Azalea ● Valencia, Spain
University ● Universitat Politècnica de València
Task ● Closing Gaps, Valencia
The texts were written by the teams themselves and will be updated during the competition.
About the team
Azalea is a multidisciplinary team made up of more than 30 students from different degrees and masters at the Polytechnic University of Valencia. They share the same interest: the commitment to the environment. The first participation of the Azalea UPV team in the Solar Decathlon Europe 19 provided great results to the group of students that managed to win three important prizes: The first prize in Architecture, the second prize in Energy Efficiency and the third prize in Engineering and Construction.
As we left behind the first project of Azalea UPV in which we gave a new life to the traditional architectural typology of the Valencian barraca, it was also necessary to change the image of the team. Therefore, the Azalea UPV team has decided to call this second project Escalà. After investigating the history of El Cabanyal, we found this concept that refers to the size of the space that was left between the old barracas of the neighbourhood for maintenance on the roofs. This space of 1.36 m is what has marked the construction and growth of the area, enhancing its unique character and all its distribution.
This neighbourhood, located by the Mediterranean coast, has its origin in a fishing village that ended up being part of the city of Valencia. Therefore, to refer to this origin, the new colours that will represent the Azalea UPV team are inspired by the shades of the works of the Valencian painter Joaquín Sorolla (1863-1923), who during his extensive pictorial career reflected the light and warmth of the beaches, as well as the seafaring customs of this neighbourhood.
For this reason, with the Escalà project, and as in the first project, this university team looks to the future without forgetting the place where we come from and its history to keep alive the heritage value of the city of Valencia, so that through this connection we can move towards a new way of living.
Our new proposal focuses on El Cabanyal neighbourhood, a historic district full of Valencian traditional houses that wanted to be demolished and whose neighbours managed to protect it. We want to create a set of social housing to return the home to those who were evicted. It will give back the vitality and will make the neighbourhood grow a little more. Our intention for the next two years is not only to build a self-sufficient and sustainable dwelling but also to do our bit to achieve the reconversion and rehabilitation of the neighbourhood. Innovation, sustainability, environmental protection and tradition are once again be the focus of the project.
Based on the experience with the barraca in the previous edition, sustainability and innovation remain the fundamental aspects to achieve a dwelling adapted to the city and committed to the environment. Similarly, the purpose of the Escalà project is to maintain the essence and character of El Cabanyal, which was granted BIC certification in 1993, a legal concept for the protection of Spanish historical heritage.
Moreover, the project is developed based on the current situation of the neighbourhood. Our efforts are focused on developing proposals linked to the concept of sustainable housing that will improve the situation of the neighbourhood. At the same time, these proposals will involve consistent action in all areas, highlighting mobility and the creation of spaces for both the development of shops and equipment and social housing. The aim of the project is to improve the living conditions of the residents through sustainable and responsible architecture.