News - 21 July 2022

UNStudio Wins Competition for a New Development in Iasi Hosted by the IULIUS Group

UNStudio came out on top of three of the world’s leading architecture firms to win a competition hosted by the IULIUS group for their latest project in the historical downtown of the city of Iasi in Romania.

Iasi is a city with a long history where heritage is always extant as the backdrop to its very active and lively present. This Romanian city combines its current status as an economic, cultural and academic powerhouse with its rich history and offers a unique and exciting place for living, working and thriving.

These qualities make Iasi the perfect place for a new way of living, where the past, present, and future exist in synergy.

“Winning this competition is an amazing opportunity for UNStudio to work in such an interesting and historically charged environment,” says founder and principal architect, Ben van Berkel. “UNStudio prides itself in designing architecture with a clear story, focused on how people experience space and this urban and cultural setting offers a challenging and exciting location for us to add a new architectural experience to Iasi. Rather than ‘oneliner solutions’, we believe that inner city developments require a very contextual approach that adds value to the city for all the people.”

The IULIUS Group is the only developer and operator of mixed-use urban regeneration projects in Romania, with more than 20 years of real estate experience. The group is one of the most active developers and operators of class A office spaces, building regional business hubs and creative multinational communities in Romania.

UNStudio’s proposal was described by the jury members as "the most complete and balanced answer to the entire set of criteria in the theme of the contest". According to the jury members, “UNStudio responded with great creativity and innovation to all the challenges generated by the characteristics of the site, one with a dominant and valuable historical and cultural heritage”.

The Palas Residential site’s location next to the Palace of Culture and numerous other monuments and churches, as well as the recently developed Palas Campus, the new Amazon Headquarters and the Palas Iasi Ensemble, offers the potential to create a highly contemporary, vibrant and active urban environment. UNStudio’s designs envisions a place to expand the local community, both socially and culturally.

To do so, UNStudio focused on integration on multiple levels. Palas Residential aims to mesh the new development into the city whilst building a new community that will blend into the existing social framework of the area.

Ben van Berkel also explains, “our vision is to create a space that bridges time. Palas Residential is intended to be a contemporary environment that can host quality residential spaces and public facilities, while being fully integrated into the context of the surroundings; an environment that generates its identity based on its historical framework, simultaneously becoming the new backdrop for the surrounding monuments and offering new angles and visibility perspectives for them.”

Additional key drivers of UNStudio’s design include inclusivity and sustainability. With the goal of creating a space of connection between the two parts of the city, we envision a new type of cultural and flexible space that will create the place for a contemporary urban public.

The primary drivers in the choice of building methods and materiality revolve around energy management, circularity and well-being.

Read the full press release here.
Explore the project here.