue between the contemporary intervention and the rehabilitation of the existing, thus enhancing the scenic use of the building, now a theater.
The absence of lyricism in the Museum of Royal Collections (Architecture Prize) offers a rotund space, free of details, precise and exciting, capable of preserving the flow of history as well as setting an image of its time.
At Alcázar Genil metro station (Finalist City and Landscape), we appreciate how architects are able to identify the beauty of the ground material discovered during the construction process and masterfully manages to incorporate it into the final project.
In the Restoration of the Fossar Vell (Finalist City and Landscape), a delicate and minimal intervention in a small sacred area of the eighteenth century; recognizes, observes and enhances cultural identity through the application of clear and precise criteria that indicate the different stages of growth of the enclosure.
In the rehabilitation of Joan Oliver Park (City and Landscape Award), the refusal to use a pavement, and therefore a geometry, will give flexibility and freedom to the proposal, freeing it from all hierarchy and unnecessary formal excesses.
In Pontejos 9 (Prize Interior Design), architects assume a sort of creative archeology as the design process, reassigning values to found objects and fixing them in one place, building a new support for a material history of the neighborhood.
The Commemorative Columns of the 30 Years of the Reconstruction of the Barcelona Pavilion (Ephemeral Interventions Prize) offers a second material life to sheet metal cans, turning them into a beautiful object without losing the memory of their previous life.
Several of the finalists propose a profound reading of the legacy of the past and, therefore, dealing, implementing and innovating with the temporal factor, one of the intrinsic components of architecture. A time factor understood and used in several senses: recovering positive aspects of the past and at the same time proposing a committed future, from a clear awareness of the present situation, experimenting with the form and the new notions of ornamentation.
Many works stand out for the balance achieved between the resources and the good work of the architect, where an economy of synthesis is solved with an applied knowledge of the profession, with craft, with experience.
Finally, we would like to congratulate all the professionals of the sector who continue to exercise this beautiful and necessary discipline of architecture with responsibility and dedication, increasingly dedicated to the construction of works that improve the lives of its inhabitants and therefore of society. No doubt, the selected works prove it.
Belén Moneo, July 6th 2017