How can the quality of architecture be protected, promoted and fostered? This is an issue on which progress has been made today in Spain. On January 18, the Council of Ministers approved the Draft Law on Quality in Architecture for its subsequent submission to the General Courts of Spain, thus beginning its parliamentary process.
This is a new legislative proposal promoted by the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, currently under the direction of the Minister Raquel Sánchez Jiménez. This initiative aims to protect, promote and encourage architectural quality as a good of general interest, promoting links that favor the approach of architecture to society.
Iñaqui Carnicero, General Director of Agenda Urbana y Arquitectura, points out that this law “has found its most propitious context at the present time, since it is aligned with various European and international initiatives promoted recently, such as the New European Bauhaus, the Urban Agendas, the Davos Declaration and the Wave of Renewal”.
A Law to consolidate a new social model
Below we share some excerpts from the statement issued by the Ministry where some of the most important points are delved into, such as the creation of two fundamental bodies to guide action and enhance the role of public authorities.
House of Architecture and Architectural Quality Council
The first of these seeks, among other things, to bring the values of architecture closer to society, becoming a national and international benchmark for the dissemination of the discipline and promoting it as a tool for cultural diplomacy.
On the other hand, the second is constituted as a platform for the exchange of knowledge and participation, as well as for consultation and advice on matters related to the content of this Law, such as promoting the adoption of norms or general measures for the improvement of the quality of Architecture, as well as preparing and disseminating specification models and other guiding documents.
Regulatory framework of the Law
It is a legislative instrument that reinforces the exemplary role of the public administration, promoting the planning of the rehabilitation of the public building stock. Along the same lines, the draft bill includes a series of amendments to Law 9/2017, of November 8, on Public Sector Contracts, aimed at improving the quality of the architecture promoted by the Administration.
Next Generation Funds
The Law is included as reform 4 of component 2 of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR), approved by the Government of Spain to deal with the crisis caused by COVID-19, which focuses on promoting rehabilitation and improvement of the building stock, both in urban and rural areas.
It is also part of the European legislative initiatives to promote energy efficiency, renewable energies and the fight against energy poverty and will promote the application of the “energy efficiency first” principle, in accordance with Recommendation (EU) 2021/1749 of the Commission on September 28, 2021.
A Law born from a process of citizen participation
In its drafting, this future law has been the subject of broad citizen participation, since a multidisciplinary participatory process structured in six tables was carried out, which could be followed electronically and openly. The debates can still be consulted on the website created for this purpose. Round tables were also held with the main affected sectors, the academic and social sector, territorial administrations, professionals and educational centres.
According to the announcement, although the Law was born to respond to an exceptional moment, it also does so with the purpose of establishing a global framework, lasting over time, dynamic and capable of adapting to new challenges and objectives. In this sense, it includes among its objectives the elaboration of a National Architecture Strategy, as a governance tool to implement it.