How can the quality of architecture be protected, promoted and encouraged? A question on which progress was made today in Spain. On the 18th of January, the Council of Ministers approved the Draft Law on Quality in Architecture for its subsequent submission to the Spanish Parliament, thus initiating its parliamentary procedure.
This is a new legislative proposal, promoted by the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, currently under the direction of Minister Raquel Sánchez Jiménez, who aims to protect, promote and encourage architectural quality as an asset of general interest, promoting links that encourage the rapprochement of architecture with society.
Iñaqui Carnicero, General Director of the Urban Agenda and Architecture, points out that this law "has found its most propitious context at the present time, as it is aligned with several recently promoted European and international initiatives, such as the New European Bauhaus, the Urban Agendas, the Davos Declaration, and the Renovation Wave".
A legislative instrument necessary to consolidate a new model of economic, energetic and ecological transition that promotes greater inclusion and social cohesion.
Below, we present excerpts from the mitma statement 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 Architecture 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 would be constituted as a platform for the exchange of knowledge and participation, as well as consultation and advice on matters related to the contents of this Law, such as promoting the adoption of rules or general measures for the improvement of the quality of Architecture, or modifying existing ones, as well as preparing and disseminating models of specifications and other documents of a guiding nature.
- Regulatory Framework
It is a legislative instrument that reinforces the exemplary role of the public administration, boosting the planning of the refurbishment of the public building stock. Along the same lines, the draft bill includes a series of amendments to Law 9/2017, of the 8th of November, on Public Sector Contracts, aimed at improving the quality of the architecture promoted by the Administration.
- Next Generation Funds
The Act is included as reform 4 of component 2 of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR), approved by the Spanish Government to tackle the crisis caused by COVID-19, which focuses on promoting actions to rehabilitate and improve 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 it will promote the application of the "energy efficiency first" principle, in accordance with Commission Recommendation (EU) 2021/1749 of the 28th of September 2021.
- A law born out of a public participation process
In its drafting, this future law has been the subject of extensive public participation, since, in addition to the prior public consultation that took place in July 2020, a multidisciplinary participatory process structured in six tables was held, which could be followed telematically and openly, having a great reach on networks, including at an international level. The debates can still be viewed on the website created for this purpose. Roundtable discussions were also held with the main sectors affected, the academic and social sector, territorial administrations, professionals and schools.
According to the announcement, although the Law is born to respond to an exceptional moment, it also does so with the purpose of establishing a global framework that is durable 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.