The Secretary of State of Infrastructures presents the Construction Arts and the Driehaus International Architecture Competition Awards

At the same time, an exhibition showcasing the work of the winners in both categories has opened and will be open to the public at the Arches of the New Ministries

Madrid, 12/06/19


On Wednesday, the Driehaus Architecture Competition and the Construction Arts Awards ceremony took place, presented by the promoter of both initiatives, US philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus, and with the presence of the Secretary of State of Infrastructures, Transport and Housing, Pedro Saura García.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Driehaus remembered Donald Gray, recently deceased, winner of the Manzano Prize and member of the jury of both initiatives: “He will be missed. But his strong spirit lives on in these awards, inasmuch as they continue the tradition that he defended so well.” He added: “It’s a pleasure for me to honor our master artisans and urban designers. Their efforts are essential for the preservation of heritage. A platform upon which we can build our future.”

The first to be honored were the winners of the Building Arts Awards, whose purpose is to recover and revalue disciplines on the verge of extinction due to the abandonment of old trades in favor of standardized products. The winners in the four categories were: master Anna Santolaria in glassmaking; Lluc Mir from Mallorca, specialist in the construction of dry stone walls; Miguel Ángel Balmaseda from Écija in the category of woodwork; and Luis Prieto from León, master in stuccos and natural pigments, in the decorative finishing category. All of them expressed their gratitude for the visibility these awards are giving to trades nearly forgotten, but nonetheless essential for the preservation of heritage.

Next, the Driehaus Architecture Competition awards were presented. This competition was created with the purpose of helping the recovery of traditional architecture in Spain. The locations selected this year were Olite (Navarra) and Béjar (Salamanca). This competition becomes a great opportunity for municipalities that have been unable to afford the rehabilitation of their spaces.

First to receive their award were architects Abelardo Linares and Elena Jiménez for their proposal “Béjar before the mirror”. This ambitious project interconnects the existing urban fabric in an attempt to reinvigorate the environment and creates a new residence around a patio crowned by galleries inspired by the Béjar tradition.

After them, the team of architects comprised of Xavier and Lucía Espinós Bermejo, Estefanía Fernández-Cid and Rodrigo Toro received their prize for ‘Cerquo’. This attractive project for the new building at the Plaza del Fosal incorporates the typical construction characteristics of the area without detracting from the prominence of the adjacent temple. Both winners thanked the jury for selecting their projects.
Finally, Richard H. Driehaus stated: “All the winners are an inspiration to me. An important bridge between the past and the present. I hope that winning this award will encourage you to persevere in the continuation of Spanish architectural traditions”.

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After the ceremony, the exhibition of some of the works of the winning artisans was opened, and will remain open from June 13 until July 28 at the Arches of the New Ministries, thanks to the support from the Ministry of Development.