19th Ascer Tile of Spain Awards winners announced

by Ofentse Sefolo
19th Ascer Tile of Spain Awards winners announced

Spain’s leading tile awards aim to recognise and award excellence in Spanish tile materials used in architecture and interior design, both locally and abroad. This prestigious event for professionals from the world of architecture recently announced the winners of the 19th Tile of Spain Awards via an online awards ceremony.

The judges were all in agreement that the first prize in the architecture category should be awarded to Casa Ter, a detached home in the La Bisbal area by Mesura Architects’ Studio. The first prize in the interior design category was awarded to Arantxa Manrique Arquitectes for Atlantis Gastrobar, an eatery where ceramic tiles play a predominant role.

And finally, in the end-of-degree project category, which is aimed at architecture students, the project singled out for the first prize was “Proposal for a centre for unaccompanied under-age immigrants” by Andrea Puebla Yubero from CEU San Pablo University in Madrid.

1. Architecture category
Award winner: Casa Ter (Rupià, Girona) by Mesura
Photos: Mesura and Salva López

Ceramic genius represents Mediterranean life
Based on the principles of a physical and cultural respect for the local area, a decision was taken to create a house made of ceramic materials (and, in specific places, concrete), since ceramic is one of the most widely used materials in the La Bisbal area. The house is designed with a large and long section made of ceramic materials, which acts as a joint, linking the house’s two volumes. At the same time, it is designed to stretch across the plot, creating three separate spaces.

The same tiles are also used on the walls, serving as an expansion joint for the one-coat render (whose texture imitates aged walls, using pebbles from River Ter) and as a boundary between the wall, windows and other openings in the wall.

This whole section is paved with handmade terracotta floor tiles, laid in rows. This part of the house is intended to contain its more “public” areas, whatever the time of the year. In this case, the tiled floor is its most important feature, embodying what we understand to represent Mediterranean life.

The house’s horizontal composition has been designed to give the impression of a house that rests on the land. The windows fit in with the horizontal lines of the handmade tiles on the facade and with the size of the tiles.

The jury praised the versatile use given to one single material, in positions and functions of all kinds, lending the project a discrete yet rich appeal. They also highlighted the reinterpretation of a traditional material in a context in which the home revitalises the landscape and its surroundings.

2. Interior design category
Award winner: Atlantis Gastrobar by Arantxa Manrique Arquitectes
Photos: Adriá Goula

Ceramic mystery
Atlantis Gastrobar, situated in the Sant Antoni district of Barcelona, is a small 20m² bar which was conceived to be a contemporary eatery, with certain reminiscences of the district’s small fresh-food shops. It opens onto the street, drawing people’s attention with its radical formal and aesthetic design. Its image conjures up the sea, the mythical island of Atlantida, its god Poseidon and his famous trident.

The challenge in terms of the architecture and interior design was to give a unique, modern twist to the interiors and facade of such a small bar, while also optimising the space to enhance the culinary experience through attention to finer details.

The modular facade is divided into three sections. The first is for entering or exiting Atlantis Gastrobar, while the other two above the concrete bench visually link the interiors and the exterior, connecting its indoor dining and outdoor street areas. The open metal windows (custom designed for the project) also create secluded areas for customers.

Inside, in the style of an old fish shop, it is presided over by a semi-circular bar, clad in navy blue glazed half-round tiles, while the rest of Atlantis Gastrobar is tiled in white. The bar’s wave-like shape means that optimum advantage can be taken of the available space, creating a balance between the work/food-handling area and the dining area.

By altering the angle of the back wall, space was also gained for a toilet for people with reduced mobility, in addition to a second sink area and more storage.

The jury admired how ceramic materials were used as a star feature of the whole project. By taking advantage of ceramic tiles for this small space, a setting with a refreshing, timeless appeal was achieved.

3. End-of-degree project category
Award winner: “Proposal for a centre for unaccompanied under-age immigrants” by Andrea Puebla Yubero, from Ceu San Pablo University in Madrid.

Ceramic safe haven
In the category for architecture students, with a monetary prize of €5 000, the jury awarded the first prize to Andrea Puebla Yubero from CEU San Pablo University in Madrid for his project titled “Proposal for a centre for unaccompanied under-age immigrants”.

With the migratory crisis, there has been an exponential rise in the number of unaccompanied under-age immigrants arriving in Europe. Given the said situation, this project aspired to come up with strategies to foster harmonious social relations.

An analysis was made of the scenario in Madrid, where the centres that first take in these immigrants have trebled their permitted capacity, and a summary was made of the main problems:
• Over-capacity conditions, street vandalism.
• Deliberate fostered dislike.
• The risk of exclusion due to inadequate professional training.

In the light of this situation, three goals were posed:
1. To achieve the young immigrants’ integration into the local neighbourhood.
2. To create a safe haven for them, which is thus easy to control.
3. To design a training programme based on participation in construction processes and the use of flexible systems.

This is where ceramic materials play a prime role by helping to achieve these three goals, thus contributing to the group’s personal and professional development and to the architecture’s integration into the existing urban fabric.

The housing units simulate a small village, protected by areas with public functions, directly linked to the city. The chosen building systems are always based on small-format materials that can be worked on in the workshop under controlled conditions.

The facades can be varied in multiple different ways during both the construction phase and their useful life. Because a ventilated facade is a non-load bearing system, custom-designed panels can be created in the workshop – for example, a louvre system to filter views of city, easily reproducible extruded ceramic tiles or 3D interplay through steel bars inserted between bricks.

The roofs and paved areas are made of porcelain tile materials, customisable through their composition or the pre-construction process in the workshop. The tiles can be mounted in groups by using steel baskets to allow water to drain away or by using flexible adhesives so that they are easier to move.

In summary, the project aims to seek a solution to a hostile reality, coming up with an alternative approach through a symbiosis between architecture and the unaccompanied under-age immigrants.

The jury was impressed by the invention of a new form of “impluvium”, going one step beyond traditional Mediterranean impluvium courtyard homes. Not only have ceramic materials been used in a sensitive, well considered, imaginative way – they are also an intrinsic part of the project and a fundamental factor in its expressive capacity.

The Tile of Spain Awards have a monetary prize of €17 000 in the architecture and interior design categories, and €5 000 in the end-of-degree project category.

The awards are sponsored by ICEX, Endesa and the Valencia Port Authority. The judging panel included Javier Villar Ruiz (of KKAA), Daria de Seta (Garcés-de Seta-Bonet Arquitectes), Jordi Ayala-Bril (Arquitectura-G), Izaskun Chinchilla and Lázaro Rosa-Violán.

For more information, visit www.tileofspainawards.com.

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