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NEA presents

Adaptive Reuse x Placemaking

Architecture competition + Course

In partnership with:

We will learn about

Adaptive Reuse

Adaptive reuse is a sustainable approach to architecture and urban development that revitalizes old structures, preserving their unique essence while modernizing them for current needs. This method conserves resources, enhances community value, and respects the historical significance of buildings. By giving existing structures a new purpose, it goes beyond mere recycling, intertwining memories with modern functionality.

Renowned architect Carl Elefante aptly stated, “The greenest building is one that is already built”, emphasizing the eco-friendliness of this approach. Beyond environmental benefits, adaptive reuse can uplift a neighborhood’s value and spirit, fostering a series of positive transformations and bridging the past with the present.

Featured image: YueCheng Courtyard Kindergarten / MAD Architects


Placemaking is the intricate process of transforming public areas into lively, meaningful destinations that foster a sense of community and belonging. It transcends mere aesthetics and functionality, aiming to infuse spaces with soul and create an ambiance that resonates with its users. The difference between a mere space and a cherished place lies in the emotions and memories they evoke. Placemaking emphasizes the importance of accessibility, atmosphere, diverse activities, and the ability to attract individuals repeatedly.

This adaptable concept, rooted in understanding and amplifying the unique essence of each location, is not confined to urban settings but is relevant everywhere, from bustling streets to serene countrysides. By merging adaptive reuse with placemaking, spaces are not only refurbished but transformed into communal hubs where people can connect and celebrate.

Featured image: Creek Play / 100architects


1st Prize

Designed by
  • Silvia Gronchi

  • Simone Parola

  • Italy

2nd Prize

Designed by
  • Andrew Georges

  • Joe Chamata

  • Nahi El Khoury

  • Lebanon

3rd Prize

Designed by
  • Vladimir Gligorovski

  • Macedonia

Special Honorable Mention

Designed by
  • Taha Nacar

  • Talia Nur Koc Nacar

  • Belgium

Special Honorable Mention

Designed by
  • Juan Simon Quintero Hurtado

  • Colombia

Honorable Mentions



Our collaborators, composed of globally recognized professionals, ensures our participants receive the most insightful evaluation and recognition.

MAD Architects

Ma Yansong

Founder & Principal

Beijing-born architect Ma Yansong is recognized as an important voice in the new generation of architects. He is the first Chinese architect to win an overseas landmark-building project. Ma is committed to developing futuristic, organic, and technologically-advanced designs that embody a contemporary interpretation of the Eastern affinity for nature. With a vision for the city of the future based in the spiritual and emotional needs of residents, he endeavors to create a balance between humanity, the city, and the environment.

Ma holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture from Yale University, and a Bachelor’s degree from the Beijing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture. Founded MAD Architects in 2004, Ma leads design across various scales, including urban planning, urban complexes, municipal buildings, museums, theaters, concert halls, and housing, as well as art and design. The projects are located in China, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States. Ma has taught in Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Tsinghua University and University of Southern California. Parallel to his design practice, he has also been exploring with the public the cultural values of cities and architecture through domestic and international solo exhibitions, publications and art works.

In 2006, Ma was awarded the “Young Architects Award” by the Architectural League of New York. Fast Company respectively named him one of the “10 Most Creative People in Architecture in 2009”. In 2010 he became the first architect from China to receive a RIBA international fellowship. In 2014 he was awarded “Young Global Leaders (YGL)” by World Economic Forum. In 2015, he was listed as one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” by Surface, and “30 Most Influential Chinese Architects” by Forbes. In 2016, he was honored as “Certificate of Recognition” by City od Los Angeles. From 2019 to 2021, he was awarded as “China’s Most Influential Designer” for three years by Architectural Digest. In 2022, MAD Architects was recognized as “Best Cultural Firm” by Fast Company, and became the first architectural firm to win this award in China.

Pelayos de la Presa

Antonio Sin Hernández


Antonio Sin Hernández, Mayor of Pelayos de la Presa, began his political career as a sports councilor after collaborating with the municipal sports center. With prior work experience in the Postal Service, a container transport company, and a real estate firm, he gained a diverse perspective to address challenges in his role as mayor.

During his tenure, he faced the pandemic with determination and has worked tirelessly for the growth and development of his community. His commitment to Pelayos and his team drives him to continue fighting for the well-being of the town.


Marcial Jesús

Founder / CEO

Marcial Jesús, the founding partner and CEO of 100architects, boasts over 12 years of architectural design and building experience in Asia. Before establishing 100architects in 2013, Marcial took the lead on projects as an Associate Director at BENOY (UK) and as a Senior Architect at HASSELL (AU). His international stints include roles at FUKSAS in Rome, Italy, and OMA in Rotterdam, Netherlands. A graduate from the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning (FAU) of the Universidad de Chile in Santiago, he became a licensed architect in the Chilean Architects' Association in 2011. Marcial is at the helm of the 100architects Studio in Shanghai, focusing on projects that enhance the public realm.



Javier González

Partner / Managing Design Director

Javier González, Partner and Managing Design Director at 100architects, ventured to China in 2013, spearheading projects as a Project Manager at RTA-Office (Shanghai) and ADOS - Architecture & Design On Site (Shanghai). His global exposure includes roles at GENETIC DESIGN in Copenhagen, Denmark, and FabLab Tenerife & LPA in the Canary Islands, Spain. With a Master's Degree in Advanced Architecture from IaaC (Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia) in Barcelona, Javier specialized in Computational Design and Digital Fabrication. Since joining 100architects in 2015, he has been co-managing the studio in Shanghai alongside Marcial. Together, they drive innovation and design excellence in the architectural realm.
Creative Communities

David Engwicht


David Engwicht is a sculptor, artist, master story-teller, author and world-renowed placemaker. He is the inventor of the Walking School Bus and the 7 Day Makeover in which his team work with community volunteers to transform entire town centres in just seven days. David is a TEDx presenter and popular keynote at international conferences. He has run three-day training courses for design professionals, acted as a high-level consultant on large development projects, reviewed pilot projects for the EU and authored four books on urban design and one on how to maximise your creativity.

Sara Candiracci

Associate Director

Sara Candiracci is an urban planning and development expert, and a social researcher, with more than two decades of experience in designing and leading programmes and projects focused on more equitable, inclusive, healthy and resilient cities. She is Arup's Global Social Value & Equity Leader, driving the firm's ambition to embed social value & equity knowledge and practice in all disciplines across the business, to elevate the social impact of Arup's projects. Prior to Arup, she has worked with UN Agencies, Development Banks and NGOs, establishing and implementing urban development projects and programmes together with cities and partners in Africa, Latin America and South-East Asia. She holds a PhD in urban planning, with a thesis on the role of cultural heritage in place-making and sustainable development in East Africa. Examples of her work are the Proximity of Care Design Guide; the Playful Cities Design Guide: Play for Anyone, Anywhere; and the Cities Alive Publication Designing Cities that work for Women. Her work has been featured in several articles, including by dezeen, Forbes, BBC, City Monitor and Thomson Reuters.

Dasha Moschonas

Participatory Design Specialist

Dasha Moschonas is a design researcher, architect, and planner, working in the intersection of social and physical dimensions of space. She is a participatory design specialist, experimenting with design processes in infrastructure and public space projects. Dasha worked across professional cultures and geographies, in Serbia, Netherlands, UK, Australia, Belgium, Indonesia and Fiji, and is able to combine theoretical and practical knowledge in bringing various stakeholders into the designing process. She completed a practice-based PhD in Architecture, in a research project on the global scale “Revitalising Informal Settlements and their Environments”, designing and implementing the participatory strategy for water and sanitation infrastructure. Currently, she works on projects that nurture playful and nature-positive cities.
Lacaton & Vassal

Francisco Latorre


Graduated in Architecture from the Polytechnic University of Valencia. His Final Degree Project focuses on improving collective housing through the use of outdoor spaces.

After his university education in Valencia, where he delved into technical, construction, and project knowledge, he participated in an exchange with the Paris-La Villette school, completing his training as an architect, including knowledge in sociology, participatory architecture, and ecology.

He obtained the Enabling Master's degree from the Polytechnic University of Barcelona - ETSAV - El Vallés, specializing in participatory architecture and collective housing, with Roger Tudó (H arquitectes) as his tutor.

In 2016, he won the Arquia Scholarships Award.

Since 2017, he has collaborated with the Lacaton & Vassal architectes studio, where he works on rehabilitation, housing, and facility projects at an international level.

Tongji University / Seville University

Plácido González


Plácido González Martínez is a renowned Doctor in Architecture and Urbanism, as well as a Distinguished Researcher 'María Zambrano' at the University of Seville. Currently on sabbatical leave, he has been a Professor at Tongji University in Shanghai, China. Moreover, he holds the position of Vice-President of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies (ACHS) and is the Executive Editor of the Built Heritage journal.

For over twenty years, González Martínez has dedicated his academic career to critical heritage studies in two main contexts:

In Spain (2023-2024), he is affiliated with the Department of History, Theory, and Architectural Composition at the University of Seville, funded by the EU's Next Generation funds. His current research focuses on comparing heritage conservation between Spain and China, addressing topics such as urban regeneration and the critical study of the modern movement's heritage.

In China (2016-2023), he was attached to the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University. During this period, he received a grant from the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission and led research on urban regeneration in Shanghai. He also participated in international projects, highlighting his collaboration on research concerning collective housing of the modern movement and modern industrial cities.

Earlier, in Spain (2002-2016), González Martínez worked at the University of Seville, leading research projects related to built heritage and other topics. A significant portion of his career unfolded at the Andalusian Institute of Historical Heritage.

Furthermore, he has been part of prominent commissions in the Spanish Ministry of Culture and has authored over 100 publications, among which stands out his book ""In Light of Hilberseimer"". He has been awarded accolades such as the prize from the XIV Biennial of Spanish Architecture 2018 and has been actively involved in meetings and conferences nationally and internationally.

MAD Architects

Tiffany Dahlen

Associate Partner

MAD Architects is an international practice that seeks to connect people to nature through architecture, using organic geometry and futuristic forms to create iconic and memorable spaces for people. Through projects such as the Yuecheng Courtyard Kindergarten, MAD Architects weaves the historic with the contemporary, breathing new life into old spaces and respecting the history of the site while creating new experiences for people today.

About Tiffany Dahlen
Tiffany Dahlen is an Associate Partner at MAD Architect's Los Angeles studio. She is a Hawaii-born architect who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and joined MAD’s Beijing headquarters in 2010 and moved to the LA office in 2021. Leading projects and competitions both in China and abroad, she has experience with large scale projects in dense urban conditions that aim to emulate MAD's future focused design philosophy of connecting people to nature through design.

She currently leads several projects at MAD, including a mixed-use tower in Quito, Ecuador, while working to foster a sense of community and education for the young designers and architects in MAD’s worldwide offices. She has worked on several of MAD’s iconic projects including the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles, Shenzhen Bay Culture Park, Melbourne Southbank competition, Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center, Chaoyang Park Plaza in Beijing, Huangshan Mountain Village, and Xinhee Design Center in Xiamen. She has also been involved in the realization of several MAD art projects, including: “Moon Landscape” for Swarovski and the “Vertu Mobile Pavilion”.

Renzo Piano BW

Darius Maïkoff


Darius Maïkoff, based in Paris, is an architect and engineer with dual French and Swiss citizenship. He earned his degrees from Politecnico University in Milan, Italy (2010) and from École Spéciale des Travaux Publics in Paris, France (2007). Before joining RPBW in 2015, Darius gained valuable experience at several architectural firms, where he worked on significant cultural projects. At RPBW, he has contributed to a range of projects, including Shard Place, a 26-story residential development adjacent to the Shard tower; Bishop Ranch, an open commercial center in San Ramon, California; and the GES 2 Cultural Foundation in Moscow.
Jo Klein Architekten

Jochen Klein


Degreed from TU Berlin 1996. As a member of Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes he received a DAAD fellowship for a Master at Pratt Institue Brooklyn NY in 1998. He studied at Columbia University NY and joined Studio Daniel Libeskind 2000-2016. He founded Jo Klein Architekten in 2016.
Konishi Gaffney

Kieran Gaffney


Kieran trained at Strathclyde University and University College London graduating in 1992 and 1998 respectively before qualifying as an ARB / RIBA / RIAS accredited architect in 2003. He spent the first 4 years of his life Zambia, where his parents were teaching, and then grew up in Scotland; his international outlook continued with many years working overseas; in the USA, Zimbabwe, London, Berlin and Tokyo along with a period studying in Florence.

Moving back to the UK in 2007 Kieran self-built his own family house in Portobello before setting up Konishi Gaffney Architects in 2009. Having worked on a variety of creative and artist-led projects including six years in London working with Thomas Heatherwick on public art commissions he continues to collaborate with artists and makers on projects around the fields of art, landscape & architecture.

Kieran is a Fellow of the RSA and has sat as trustee on the boards of the RIAS, the EAA (twice) and Art in Healthcare. He has been invited critic at Edinburgh, Strathclyde and Aberdeen Universities and has lectured in Brighton, London, Stuttgart and at all of the Scottish Universities.

Mingzhu Nerval

Mingzhu and Antoine


Mingzhu Nerval is a world-class art & engineering studio with offices in Shanghai, Paris and London. They are dedicated to conceiving vertical living greenery walls and artful, luxury gardens worldwide.

Mingzhu Nerval was founded in 2010 by Mingzhu Bai, a fashion designer from China, and Antoine Nerval, an agricultural engineer from France—both previously educated in fine arts. They have since expanded globally and are joined by a multi-talented team with a range of expertise from botanical horticulture, to landscape architecture to structural engineering. Their team strives to create the most beautiful, ressource-efficient vertical gardens in the world, with ever-expanding biodiversity and innovation.

Mingzhu Nerval has been working with and recommended by architects like Zaha Hadid, SWA, KPF, and contracted by clients like Apple, MGM, Dior, for high-profile projects, including multi-million-dollar commissions on three continents.


Isabel and Ignacio

Founders and Principals

is a multidisciplinary architecture & design firm with a team formed by extraordinary architects and designers with expertise on architecture, urban design, landscape, graphic, furniture & object design, 3D modeling, digital manufacturing and virtual reality. This holistic approach to design allows the team to tackle each project from a wide range of directions to acquire the best results.

Their projects have been exhibited in London, Geneva, San Francisco, Paris, Madrid and Valencia and have been awarded with multiple international prizes and awards.

Isabel is an architect registered in Spain and United Kingdom. She is a chartered member of RIBA. She studied Architecture at the Madrid School of Architecture (ETSAM). She holds an international PhD from the Madrid School of Architecture (ETSAM), which she obtained with her dissertation ‘Towards Weightless Architecture’. She is a passionate teacher and scholar that has lectured at prestigious universities such as the Architectural Association in London, ETSAM, and IE University among others.

Ignacio is an architect registered in Spain and United Kingdom. He is a chartered member of RIBA. He studied Architecture at the Madrid School of Architecture (ETSAM) and at the Bartlett in London, obtained a post professional advanced master degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a Fulbright scholar and an international PhD in the Madrid School of Architecture (ETSAM) with his thesis ‘Contingency in Post-Situationist Architecture’. He is a passionate teacher and scholar that has lectured at prestigious universities such as the Architectural Association in London, MIT, ETSAM, and IE University among others.

Hyunje Joo _Baukunst

Hyunje Joo


Hyunje Joo is a principal of HyunjeJoo_Hyunje Baukunst as well as a adjunct professor practicing in Seoul. He works on the boundary of architecture in various aspects and rethinks about the meaning of everyday objects and materials.

Hyunje Joo_Baukunst was established in Duesseldorf and moved to Seoul in 2021. The office has received numerous awards, including Mercedes Junge Kunst Award, Design Educates Award in Germany, Gamma Best Young Artist of the Year Award, and A design Award in Italia.
Major projects include Namdo Righteous Army History Museum, Hangang floating gallery, Shinpo Underground Public Walkway, and landmark tower in Buyeo.
They consider architecture as a form of art and provide a new perspective on the architecture.

Hyunje Joo studied at Aachen(RWTH) and Duesseldorf. In 2017, he received his master’s degree with distinction at the Kunstakademie duesseldorf in germany, where appointed as the Meisterschueler by Max Dudler and Nathalie de vries(MVRDV).


Maya Calleja

Design Technology Lead

Maya Calleja is currently employed at Gensler Shanghai as the Regional Design Technology Lead. She utilizes computational tools to support regional projects in APME & GC through various stages of design and construction. Her responsibilities include delivering production code, sustainability studies, and providing guidance and training on computation in the Design/Architecture industry. She also develops tools for interoperability, performance-driven design, and optimization.

Maya completed her RIBA Part II degree in Architecture at the University of Westminster. She served as a computational designer at Mamou-Mani architects in London for nearly five years. Concurrently, she was a Simply Rhino trainer for two years, delivering Grasshopper and Rhinoceros software workshops, as well as providing specific training to individuals and design companies.

At the core of Maya's professional passion is data-driven design, where spaces resonate strongly with material, structural, and environmental behavior. In pursuit of this passion, she has developed a profound understanding of parametric modeling with algorithmic design techniques using advanced computational tools like Grasshopper.


Our courses provide a lasting and useful learning opportunity for our participants, allowing them to learn from top architects and experts.


Adaptive Reuse and Placemaking


10 hours


Online recordings


English (subtitles available in 35+ languages)


Certificate of attendance issued to all participants


In the competition, we invited our participants to transform a long-neglected monastery into a dynamic community hub, serving as a hands-on application of adaptive reuse and placemaking principles. It’s more than making the building look nice; it’s a big challenge requiring a blend of modern aesthetics, historical preservation, environmental sustainability, and community involvement.

The mission included designing diverse spaces—from a live-event amphitheater and flexible exhibition areas to community engagement zones and pet-friendly spots.

Find all the details in the rules of the course + competition.

Full info

You can download the rules and full information of the competition and course in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese or Italian.


Main partners