Xavier Vendrell Receives Prestigious FAD Award
Professor and Acting Director of Auburn University Rural Studio Xavier Vendrell has been awarded the FAD Award (el Fomento de las Artes Decorativas) in the category of City and Landscape for the project, “Rehabilitació del Parc de Joan Oliver a Badia del Vallès,” in Barcelona, Spain . His partners on the project were Claudi Aguilo and Albert Domingo (DataAE).
The FAD is one of Spain’s and Portugal’s most prestigious awards for architecture. Each year, it is awarded to one built project in each of the four categories: architecture, city and landscapes, interiors, and ephemeral architecture.
Vendrell’s winning project consisted of redesigning and rehabilitating the existing spaces of Joan Oliver Park and two nearby areas to improve their use and the relationship with surrounding neighborhoods. New ramps, step-ramps, and stairs upgraded accessibility and connections to and within the park. The team of designers preserved an existing forest of pine trees in the center of the park, while adding a new system of water collection to avoid connection to the city sewer system.
Because the project prioritizes materials that filter water, hardscape was used sparingly in circulation areas and only in response to existing slopes or maintenance issues. The project retains and improves some of the original elements of the park, such as an existing pergola where new wooden slats replaced old wood and an illumination system was incorporated, creating a space that is both shaded during the day and lit in the evening. “I think that what makes this project so remarkable is how the intervention to the existing park is invisible,” Vendrell stated. “We aimed to solve the problem of constant flooding throughout the space and protect the trees, while also improving the park spaces for the community.”
This is the second FAD award that Vendrell has received. In 1997 he was awarded the FAD in the category of architecture for his project the Riumar School. Throughout his career, he has been a finalist in each of the four categories, including the category of ephemeral architecture in 2004 for the Rural Studio exhibition in Barcelona, which he designed in collaboration with Rural Studio Director Andrew Freear and Jennifer Bonner, Assistant Professor of Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design and Director of the Master in Architecture II Program.
Vendrell studied architecture in his native city of Barcelona, where he has practiced architecture since 1983. His work at Xavier Vendrell Studio Chicago/Barcelona embraces a range of scales including landscape architecture, urban design, public buildings, housing, and interior design. In February 2002, Vendrell visited Rural Studio for the first time and began serving as a consultant there in 2005. He has been teaching full-time at Rural Studio since fall 2013, and is currently serving as Acting Director and Professor while Director Andrew Freear is on sabbatical . “It’s an honor to be recognized again twenty years later,” says Vendrell. “I am teaching full-time now, so I don’t get to practice as much as I used to, but I still try to do meaningful work. It means a lot to me that my work has been recognized and is still relevant.”
Photography by Jordi Surroca
Click here to visit the FAD website.
Click here for a Spanish article on the project in the park.