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europe and collective housing

Collective housing is one of the key hallmarks of Europe. The development of its cities over the centuries has left plentiful, dazzling examples which have shaped the particular specificity of the European way of life and values.

This history is a phenomenon firmly rooted in Europe. And post-industrial history – when the models and types that were to characterise modernity in the first half of the 20th century and the global post-war era took shape –, also offers a wealth of examples illustrating the development of collective housing, its impact on European cities and on the history of architecture in general: from the Phalanstère utopias of Fourier, the Hofs of Vienna and the Weissenhof Siedlung in Stuttgart, to the Le Corbusier’s Unité d’habitation and examples by Aalto, Eiermann, Jacobsen and Niemeyer – among many others – in Berlin’s Interbau.

Subsequently, in the last third of the 20th century, the urban excesses of the modern movement and “developmentalism”, along with successive economic and social crises, helped to create a considerable stigma regarding social housing, which the post-modern era proved unable to re-signify.

Nonetheless, since the end of the 20th century, the new millennium has brought with it the emergence of new forms of collective housing, that have successfully reconnected with a certain idea of the European welfare state. The rapid development of the post-modern city, globalisation, property market tensions, phenomena of ecological awareness and the defence of the most fundamental social rights have made architecture and housing one of the most significant strands in the development of contemporary Europe.

At a time when access to housing has definitely become an intersection of different economic, social and environmental issues, and a barometer of precarious social conditions, as well as an indicator of the varying efficiency of states and public authorities, it is time to proclaim collective housing, and in particular public sector housing, as a European hallmark combining social awareness with urban socio-economic and environmental balance.

Europe is heir to a long tradition of collective housing which deserves to be showcased, as the formula guaranteeing social mixture and cohesion, as well as contained urban development which avoids the rampant consumption of land and “étalement urbain” resulting from the untrammelled building of individual houses. Likewise, the emergence of the different variants of social housing has, in combination with the tradition of collective housing, proved one of the main tools in building the welfare state in Europe.

Meanwhile, the growing environmental awareness spurred on by climate change means that European urban development models are turning back to collective housing with new eyes, once again seeing this as the best tool to guarantee sustainable urban development.

Lastly, the social and health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic placed a definitive emphasis on the importance of housing not only as a raw material of the city, but as an existential amenity for people and their plans for life, placing the habitability of homes themselves, and also their capacity to link people together, at the heart of the concerns of all agents involved in the process of creating collective housing.

Europe presents a great diversity of situations, with countries where public housing is on the wane, while others have chosen to increase such public sector initiatives, countries where individual homes continue to swallow up great swathes of land, diluting the city, while others argue for balanced urban models that prompt us to rethink and rebuild the city on top of itself.



the award

In their conviction that these are values we should preserve and foster, the Basque Country Architecture Institute together with arc en rêve centre d’architecture, with the support of the Department Of Territorial Planning, Housing And Transport of The Basque Government, have founded the European Collective Housing Award, intended to showcase the architecture of collective housing constructions, and their impact on society, while also raising awareness as to the importance of housing policies, and their constant renewal. The European Collective Housing Award thus aims to generate a critical debate about housing, the right to quality domestic, everyday architecture, while also proclaiming the value of European-style collective housing, with a richness, diversity and multiplicity of options once more serving as the best possible tool to revitalise cities, policies and generational aspirations.

The award, which will give rise to a periodic exhibition, will provide the opportunity to generate a debate among the different professional agents and the general public. With each subsequent edition, the event aspires to build up a living archive and reference corpus, generating knowledge and feeding into the collective concept of housing, in its multiple versions: from public sector housing, and in particular social housing, to the private market.

It is an honorary award, reflecting a recognition of the most significant contributions in the field of collective housing: the idea is to recognise the capacity of projects to have a positive influence on the life of communities and on sustainable urban development, at the highest levels of quality built architecture.

The evaluation of the proposals will focus in particular on how each of them enriches our shared concept of housing, by offering new perspectives and solutions to the contemporary challenges of collective housing, in pursuit of a holistic and humanistic vision of architecture – beyond the physical limits of the buildings &ndash so as thereby to improve the quality of life of inhabitants, and of the community at large.

Value will likewise be placed on the proposals’ capacity to enter into dialogue with their context, in both urban and social terms. We are looking for constructions that not only harmoniously blend into their environment, but that also make an active contribution to the life and well-being of their communities. This includes consideration for such aspects as the accessibility, inclusion and capacity of spaces to foster social interaction and cohesive communities.

Through each edition of the ward we aspire to highlight initiatives that represent progress in the sphere of collective housing, setting new standards, and serving as the inspiration for future initiatives. With this goal in mind, the award aims to serve as a catalyst for innovation and excellence in the design of the collective housing that we build, promoting focuses that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also socially responsible and environmentally sustainable.




The award is founded jointly by the Basque Country Architecture Institute / Instituto de Arquitectura de Euskadi and arc en rêve centre d’architecture, with the sponsorship and collaboration of the Department Of Territorial Planning, Housing And Transport Of The Basque Government.


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The organizing committee comprises the founding members of the award. The member institutions and representatives are as follows: José Ángel Medina Murua (Basque Country Architecture Institute, Donostia-San Sebastián), Fabrizio Gallanti (arc en rêve centre d’architecture, Bordeaux), Pablo García Astrain (Housing, Land And Architecture Directorate – Basque Government).
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advisory board

The European Collective Housing Award has an advisory board appointed by the organizing committee. This board comprises respected figures from European architecture. The members of the advisory board for the 2024 edition are : Bernard Blanc, Aurora Fernández Per, Carmen Imbernón and Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani.


portrait Bernard Blanc

Bernard Blanc

Bernard Blanc is currently a member of the Bordeaux City Council. He is the former Deputy for Urban Planning and Vice-President for Urban Strategies. Blanc is the creator of the label “Bâtiment Frugal Bordelais” and a town planner. Blanc is a Doctor of Management Sciences and a PhD student in urban planning. Blanc has been managing public companies of development and construction for 30 years.

He was awarded with the Medal of urbanism of the Academy of Architecture in 2014 and the Mies van der Rohe Award as project manager for the GHI (Gounod, Haendel & Ingres buildings) project in Bordeaux – Le Grand Parc with Anne Lacaton & Jean-Philippe Vassal.

Blanc is a member of the of the Academy of Architecture since 2019 and author of several books on housing.

Aurora Fernandez Per

Aurora Fernandez Per

Aurora Fernandez Per is a journalist, founder of a+t architecture magazine and a+t architecture publishers. She is the author of several publications on collective housing, including the “Density” series, which includes magazines, books and packs of cards.

As a member of the a+t research group, she has published 10 Stories of Collective Housing and This is Hybrid, among other titles. Her main topics of interest are collective housing, public space and the construction of the dense city.


portrait Carmen Imbernon

Carmen Imbernón

Carmen Imbernón holds a degree in architecture from the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid. In addition to working in her own studio, she collaborated in several offices, such as Tuñón, Moreno Mansilla & Soto or Junquera-Pérez Pita.

She has been a professor of History of Architecture at the European University of Madrid between 2005 and 2020 where she taught History of the 20th and 21st centuries, and History II (16th – 19th centuries).

She runs EUROPAN Spain, the European competition for young architects, an organisation of which she is secretary general since 1999.

portrait Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani

Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani

Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani studied architecture at Sapienza University and the University of Stuttgart, where he obtained his PhD. He played a seminal role in the International Building Exhibition in Berlin.

He later served as chief editor of Domus magazine and as the director of the German Architecture Museum in Frankfurt am Main. From 1994 until 2016 he held the chair for History of Urban Design at ETH Zurich.

Since 1981, he has headed the Studio di Architettura in Milan and, since 2010 and together with a partner, Baukontor Architekten in Zurich. Aside of his professional activity, he is teaching at Harvard University.



2024 edition timeline

Opening of the submissions’ form

February 15th 2024

Announcement of the jury members

February 29th 2024

Deadline to submit documentation

May 7th 2024

(candidates can submit queries and doubts regarding the call until this date; submissions will no longer be accepted from this date)

Reflection and analysis of the proposals

from the close of the call during May 2024

Jury meeting

May 2024

Jury decision

June 2024

European Collective Housing Award exhibition

October 2024




The members of international jury for the 2024 edition are : Anne Lacaton (President), Kristiaan Borret, Fernanda Canales, Emanuele Coccia and Christian Hadaller.


portrait Anne Lacaton

Anne Lacaton – President

Anne Lacaton is a graduated of the National School of Architecture in Bordeaux and received a Master’s degree from the University of Bordeaux. She established a practice with Jean-Philippe Vassal in 1989, founding partners of Lacaton & Vassal Architectes office.

Their projects, which achieve social and environmental goals through attention to climate, transformation of the existing, economy and the user, are based on a principle of generosity and economy, serving the life, the uses and the appropriation, with a strong commitment for sustainability and social impact.

Working carefully with climate and everything already there, reusing, transforming and never demolishing, challenging standards are main principles of the office’s approach. Projects include the regeneration of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2002 and 2012), the Nantes School of Architecture (2009) multiple social housing projects and the transformation of modernist housing blocks, such as 530 apartments in Bordeaux, Cité du Grand Parc, which received the EU Mies Van der Rohe Award, 2019.

She has taught in many schools and universities and, with Vassal, was awarded the Pritzker Prize 2021.





portrait Kristiaan Borret

Kristiaan Borret

Kristiaan Borret graduated as engineer-architect (KUL, Leuven) and Master in Urbanism (UPC, Barcelona). Kristiaan Borret is bouwmeester – maître architecte (BMA) of Brussels Capital Region (Belgium) since 2015. The BMA is a government official who advocates for spatial quality in urban development from an independent position.

He previously held the same position in the City of Antwerp (2006 – 2014) and is currently also working for the City of Amsterdam as supervisor for two major urban transformation areas Oostenburg (2017 – ) and Hamerkwartier (2020 – ).

Kristiaan Borret is professor of urban design at Ghent University since 2005. His career has been marked by a close relationship between theory and practice, between design and policy, between architecture and urban planning, between the public and private sectors. In particular, he has carried out theoretical research into contemporary transformations of the city, and contributed to various urban development projects in Belgium, the Netherlands and France.

Fernanda Canales

Fernanda Canales

Fernanda Canales holds a PhD in Architecture from the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid, an MA from the Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña in Barcelona and a BA from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. She received the Emerging Voices Award from The Architectural League of New York, was named one of the world’s “100+ Best Architecture Firms” by Domus magazine, and was recognized by The New York Times as one of the 10 female figures changing the landscape of leadership in the world.

Fernanda is author of the books Shared Structures, Private Space (Actar), Architecture in Mexico 1900-2010 (Arquine), Mi casa, tu ciudad (Puente Editores) and Vivienda Colectiva en México (GG). Her work has been exhibited at The Royal Academy of Arts in London and the Venice Biennale, among other institutions. She has taught at the Politecnico di Milano, Harvard University GSD, Princeton School of Architecture and Yale. Canales has published more than 100 essays in specialized magazines such as AA Files, El Croquis, The Architectural Review and Perspecta, and was awarded the Research Graham Foundation Grant in 2022.


Emanuele Coccia

Emanuele Coccia

Emanuele Coccia is associate professor at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales / Ehess in Paris. He is the author of The Life of Plants (2018), Metamorphosis (2021) and Philosophy of the Home (2024). His books are translated into several languages. He collaborated with many artists. He recently published a photo-theory book with Dutch photographer Viviane Sassen (Modern Alchemy, 2022), a philosophical epistolary on light with photographer Paolo Roversi (Lettres sur la lumière, 2024) and a book on the relationship between fashion and philosophy with Gucci’s former creative director Alessandro Michele (The Life of forms. Philosophy or Re-enchantment, 2024).

He co-directed animation videos such as Quercus (2019, with Formafantasma) and Heaven in Matter (2021). He co-curated an exhibition on fashion (The Many Lives of a Garment ITS, Trieste) and a show on art and ecology (Dancing with All, 21st Century Museum Kanazawa, together with Yuko Hasegawa).

portrait Christian Hadaller

Christian Hadaller

Architect Christian Hadaller is a co-founder and board member of Kooperative Großstadt e.G. The housing cooperative was founded in 2015 as an initiative of young architects. Its aim is to expand the cooperative model by giving central roles to issues of architecture, neighbourhood development and urban planning. A vibrant and liveable city and the diverse ways in which its residents live are at the heart of the cooperative’s activities.

After completing his studies, Christian Hadaller worked for Meili, Peter Architects. From 2012 to 2016 he worked as a research assistant at the Chair of Urban Architecture at the Technical University of Munich, where he led research model projects on the redensification of large housing estates. At Kooperative Großstadt, Christian Hadaller is responsible for the planning, construction and participation processes of the cooperative.



regulations and submissions

All you need to know about the award rules: entry categories, candidatures’ elegibility and required documents for submission proposals. A printable version of the complete presentation of the award is available to download. The link towards the online submission form for uploading documentation is now open. The Technical Secretariat will answer queries until the end of the call, May 7th 2024.


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Please download this printable PDF (A4 format) with a detailed presentation of the award and its associated rules.

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Please access and submit through our online submission form, now available for your documentation uploads.


Entries and Categories

Candidates for the award will be housing developments with a completion date falling between January 1st 2018 and December 31st 2023, both inclusive. All buildings submitted must include at least 3 houses in a single-unit project.

The awards will be conferred in two different categories:

– Best Collective Housing Development
of New Construction.

– Best Collective Housing Development
Resulting from Renovation.


The competition jury will be made up of five authors of recognised prestige in the architectural field. The names of the jury members will be announced on February 29th 2024. Both the organising board and the advisory board will participate in the award deliberation with voice but no vote. The technical secretariat of the award will write up the minutes of all jury meetings. The advisory board and the organising board of the European Collective Housing Award will act as the secretary of the jury, with no vote.



Eligible candidates for the 1st European Collective Housing Award are collective housing developments located in one of the 46 countries making up the Council of Europe: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine.


Submissions can be made by:
– The Public Administrations responsible for promoting national, international, provincial or municipal developments.
– The development company, either individually or as a group.
– The architects of the development project, either individually or as a team.
– The construction companies participating in the development.
– Users of the development, either individually or collectively.

Submission of Proposals

To make a submission, all of the required documents must be uploaded to an online form. The deadline for submitting applications is May 7th 2024. The required documents are as follows:



A description of the development, in no more than 500 words, explaining its challenges and aims, as well as its contribution to the collective housing culture and to the numerous European ways of life.



Technical specifications of the project, with the following information:
– General details of the building work
– Full name of the project
– Location details (country, city, street, etc.)
– Development completion date
– Full name of the authors
– Collaborators
– Other technical personnel
– Owner Developer or Institution
– Construction company
– Architectural Technician or Master Builder
– Total Material Development Budget (Euros)
– Cost/m2
– Built surface
– Author of the photographs



A collection of up to ten photographs showcasing the finished project. These images should be in JPG or PNG format, with a minimum resolution of 2.000 pixels on the longer side, and each file should not exceed 3MB in size. This collection should comprehensively include interior and exterior shots, detailed sections, and any other perspectives that the contributors find vital for fully conveying the essence of the project.



A comprehensive set of the project’s plans in PDF format. This should include essential plans such as site plans, floor plans, sections, detailed drawings, and any other types of drawings deemed necessary for a complete understanding of the project, like elevational views or specific construction details. While there is no limit on the number of PDF files or the size of each individual file, the total size of the submitted documentation should not exceed 20 MB, ensuring detailed representation of the project within efficient file transfer limits.


The Technical Secretariat will send email confirmation to the candidates of having received their submission when their registration has been completed in full. Any doubts regarding the submission process and uploading of documents can be sent to the Technical Secretariat of the award at the following email address:







Process, Selection Criteria

and Awards

Prior to the Jury meeting, the Technical Secretariat will draw up a document listing the development submissions received. Having made the corresponding deliberations, the Jury will draw up a document explaining the selection process, with a list of up to 5 finalist developments and 1 award-winner for each category. The Jury of the European Collective Housing Award can reserve the right not to decide a winner of the award.

The winning and finalist developments will feature in an exhibition and content issued for information purposes. Being selected as a finalist or winning development carries no economic reward other than the distinction of having been selected and the public exposure of said selection. In addition to the winning and finalist developments announced by the Jury, up to another 30 submissions will be selected to participate in the aforementioned exhibition and content issued for information purposes. The exhibition will display the documents selected both at the Basque Country Architecture Institute and at arc en rêve

Acceptance of The Terms

and Conditions

Submitting the works selected for the European Collective Housing Award first edition implies acceptance of these terms and conditions and authorisation to release information related to the selected works. The decision of the Jury will be final.


Legal Stipulations

and Conflicts of Interest

Developments produced by members of the Jury, of the European Collective Housing Award organisation, and by associated architects and first-degree relatives cannot be selected for this award.

All of the data provided through e-forms and / or by email will be handled with strict confidentiality in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016 / 679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of April 27th 2016 and of Organic Law 3 / 2018, of December 5th, on the Protection of Personal Data and the Guarantee of Digital Rights.

The selected candidates will, in any case, ensure the truthful nature of the details provided. The European Collective Housing Award reserves the right to exclude from the registered services all candidates to have provided false data, without prejudice to any other legally existing procedures.


and Queries

Queries should be emailed to the Technical Secretariat of the award at the following email address:










Please feel free to contact us if you need any further information. Looking forward to hearing from you soon!






For media inquiries, press releases, interview requests, and other press-related matters, please contact:








de Arquitectura
de Euskadi

Santa Teresa
Elbira Zipitria 1
20003 Donostia
San Sebastián
Basque Country

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