The Herriko Plaza (Town Square) in Mallabia has won the BEM award,
which is a new category this year
Today the jury announced the winners of the 5th Egurtek Awards, which are held within the framework of the International Forum on Architecture and Construction in Wood at Bilbao Exhibition Centre. The awards ceremony will take place at the 8th edition of Egurtek, on 14 and 15 October.
The main goal of Egurtek Awards is to promote wood as a key element in new buildings or space renovation. In this sense, the eight jury members highlighted “the high quality of the projects submitted and the sensitivity shown in the use of the wood in all of them”. A total of 93 projects were entered in six categories. These included Construction (40 ), Interior Design (33), Product Design (15) and Publication (5). In addition, 17 projects were presented in the Basque Quality special awards, and 7 in the new category BEM (Bois/Egurra/Madera).
A wide range of proposals have been entered this year, making it very difficult for the jury to choose the winners. For this reason, runners-ups were also awarded in the Construction and Interior Design categories.
The BEM (Bois/Egurra/Madera) Special Award was given to Herriko Plaza de Mallabia (Town Square in Mallabia) by architects Ane Arce and Iñigo Berasategui. This new category recognises outstanding works promoted by the public administration in the New Aquitaine-Basque Country-Navarre Euroregion. The jury commended this “urban project for enhancing an outstanding space and increasing the value of the local culture”. They also highlighted “the successful, subtle and rigorous execution of all its elements”.
The Local Wood – Basque Quality Award went to Restauración de la torre medieval de la ferrería hidráulica de Ibero (Restoration of the Medieval Tower of the Ibero Finery Forge), by José Luis Franchez. The jury described it as “a flawless intervention in architectural heritage that recovers the original splendour and elegance of the medieval tower”.
The Egurtek 2020 Construction Award was granted to a project called Escuela Infantil A Baiuca (A Baiuca Pre-school) in A Estrada (Pontevedra), by architects Elizabeth Abalo and Gonzalo Alonso. The jury considered this project to be “sound and solid”, and they highlighted the “extraordinary simplicity of the floor plan’s internal distribution”. “It serves as a good example for public administration buildings,” they concluded.
There was also a runner-up in this category – Mi casa en madera (My Timber House) in Lent (Netherlands), by Lidewij Lenders and Marije ter Steege. The jury believes that this project is “an example of good practice” regarding prefabricated timber construction solutions, making homes “cosy, functional and sustainable”.
In the Interior Design category, Catalan architects Joan Casals and José Luis Cisneros won the award for Entre Balcones (Between Balconies) in the Raval neighbourhood in Barcelona. This project aimed to “widen the threshold between the city and houses to create a richer and more ambiguous transition between the privacy of the home and the collective space of the street”.
This category also had a runner-up: Dendaz. This is Basque Design, in Bilbao, by Elisa de los Reyes García and Maé Durant. “An outstanding example of interior design by implementing a modular furniture system,” the jury noted.
The Product Design Award went to Lahu, an elegant folding chair designed by architects Raquel Ares and Iñaki Albistur. According to the jury, it is “an interesting combination of digital and traditional craftsmanship”.
Lastly, the Publication Award was given to Construir con árboles (Building with Trees), an article by architect Lander Uncilla which the jury described as “an impressive summary of the importance of wood in human culture,” written in a “warm, educational and interesting way”.
All submitted works are displayed on the website of the Official Basque-Navarrese Architects Association (COAVN) and on Bilbao Exhibition Centre’s Egurtek website.
The Egurtek Awards jury is led by Matxalen Acasuso, Dean of COAVN, and is made up of José Antonio Barea (UPV/EHU), Javier Cenicacelaya (Infoedita), Oskar Azkarate (Baskegur), Javier García (Bilbao-Bizkaia Design & Creativity Council), Emiliano López (López Rivera Arquitectes), Andoni Díaz (Association of Decorators and Interior Designers of Bizkaia) and Jon Abad (Basque Design Association – EIDE).
Egurtek, the International Forum on Architecture and Construction in Wood, also has a vast programme of activities aimed at professionals in the sector. There will be an exhibiting area, as well as a professional conference and technical workshops organised by Baskegur, with world-renowned architects and interior designers. This International Forum is organised by Bilbao Exhibition Centre, with the collaboration of COAVN and Baskegur – Basque Wood Association, and is sponsored by the Department for Economic Development and Infrastructure of the Basque Government.