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Special European Prize Awarded to Urban Catalyst Team

URBAN CATALYST was jointly awarded The European Prize for Urban Public Space: Special Prize on 30th June 2006 at a ceremony at the CCCB in Barcelona. The prize is awarded by the Architekturzentrum Wien, the Centre de Cultura Contemporanea Barcelona (CCCB), The Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI), the Architecture Foundation (AF), the Institut Français d’Architecture (IFA) and the Museum of Finnish Architecture (MFA). The jury, which included Elias Torres, Aaron Betsky, Dietmar Steiner, Francis Rambert, Severi Blomstedt and Carma Ribas noted:

“This award is given for the courage of a group of citizens who then take the place of designers. It draws attention to the need to reactivate fragments of the less appreciated moments of the city’s histories, instead of dismantling them or removing them from the urban environment.”

The prize was awarded to URBAN CATALYST together with the non-profit organization ZwischenPalastNutzung and VOLSKPALAST (Sophiensaele, HAU). URBAN CATALYST has been one of the key initiators of a unique and radical series of temporary cultural programmes in the disused and highly controversial Palace of the Republic. URBAN CATALYST brought together interested users for the disused building and created a first feasibility study and realization concept, which was presented in an exhibition in November 2002. After overwhelming public response the non-profit organisation ZwischenPalastNutzung was set up by interested users, activists and urban catalyst and an intensive two-year public campaign begun which eventually led to the realisation of the temporary cultural use of the Palace of the Republic in 2004 and 2005. Further activities of Urban Catalyst included a call for alternative ideas for the site presented in an exhibition and a book publication, (‘Fun Palace 200X – Abriss, Neubau oder grüne Wiese’ published in German by Martin Schmitz Verlag, Berlin, 2005, ISBN: 3-927795-35-6) and a proposal for the use of the underground part of the building after the demolition.

Urban Catalyst – Strategies for Temporary Use, Philipp Oswalt, Klaus Overmeyer, Philipp Misselwitz (Eds.) will be published in English by ACTAR, Barcelona in March 2007. Contributions by Azra Aksamija, Arnold Reijndorp, Florian Rötzer, Saskia Sassen and many others. Projects include Complizen, Kees Christiaanse, Cedric Price, Stalker, Urban Catalyst.