Yourope (2001)
Design of a European Embassy - Ideas Competition
Awarded project

with Krista Burger, Paolo dalla Tor, Francesco Tencalla


Europe has followed continually aggregative and disgregative processes. Transborders regions, often politically unacknowledged, are formed on basis that are beyond politic and economy.
Languages, ethnic groups, religions shape borderlines.
Strong economic motives have been the driving force for the union and financial institutions are leading the new challenges. Europe must be a pulsing organism, able to include diversity, to expand itself but also to retire, if necessary.
The Euro Embassies in the world must concern with opening. Not an enclosure in a enemy state, their place must be a free zone were everyone looking for justice and respect could enter and stay safe; it must be the place of the connection instead of the one of the exclusion. No filter at the entrance, it should be possible to enter through an airport’s duty free.
The presence of this infra-state area inside the airports will be the point from where Embassy will start to develop. The role of global tourism as first world industry, the mutating figure of the airport, shifting fast toward a shopping mall identity, and the possibility offered by the fastest existing network for transportation are important strategic issues. The project is not conceived as a building but as a space program where, after a built administrative strip, religions, languages, arts, sports and other activities could develop together with the infrastructure.
Embassy will offer itself to the local through a Site & Services approach that will bring itself to a spontaneous and necessity-controlled grow on the territory enlarging free zone. The repeatability of the process, one of the weakest point of the traditional Site & Services intervention, will be ensured by the necessity of the building Embassy in every world capital. The connection between the Embassy projects will be enhanced by the presence of the airports network. Those planning acts will be composed by a built part of the project, characterized by a high rate of predictability, connected to the airport and by a longer infrastructure that plans the way to colonize the space while the possibility of prevision progressively decrease.
The pilot building provides commands that make possible the continue rethinking of the planning act.

From the jury report: "The proposal effectively questions key assumptions of the brief – the central sites in Washington, Beijing or Cairo as well as the presumption of the embassy as individualised building. Instead the project suggests a system for all European Embassies in the world, each located at airports as communication hubs. The proposed typology is rather infrastructural than representational."