Spanish architect, Dr Carmen Fiol-Costa has been awarded the inaugural Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) Droga Architect in Residence.

Dr Fiol-Costa currently resides in Barcelona and will arrive in Sydney to take up her three-month residency in early March. She will live within cultural philanthropist, Daniel Droga’s award-winning warehouse Droga Apartment in Surry Hills. Droga generously donated the home for use as an architect residency.

The program is open to architects based outside of Australia who exercise the highest standard of excellence in architectural design, research and practice with the Institute calling it a “the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere”. The program offers those awarded an opportunity to “encourage the exploration of new approaches, the exchange of ideas, international collaboration and cross fertilisation”.

Along with being a co-founder of architectural firm Arriola & Fiol Arquitectes in Barcelona, Dr Fiol-Costa is an architect, urban designer and landscape architecture recognised for highlighting the importance of the public realm in her projects through her exploration of the relationship between architecture and urbanism.

Dr. Carmen Fiol-Costa

Dr. Carmen Fiol-Costa

Before forming the firm in 1987, Dr Fiol-Costa and her partner Andreu Arriola were responsible for the urban transformation of the city of Barcelona in the 1981-1987 period and awarded the 1990 Prince of Wales Prize in Urban Design for “its exemplary demonstration of leadership in the formation and renovation of a city”.

In a statement, the AIA added: “With a focus on urban regeneration, Fiol-Costa’s body of built works ranges from large-scale urban development and housing projects to the successful production of a series of urban furniture and lighting fixtures.”

“Dr Fiol-Costa exemplifies the vision of the Institute through her commitment to design excellence, social wellbeing and environmental responsibility,” National President Paul Berkemeir said.

During her Australian residency, Dr Fiol-Costa will work closely with the University of Sydney, the Office of the NSW Government Architect, the Institute and local government  in collaboration with the University of Sydney to develop case studies for urban spaces through architecture the AIA reveal.

She will also have the opportunity to liaison with professionals, students and community enthusiasts of Australia’s architectural industry through a series of scheduled public and private events in addition to presenting a series of  lectures and seminars for a number of programs including: Bruny Island Utzon Series with the University of Tasmania, the Thursday Night Lecture Series in conjunction with the University of Sydney and the lecture series at the University of Canberra.