Skip to main content

Skip to navigation menu

Bienal Internacional de Arquitectura

Skip to navigation menu


‘Lost Forest’ project wins the competition for the design of the TAC! temporary pavilion in San Sebastian

  • The proposal by the team of architects from Madrid formed by Julia Ruiz-Cabello Subiela and Santiago del Águila will be located on the Sagüés esplanade and will form part of the programme of the International Architecture Biennial of the Basque Country Mugak/.
  • The jury highlighted the project's reflection on the growing problem of forest fires and its capacity to transform the urban environment through its commitment to the climate challenge.
  • The second edition of TAC! Urban Architecture Festival, which will have another venue in Valencia, is organised by the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (MITMA) together with the Arquia Foundation and is being held in San Sebastian with the support of the Housing, Land and Architecture Directorate of the Basque Government, the Mugak/ Biennial, the cluster Habic and the Basque Country Institute of Architecture.

Donostia-San Sebastián already has its pavilion. TAC! Festival of Urban Architecture has selected 'Lost Forest', by the team of Madrid architects Julia Ruiz-Cabello Subiela and Santiago del Águila, as the winning project of its ideas competition to design a temporary pavilion in the city. The initiative launched by the General Secretariat for the Urban Agenda, Housing and Architecture of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda (MITMA), together with the Arquia Foundation, in this edition also has the support of the Department of Territorial Planning, Housing and Transport, Land and Architecture of the Basque Government, the International Architecture Biennial of the Basque Country Mugak/, the Habic cluster and the Basque Country Institute of Architecture.

The winning pavilion will be located on the Sagüés esplanade from 10 October to 13 November and will be part of the programme of the fourth edition of Mugak/. This year, under the slogan rebuild, reinhabit, rethink, it will aim to highlight the role of architecture in these times of ecological, health, economic and social crisis.

In the words of the General Secretary for the Urban Agenda, Housing and Architecture, Iñaqui Carnicero, who chaired the jury, "The excellent level and the high quality of the proposals presented in this second edition of TAC! show that architecture is a very necessary profession in our society to conceive responses to the current climate, health and energy challenges".

According to Pablo García Astrain, Director of Housing, Land and Architecture of the Basque Government, "the climate emergency challenges us all, and the winning pavilion gives shape to the theme raised by Mugak/ on how to face this challenge through architecture and the search for new ways of making a city".

The selection of this famous esplanade for the construction of the pavilion responds to its own configuration. In this place between the urban and the natural, sea, mountain and city converge, in a topography where the beauty and the harshness of the abrupt emerge. It is the end of a seafront that, through its promenade, connects with the city, in an unfinished place with a strong local identity.

About the winning project

The 'Lost Forest’ pavilion aims to bring the reality of forest fires to the urban environment and to attract the attention of the public to this problem head-on.

The proposal is inspired in the morphology of Mount Urgull, the sculptural symbol and lung of the city, to confront it as an iconic structure composed of burnt tree trunks. "The pavilion offers at the same time a space for shelter and contemplation, in dialogue with the large scale of the Sagüés esplanade, the city, the sea and the mountain", emphasised the jury.

According to the project brief submitted to the competition by its authors: "We understand our pavilion as a place of transit and contemplation, a sensory stroll through the majesty of nature which, although burnt, continues to create spaces for reflection".

With this pavilion they intend to give this wood that remains in the forests after fires a preferential place in people's memories in order to alert people to the emergency of instilling an ecological conscience with respect to the care, maintenance and sustainable management of forests.

In addition to the San Sebastian pavilion, TAC! 2023 will have a second venue in Valencia from 14 September to 16 October. The architect from Pontevedra Manuel Bouzas will be in charge of bringing the pavilion to life with his winning project 'Mediterráneo', which, with its proposal, seeks to introduce domestic strategies into the public space and stands out for offering different responses to the urban context from tradition and modernity and for promoting interaction and dialogue.

The open call for this second edition of the festival, whose central theme revolves around the role of architecture in the challenges facing the urban environment in times of climate emergency, has received a total of 125 proposals submitted in both cities, of which the jury has highlighted the great creativity of the young architects in providing responses from the local context to the climate challenge and the ecosocial crisis.

Both winners will receive a prize of €12,000 and will be able to carry out their project with an estimated base budget of €90,000 for the construction of the pavilions, which can be increased with sponsorship contributions.

Finalist projects and honourable mentions

Two finalist proposals have been selected in San Sebastian and awarded a financial prize of €3,000 for second place and €2,000 for third place. ‘50_2100’ by Álvaro Llera García won second prize for "the sustainable and reusable nature of its materials, as well as the proposal to renaturalise the soil by incorporating native vegetation". Jorge Ramos Alderete and Jaime Ramos Alderete have won third place with the project ‘Crudo sonoro’, whose "sculptural beauty in continuity with the great monumental tradition of these spaces on the coast of San Sebastian and its message of homage to the sea that highlights the repercussions of human action" have been highlighted.

Three mentions have also been awarded which, despite not being among the winning proposals, the jury considered to be of great interest for their architectural quality, as well as for their constructive integrity and coherence. They are ‘Baños de mar’, ‘Equilibrio’ and ‘Sareak’.

About the jury and the call

Iñaqui Carnicero —general secretary of the Urban Agenda, Housing and Architecture and promoter of the festival—, Nuria Matarredona —general director of the Urban Agenda and Architecture—, Sol Candela —director of the Arquia Foundation— and Javier Peña —artistic director of TAC! — have constituted a joint jury joined by architects of recognised trajectory such as Benedetta Tagliabue and João Luís Carrilho da Graça.

In addition, local representatives from San Sebastian also formed part of the jury: Pablo García Astrain —Director of Housing, Land and Architecture of the Basque Government—, María Arana —curator of this edition of Mugak/— and Eduardo Jiménez —director of development of the Habic cluster—.

The Programme is being prepared