The Basque Country Architecture Institute and the Arc en Rêve centre in Bordeaux create the European Collective Housing Award

The Basque Country Architecture Institute and the Arc en Rêve centre in Bordeaux create the European Collective Housing Award


  • This new international award promoted by both entities has been announced, which will seek to highlight this type of housing as a sign of identity of an entire continent.
  • It will be a biannual competition that aims to become an observatory of collective housing architecture in Europe, promoted by the Basque Government’s Department of Territorial Planning, Housing and Transport.
  • The finalist buildings in the four categories in each call for entries, both public and private, will form part of a collective exhibition that will be shown at the headquarters of the two organising bodies, in San Sebastian and Bordeaux.
  • The presentation is part of the Basque Country International Architecture Biennial Mugak/, which this afternoon will conclude its fourth edition with a round table with the participation of three members of the Advisory Committee of this new award.

Collective housing in Europe is a housing model that involves a domestic and community culture; a good that in turn marks the identity of the entire continent. It is also a social and cultural integrating element. In order to highlight its value, the collaboration between the Basque Country Architecture Institute and the Arc en Rêve architecture centre in Bordeaux has given rise to the European Collective Housing Award, an international award that will seek to reward residential building developments.

The initiative was announced within the framework of the Basque Country International Architecture Biennial Mugak/, which closed its fourth edition with a round table with the participation of three experts in this field: Aurora Fernández Per (journalist and founder of a+t architecture publishers), Bernard Blanc (Mies van der Rohe award winner and member of the Bordeaux City Council) and Carmen Imbernón (general secretary of Europan Spain), who together with Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani, former director of the German Museum of Architecture in Frankfurt and former professor of History and Urban Design at the ETH Zurich, make up the Advisory Board of the Award.

“Collective housing is something that may seem obvious here, but outside Europe it is not so obvious; it is, together with public space and historical heritage, one of the three great signs of European urban identity, a highly valuable way of making a city and bringing society together”, said the Basque Government’s Deputy Minister for Housing, Pedro Jauregui, whose department is promoting the new award.

The European Collective Housing Award will be a biannual competition that aims to become an observatory of the architecture of this type of housing in Europe. “At a time when access to housing has definitively become the crossroads of different economic, social and environmental problems, as well as a quality indicator of the greater or lesser efficiency of states and public authorities, collective housing, and in particular public housing, should be vindicated as a sign of European identity that combines social awareness and socio-economic and environmental urban balance”, said the director of the Basque Institute of Architecture, José Ángel Medina.

For his part, the director of the Arc en Rêve architecture centre in Bordeaux, Fabrizio Gallanti, said that “Europe has a long tradition of collective housing, which must be highlighted, as it is the formula that guarantees social cohesion and a contained urban development that avoids the excessive consumption of land and the ‘étalement urbain’ generated by the unbridled production of single-family housing”.

The award is intended to recognise innovative public and private collective housing developments that represent “the values of a new, environmentally responsible sociability that makes the city”. It is an honorary award aimed at all the parties involved in the process of creating housing, from architecture professionals to the people who live in them, as well as experts in the construction, development and design sectors.

Four categories will be awarded: ‘Best New Private Initiative Collective Housing Development’, ‘Best New Public Initiative Collective Housing Development’, ‘Best Private Initiative Collective Housing Development resulting from the refurbishment or transformation of existing buildings’ and ‘Best Public Initiative Collective Housing Development resulting from the refurbishment or transformation of existing buildings’. The finalist developments will form part of a collective exhibition that will be shown at the headquarters of the two promoters, in San Sebastian and Bordeaux.

Dwellings built in the 46 countries that make up the Council of Europe may be submitted. The complete rules will be published on January.

To set up the Award, an Advisory Committee has been formed, made up of the four internationally recognised experts mentioned above, and a jury will be set up to identify and assess the excellence of the different developments.

About the Basque Country Architecture Institute 

The Basque Country Architecture Institute focuses on bringing architecture closer to the public and encouraging debate on architecture, urban planning, landscape and design. The centre is promoted by the Department of Territorial Planning, Housing and Transport of the Basque Government with the collaboration of the Department of Culture, Cooperation, Youth and Sports of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa.

About Arc en Rêve

Arc en Rêve is a project that has been running in Bordeaux since 1981. Through exhibitions, conferences, workshops and experiments, its aim is to build a shared architectural culture and carry out awareness-raising actions in the fields of architecture, the city, landscape and design. Its programme, with international reference and local involvement, awakens interest in architecture, invites creation and opens the eyes of citizens to the changing world.