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Bienal Internacional de Arquitectura

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MUGAK starts off looking at the future of Architecture by presenting young Ane Arce and Iñigo Berasategui the Peña Ganchegui Award in its opening cere

  • In the ceremony, chaired by the President of the Basque Government Iñigo Urkullu, ELE Arkitektura received a special mention award. Amaia Arana, Carlos Garmendia, LA-NA Architects and MUGARA are the finalist.


  • The aim of the Basque Country International Architecture Biennial in its second edition is to encourage a shared reflection with the citizenry, since better urban planning and architecture in our cities translate into a better quality of life for its inhabitants.


The second edition of MUGAK started off today at the Basque Country Architecture Institute (EAI-IAE) looking into the future of this discipline at the award ceremony of the Peña Ganchegui Prizes for Young Basque Architecture. The President of the Basque Government, Iñigo Urkullu, presented the award to Ane Arce and Iñigo Berasategui. These architects, founders of the AZAB studio, were born in Bilbao and are 30 and 31 years of age respectively.

In this way, the Basque Country International Architecture Biennial has fired the starting signal for its new edition, which is organised by the Department of Environment, Regional Planning and Housing of the Basque Government in collaboration with the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council and the San Sebastian City Council. Thirty more organisations and cultural associations will participate with activities scheduled in the three Basque main cities until December.

The jury of the Award was composed by Eduardo Mangada, Eva Prats and Moisés Puente, as well as by Rocío Peña (Peña Ganchegui Archives) and Pablo García Astrain, Director for Housing and Architecture of the Basque Government. They acknowledged the winners’ “trust in the ability of Architecture to transform cities and find new uses in them”. Among their works, the jury highlighted the Herriko Plaza square in Mallabia, Bizkaia. 

A special mention was awarded to ELE Arkitektura, composed of Eduardo and Eloi Landia (born in Durango, Bizkaia, and aged 33 and 30, respectively),  because of their “good work and magnificent management of spaces and materials” in projects such as the restoration of the Kurutziaga school in Durango.

A diploma was given to the finalists: Amaia Arana (born in Aretxabaleta, Gipuzkoa, aged 31), Carlos Garmendia (born in Pamplona, aged 36), LA-NA Architects (composed of Sara Navazo, born in Vitoria, and Edorta Larizgoitia, born in Bilbao, both aged 32) and MUGARA, a studio founded by Ander Rodríguez Korta, born in Bera, Navarre, aged 32.

All of them have been working as architects for less than a decade and either carry out their activity or obtained their degree in the Basque Country. Their work will be exhibited at the IAE in San Sebastián every Tuesday to Sunday from today until the 12th of December. 

In his speech, President Urkullu underlined how important it is that the Biennial recognized the direct impact of urban planning and architecture on social welfare and cohesion, “because there is a direct relationship between the quality of architecture and urban planning and the quality of personal and collective lives“.

The Basque Minister for Environment, Land Planning and Housing, Iñaki Arriola, congratulated the award-winners and wished them the best for their future. He also confirmed the “consolidation of MUGAK as a leading international forum, open for the trends and concerns of architecture, urban planning and design”.

Rocío Peña, Director of the Peña Ganchegui Archives, highlighted the quality of the works presented and celebrated “the opportunity of having such an exceptional jury again for the second edition”. She also stressed the importance of having an external viewpoint when awarding the Basque architecture of the future.

With regard to the prize, the Biennial curator Pedro Astigarraga pointed out at the hundred activities that will take place in the three main cities of the Basque Country in the next two months. They make MUGAK “a plural and multicultural meeting point for dialogue, debate and reflection about Architecture, its relationship with other scientific, artistic and social disciplines and the role they all should play in the development and improvement of our environment and our way of life”.

The Biennial will host a main exhibition entitled “System Design: The Ulm School and the Braun Company”, which will start on the 25th of October in two locations: the IAE and the San Telmo Museum. Until then, other shows are already open to the public: “Conscious Architecture” at the UPV/EHU, and the series “Connections. Art and Architecture” in the four main art galleries in San Sebastián (Ekain Artelanak, Altxerri, Arteko and Kur).

Moreover, the lecture programme will include in its first days: the presence of the Peruvian Sandra Barclay and Jean Pierre Crousse on the 17th of October, invited to the IAE by Cluster Habic, and Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos, invited by the School of Architecture of the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU on the 18th of October. The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao will offer lectures on the creative process in Architecture on the 11th of October, organised by its initiative TopArte and the Professional Association of Basque-Navarre Architects COAVN in Bizkaia.  The Artium Museum of Vitoria will host the three-day conference “Creation. City. Landscape”, organised together with COAVN in Alava. Two Pritzker Award winners will follow later: Rafael Moneo and Álvaro Siza.

About the Peña Ganchegui Award

Created by the Peña Ganchegui Archives in collaboration with the Housing and Architecture Directorate of the Basque Government, the Peña Ganchegui Award is named after the most outstanding Basque architect from the second half of the 20th Century, founder of the San Sebastian School of Architecture and author of works such as the Torre Vista Alegre tower (Zarauz, 1959), the Trinidad square (San Sebastian, 1963) and the Tenis square (San Sebastian, 1976), antechamber to the Peine del Viento sculpture (Comb of the Wind).

The Programme is being prepared