PRIMA International 2024

The PRIMA competition, organised by Paris-based Atelier 37.2 on behalf of French minerals company Groupe CB, invites individuals or pairs of students to propose a permanent ‘micro-architectural work’ for the enormous industrial site which is located around 15km south of Calais.

Now in its fifth edition, this year’s competition invites participants to explore the circular potential of concrete and gravel by only using recycled and low-carbon materials. Dressed stone and rocks are not allowed to be used and all concepts must be mobile or modular.

The call for proposals is free and open to all architecture schools in France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Spain and the United Kingdom. Each school may submit a maximum of five paired student projects. A total of 15 concepts will be shortlisted and three overall winners will be constructed in 2022.

According to the brief: ‘We want to highlight low-carbon and recycled materials in this 5th edition of PRIMA, with concretes and aggregates designed as circular materials. Demolition sites are becoming sources that can be integrated with natural sources to produce fully recycled or hybrid aggregates for tomorrow’s buildings.

‘An economy that transforms buildings at the end of their life to produce materials that return to a natural cycle. Quarries are no longer just places where materials are extracted, but also places where they are recycled. Architecture and construction as circular processes.’

Located on the fringes of Ferques, the 500-hectare Carrières du Boulonnais quarry was created in the late nineteenth century and is now the largest single open-pit quarry in the country – producing around six million tonnes of limestone aggregates every year.

The PRIMA project aims to forge new links between emerging design talents and the aggregates industry through an ‘unprecedented art model built on the merging of clear artistic goals with an entrepreneurial strategy’. It is organised by Atelier 37.2, an emerging Paris-based practice which has constructed a variety of unique architectural installations in culturally-significant landscapes across Europe and two pavilions on the PRIMA site.

Participants must harness recycled or low-carbon materials in their proposal and consider how their structure can be occupied as a form of ‘micro-architecture’ while also responding to important environmental issues raised by the ‘Anthropocene’ in which human activity has fundamentally changed life on earth.

The first edition of the competition, launched in late 2019, received 114 entries from 202 students representing 41 schools of architecture and design from 6 countries – France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, and the United Kingdom.

Winners of the 2022 call for concepts included Cage Chapel by Miranda Lishajko and Leo Julin from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Gravité by Margaux Croixmarie of ENSAP Bordeaux and Memento by Solena Citerne from Ecole de Condé Nice.

The competition is planned to be held every year for several years resulting in around 20-to-25 permanent installations being created on the site. Winning students, to be announced in March or April, will receive technical assistance from Atelier 37.2 and be invited to attend a residency on site to deliver their schemes in September.

Competition details

Project title PRIMA International 2023
Atelier 37.2
Contract value Tbc
First round deadline 15 March 2024
Restrictions Tbc
More information