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The European Prize for Urban Public Space Selects Two Winners

Spain and Poland are the countries represented by the prize

The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona has announced joint winners of its 2016 prize for the biennial European Prize for Urban Public Space, intended to "recognize and encourage the recovery projects and defense of public space" in European cities. The ninth award will go to two projects selected from a pool of 25 finalists, which were selected from 276 entries representing 33 countries.

The first of the joint winners is a restoration effort titled the Recovery of the Irrigation System at the Thermal Orchards located in Caldes de Montbui, Spain. Natural hot springs are found in Caldes, a medium-sized town about 15 miles from Barcelona, but rapid development of the area damaged the irrigation system, ruining the ancient grounds of the Lower Orchards. Over a period of two and a half years, gardeners and architects began the process of restoring the irrigation system and the land, which is once again a productive, agricultural space.

The second joint winner is the Dialogue Centre Przełomy at Solidarność Square in Szczecin, Poland. Solidarność "Solidarity" Square, named in memory of 17 people who were killed in 1970 after demonstrating against the Soviet regime, was recently completely restored, and below it, the Przełomy Centre for Dialogue was constructed underground. Part of the National Museum system, the center, with its sloping roof emanating from below the square, is meant to be a place of healing the wounds of collective memory.

Special mentions went to the Ring of Memory: International Memorial of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette in Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, France, the Heavenly Hundred Garden in Kiev, Ukraine, the Improvement of Barkingside Town Centre in London, and the New Multi-Purpose Canopy in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, Belgium. Learn more about the projects here.