A thesis on Paulista Avenue in the Brazilian city of São Paulo was awarded the Manuel de Solà-Morales European Prize in the field of urbanism

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Paulista Avenue in the 1920s and today. Images by Renata Priore Lima

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The architect Renata Priore Lima, upon receiving the Prize, with the members of the jury

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Professor Josep Parcerisa, of the ETSAB, at the award ceremony

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Picture of the second edition of the Manuel de Solà-Morales European Prize in urbanism

Lecture by the architect Marcel Smets at the COAC

Within the framework of the award ceremony of the second edition of the Manuel de Solà-Morales European Prize, at 7 p.m. in the lecture hall of the Official Association of Architects of Catalonia (COAC), the architect and chairman of the Prize, Marcel Smets, gave the lecture “Designing infrastructure to foster revitalization. Barcelona’s tradition of addressing urban projects”. The architect was introduced by Joan Busquets, an architect and a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and a member of the organising committee of the Prize.

The architect Renata Priore Lima, a professor at the Architecture and Urbanism College of São Paulo (Brazil), received the Manuel de Solà-Morales European Prize in urbanism in its second edition for her doctoral thesis “Plugin: interfaces urbanas en los nuevos centros lineales: el caso de la Avenida Paulista”, defended at the UPC. Three additional awards were also given to finalist projects at the award ceremony, which took place on 19 March at the UPC’s Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB).

May 07, 2019

The biennial Manuel de Solà-Morales European Prize offers €7,000 for the best doctoral thesis in the field of urbanism presented at a European university. The Prize is awarded by the Barcelona Urbanism Laboratory (LUB) and is an academic initiative of the UPC’s Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB) in memory of the professor and architect Manuel de Solà-Morales Rubió (1939-2012). He was the founder of the Laboratory, a leading university research centre, and its director from 1968 onwards. Solà-Morales was also a professor at the ETSAB and a master of urban planning, which he understood as a creative intellectual activity for improving the city through “persistent research”.

The doctoral thesis “Plugin: interfaces urbanas en los nuevos centros lineales: el caso de la Avenida Paulista”, by Renata Priore Lima, a professor at the Architecture and Urbanism College of São Paulo (Brazil), was chosen to receive the Prize in its second edition from among seven finalist projects, which were in turn selected from 49 proposals presented by 25 universities in ten European countries.

The thesis was defended at the UPC in December 2016 and supervised by the UPC’s professor of Urbanism Estanislao Roca, a professor at the ETSAB who is linked to the Department of Urbanism and Regional Planning. It analysed the topic of new contemporary urban centralities, which is related to the discussion about collective spaces and the building-city relationship—called “plugin”—, based on the case of Paulista Avenue, which is the epicentre of social life in the city of São Paulo.

The thesis was aimed at discussing and defining the concepts of collective space and linear centrality in Brazilian and European literature on urbanism, while trying to recognise the construction of these ideas in different contexts. It also tried to understand the history and evolution of Paulista Avenue and explained, from a morphological point of view, how the network of collective spaces was shaped and how the Avenue became a supporting centre of the metropolitan structure. In her speech during the award ceremony, Renata Priore Lima mentioned her experience as a doctoral student at the UPC and remembered the late architect Manuel de Solà-Morales.

Three additional awards given
In this second edition of the Prize, three out of the seven finalist projects were also given an award: “The social condenser II. An archaeology of housing in the Parisian banlieue based on the housing projects of Ricardo Bofill and Taller de Arquitectura”, by Anne Kockelkorn, supervised by Professor Philip Ursprung, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH); “La alargada huella de la plaza de la pelota”, by Juan Antonio Chavarri, supervised by Professor Xabier Unzurrunzaga, from the University of the Basque Country; and “Hacia la metamorfosis sintética de la costa. Diseñando paisajes resilientes”, by Miriam García, supervised by María Ezquiaga, from the Technical University of Madrid.

At the award ceremony, which took place at the ETSAB’s Sala de Graus, the architect and the ETSAB’s professor Josep Parcerisa thanked the Solà-Morales family, the sponsors and the academic units for their support. The jury of the Prize was chaired by the architect and urban designer Marcel Smets, an emeritus professor of urban planning at the University of Leuven (Belgium). During the ceremony Smets praised the winning project, highlighting “Renata Priore Lima’s reflection on the concepts of centrality and collective space in a megalopolis like São Paulo”.

The jury also included the architect Matthew Carmona, a professor of urban planning and design at University College London’s Bartlett School of Planning; Montserrat Nogués, an architect and a representative of the Arquia Foundation, one of the sponsors of the Prize; and the architect José González-Cebrián Tello, an honorary professor of urban planning at the University of A Coruña’s School of Architecture in Galicia, as the secretary of the Prize and the representative of the LUB, who praised “the quality of the seven finalist works”.

The ceremony was closed by Joan Busquets, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a member of the organising committee of the Prize, who thanked the jury for their work and said a few words in memory of Manuel Solà-Morales.

The call for the Manuel de Solà-Morales European Prize in urbanism is open to doctoral theses defended at a European university two years before the call that have been awarded the highest mark. This year’s ceremony coincides with the 50th anniversary of the ETSAB’s LUB.