Urretxu-Irimo, ES | 2013

Europan 12 –  Urretxu-Irimo, ES

International competition
March – June 2013
Basque Country, Spain


The competition

Europan is a biennial competition for young architects under 40 to propose innovative urban design solutions for sites in towns and cities across Europe, encouraging participants to address each site’s  broader socio-economic context and its transitions. It offers the opportunity for cross-disciplinary collaborations among the architects, developers, and local authorities involved.

Launched in 2013, Europan 12 focused on the “Adaptable City”. Within this thematic framework, the sites proposed reflected the radical transformations currently faced by Europe’s cities. Cities are in need to urgently reduce their ecological footprint to help resolve the energy crisis, combat the greenhouse effect, and preserve nonrenewable resources. This transformation applies both to their morphology (form) and to their metabolism (including all energy expenditure), and is highly dependent on the lifestyles they provide.


Our work

UT team
Project leader – Yiorgos Papamanousakis
Project consultant – Felipe Lanuza Rilling
Associates – Natalia Stepanova, Laura Narvaez, Maider Uriarte Idiazabal

Urretxu-Itimo is a small town located in the Basque Country, Spain. Part of the ‘From Mono-Large to Multi-Mix’ category, the problematic of this site concerns the transition from a place dominated by a single main use and function to a diverse urban area made up of a multitude of smaller parts bringing together different functions and uses.

The project conceived by UT aimed to reactivate the site’s derelict post-industrial landscape, into a vibrant urban area, re-connected to the city, and functioning as a new urban hub of activity for its residents and visitors alike. The proposal transformed a linear hermetic block into a spine of interconnected open spaces where different uses and functions could thrive. The programme consisted of public parks, housing units, commercial space, educational and research facilities, pedestrian and cycling routes, as well as the reconversion of a listed building, now disused, into a market hall.

The proposal envisaged the project’s full development in 4 phases over a time span of 15 years; the first key interventions aimed to trigger a subsequent community-led regeneration of the site that would have been then accompanied and enhanced with 3 further interventions gradually phased in. Hence, more than an urban design project we proposed an urban regeneration strategy activated and directed by the local community.

For the full proposal, please CLICK HERE (pdf in English)