An open international ideas contest has been held to design a new contemporary vernacular building in Mijas Costa.
Under the banner of ‘Costa del Sprawl’, architects, designers and students from around the world were invited to explore different themes they feel define the area and offer an alternative perspective on leftover spaces and abandoned structures.
The contest aims to reshape the future of architecture and planning along the Costa del Sol and shortlisted proposals will feature in an exhibition that will be held in the Casa de Cultura, in La Cala de Mijas, from Friday 15 September until Monday 9 October.
The Costa del Sprawl, organised by Estudio ESSE, is a continuation of an ongoing project that looks at the architecture and urbanism of parts of the Costa del Sol, in particular how the design of an area impacts on the life of the diverse local population.
Last year’s project focused on an abandoned concrete structure in Riviera del Sol and an exhibition of the entries was held on site. This year’s theme is identity and participants were asked to imagine a building, fragment of a building, or a space that can act as a precedent for contemporary vernacular architecture specific to the area of Riviera del Sol.
Vernacular architecture, also known as folk, popular and traditional architecture, is an architectural style that reflects local traditions and is designed based on local needs and availability of construction materials.
Sam Eadington, of Estudio ESSE, is currently studying in the Netherlands in order to obtain his Master’s degree in architecture.
Sam won a scholarship from the West Yorkshire Society of Architects with last year’s project, and this year he has proposed an undeveloped plot of open land overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, between Calle Jose Rivero and Calle Severiano Ballesteros.
“By using the half-built structures and open spaces that are already there, we could put a bit of life into the area. It doesn’t have to be a huge investment; you just need a bit of imagination,” Sam told SUR in English.
More than 200 ideas were submitted before the entry date expired and the organisers have received some “quite quirky designs”, using all sorts of materials. These include children’s play areas, shops, cafes, bars and even a crematorium.
“They range from the very imaginative and a bit sci-fi, to allotments and parks with viewing towers, so we have a good range,” architect Ecaterina Stefanescu, Sam’s partner, explained.
“We just want to show that there are possibilities and there are people with ideas. We would like the town hall and owners of these half-built structures to give it some thought, sort of sowing some seeds,” Sam says with considerable passion.
The Asociación de Vecinos de Riviera, a local residents’ association, has fully supported the project, which is sponsored by Mijas town hall.
The inauguration of the Costa del Sprawl exhibition will take place at 8pm on Friday 15 September. The exhibition will be open Monday to Friday, between the hours of 9am until 2pm and 5pm until 9pm.