Jose Luis Vallejo is founding member of ecosistema urbano, a Madrid based group of architects and urban designers operating within the fields of urbanism, architecture, engineering and sociology. Ecosistema urbano’s approach is defined as urban social design, by which they understand the design of environments, spaces and dynamics in order to improve the self-organization of citizens, social interaction within communities and their relationship with the environment. Ecosistema urbano has used this philosophy to design and implement projects in Norway, Denmark, Spain, Italy, France and China.
Jose Luis Vallejo has lectured and has been a visiting professor in many of the most important institutions and universities worldwide like: Harvard, Yale, UCLA, Cornell, Iberoamericana, RIBA, Copenhagen, Bergen, Munich, Paris, Milan, Shanghai, Madrid, Buenos Aires, Santiago… From 2003 he is Professor at the Architecture Department, Madrid School of Architecture.
In 2005 ecosistema urbano received the European Acknowledgement Award from the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction (Geneva, 2005). In 2006, they were awarded the prize of the Architectural Association and the Environments, Ecology and Sustainability Research Cluster (London, 2006). In 2007 they have been nominated for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture Mies van der Rohe Award “Emerging European Architect” and received the AR AWARD for emerging architecture in London, selected between more than 400 teams from all around the world. In 2008 ecosistema urbano received the first prize NEXT GENERATION AWARD from the Arquia Próxima Foundation and in 2009 the Silver Award Europe from the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction selected between more than 500 teams, later being nominated as a worldwide finalist.
During the last four years their work has been covered by more than 100 media (national and international press, television programs, and specialized publications) from 30 countries, and their projects have been exhibited at multiple galleries, museums and institutions (The Venice Biennale of Architecture, “Le Sommer Environnement“ in Paris, Milan Spazio FMG, Seoul Design Olympics, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen, Boston Society of Architects, Matadero Madrid, Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, Society of Architects of Madrid and Barcelona, Design Museum in London, Deutsches Architektur Zentrum in Berlin, Oslo National Museum, Pavillon de l’Arsenal in Paris…)
Since 2007 the team is involved in research projects on the future paths of urban design called “eco-technological cities”, financed by the Spanish Ministry of Industry. In parallel, they have created a digital platform that develops social networks and manage online channels around the subject of creative urban sustainability (ecosistemaurbano.org).
At the moment, they are working on several urban proposals for different cities and their most recent projects include the new experimental education building for the Reggio Children Foundation in Reggio Emilia (Italy), the design of an interactive public space for the Shanghai World Expo, an experimental urban playground in Dordrecht (Netherland), the “Ecopolis Plaza” a waste to resources building and public space on the outskirts of Madrid and the “Dreamhamar” project to design the urban centre of Hamar in Norway through an innovative open source process to empower public participation and collective creativity.
By Jose Luis Vallejo