"Rebolo Eco-Park" designed by Jesús Pertuz of Paris has been selected as the winner of Interface, Inc.’s “Reconnect Your Space” competition. The competition invited architects, designers and students to submit their visions for how biophilia can influence the design of a new or existing space, either within interior built environments or outside in cities. Biophilic design incorporates natural elements into manmade environments in order to help people feel and perform better.
Rebolo Eco-Park was selected as the most unique, inspiring and purposeful way of reconnecting a space with nature. The winning entry was inspired by Rebolo, a low-income neighborhood located in Barranquilla, Colombia, a northern part of the country on the Caribbean Sea that serves as a major industrial, maritime port. The aim of Pertuz’s submission was to improve the community where he grew up by creating a space for social interaction and integration, and as he states: “giving them back a sense of pride and dignity.” Pertuz is currently pursuing a master of architecture degree from the renowned l'École National Supérieur d'Architecture Paris Val de Seine in Paris.
“This idea was haunting me since a sleepless night at the end of the summer and I just needed a way to take it out and share it with the world,” said Pertuz. “I believe that spaces have a strong and direct impact on people's behavior. When we empower somebody or a community through design, they are more likely to respond by developing a sense of ownership and responsibility to each other, to their environment, to their community, their neighborhood, and the rest of the world.”
Rebolo Eco-Park incorporates flower, aromatic and community gardens, along with fruit trees, new social “eco-housing” and a meadow. Within the entry an image of the meadow depicts a section of the Rebolo Canal that collects storm-water surrounded by flora, fauna and people walking, running, biking, resting and enjoying the vibrancy of the space. Together, these elements form a linear park along either side of the canal. Pertuz’s plan calls for rehabilitating the canal and to connect destinations—the center of the city to a river—while serving as a public one.
According to Pertuz, “What is special about this particular canal is the fact that it is located in one of the most popular neighborhoods in Barranquilla, despite the fact that most people live in poverty it is still one of the most culturally vibrant communities in the city.”
Through the competition, designers had the opportunity to bring their biophilic visions to life and help advance biophilic design. More than 220 entries were submitted after entrants visited the “Reconnect Your Space” page via www.interfacereconnect.com to upload an image (sketch, drawing, rendering) of their vision for reconnecting a favorite space with nature. The competition also called for a description of their entry in 500 words or less.
The winning entry was chosen by a renowned panel of judges from the global design community. Judges included: Robert D. Fox, principal at COOKFOX Architects based in New York City; Paul McGillick , editorial director at Indesign Publishing in Sydney; and Richard Weston, professor of architecture at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University in Wales.
“The range of entries was impressive and the Rebolo Eco-Park was a worthy winner,” said Weston. The submission was chosen from a pool of six finalists as the best example of a design that reflects the principles of biophilia. “There were a select few entrants that stood out to me by tackling head on the challenge of bringing nature indoors - not as literal plant material but as texture, colour, ‘endless variation’ and metaphoric transformation,” he said. Other finalists included:
-“Biophilic Design | Healing Resort Pavilion & Villa” by Amanda Cleveland in the United States;
-“[re]connect Toronto” by Dyonne Fashina in Canada;
-“PATAK - Pilipinong Arkitektura Tradition at Kultura” by Onginev Jimenez in the Philippines;
-“Green Curtain” by Rade Kosanovic in Serbia;
-“Living in a small? Want to grow?” by Gordana Radonic in Serbia
Pertuz’s prize for winning includes travel and accommodation for four days and three nights to experience first-hand biophilia’s influence in design. He can choose a biophilia inspired experience in one of three locations: Singapore; San Francisco in the United States; or Cornwall in the United Kingdom. Among the trip themes are discovering how Singapore is achieving its goal of becoming a “city in a garden”; exploring natural elements within San Francisco’s popular monuments and dynamic architectural and design scene; and delving into the United Kingdom’s Eden Project that explores humanity’s dependency on nature.