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A building made of bottles: Inflatable market hall winning idea in architecture competition

Rodrigo García Gonzales, student at Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå University, receives first prize in the European student competition in sustainable architecture, Gau:di.  The winning concept is a market hall made out of empty plastic bottles and paper. It will be constructed in full scale as a 1:1 prototype and presented at the opening of the Biennale of Architecture in Venice, Italy on August 28. 

 It is the third year in a row that Gau:di, a European student competetion in sustainable architecture, is arranged. The task this year was to design a market hall providing flexible space for market vendors, exhibitions and street theatre – an interactive meeting place in an urban environment.

130 entries had been submittes, out of which the jury selected ten winning projects. The first prize was awarded Rodrigo García Gonzáles, student at Umeå Institute of Design, together with Maciej Siuda, student at the Warszaw Technical University, Poland.

Their project, Devebere, is an inflatable market hall constructed out of plastic bottles, bags and other waste. The building can alter its form based on the needs of the users, and be moved between different locations to be placed either on land or on water. 

In its motivation, the jury states that Devebere is awarded first prize due to the “political urgency of the topic – garbage and recycling – the coherence of the process – total and holistic – for the constructive intelligence and innovation, the human engagement, the true and humbly demonstrated talent, the profound humour and the subtle capacity of communication.”

The competition task included suggesting a geographic location for the market hall. The team behind Devebere chose to place their inflatable construction in Venice. There, the winning entry will be constructed during this summer, in order to be presented at the Architecture Biennale in September. In the coming months, the team will be testing and trying out different techniques and prototypes in France, Spain and Italy. The process of prototyping and building Devebere will be carried out in cooperation with other competition participants, the Venice municipal recycling company and market hall neighbours in Venice, with the support of the Institut Francais de l’Architecture. The process can be followed on

Read more about Gau:di:

Read more about the winning project:

Picture of Rodrigo Garcia

For more information, please contact:

Rodrigo García, student at Design Connections, Umeå Institute of Design
Phone: +46-(0)70 5714395, +34 679 165 898

Tapio Alakörkkö, Head of Department, Umeå Institute of Design
Phone: +46-90-786 9835



Umeå Institute of Design (UID) is located in northernmost Sweden, and is ranked as one of the top industrial design educations in the world. UID offers highly competitive, professional and international industrial design educational programmes supported by exceptional research, technical facilities and resources. Rector Anna Valtonen, born in Helsinki, Finland worked 12 years for Nokia, most recently as Head of Design Research & Foresight, before her current position at Umeå Institute of Design. Each year, more than three hundred applicants from over forty countries send in their portfolios, and between 45 and 50 students are accepted to the different educations. Currently 29 different nationalities are represented. Nearly all projects are carried out in collaboration with external partners and the school successfully cooperates with both the local community and international companies such as Volvo, Toyota and Sony Ericsson.

The educations offered at Umeå Institute of Design are a three-year BA programme in industrial design, three specialised two-year MA-programmes in Advanced Product Design, Interaction Design and Transportation Design, and two one-year courses: Design Connections on MA-level, and Industrial Design Introduction on basic level. All education on MA programmes and one-year courses is held in English. Graduates from UID are highly successful in finding employment after their educations, with more than 90% hired as industrial designers.

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David Meyers

David Meyers

Communication officer The Communications Office +46 90 786 95 98

Umeå University

Umeå University is one of Sweden's largest universities with over 36,000 students and 4,000 employees. The university is home to a wide range of education programmes and world-class research in a number of fields. Umeå University was also where the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 was discovered – a revolution in gene-technology that was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Founded in 1965, Umeå University is characterised by tradition and stability as well as innovation and change. Education and research on a high international level contributes to new knowledge of global importance, inspired, among other things, by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The university houses creative and innovative people that take on societal challenges. Through long-term collaboration with organisations, trade and industry, and other universities, Umeå University continues to develop northern Sweden as a knowledge region.

The international atmosphere at the university and its unified campus encourages academic meetings, an exchange of ideas and interdisciplinary co-operation. The cohesive environment enables a strong sense of community and a dynamic and open culture in which students and staff rejoice in the success of others.

Campus Umeå and Umeå Arts Campus are only a stone's throw away from Umeå town centre and are situated next to one of Sweden's largest and most well-renowned university hospitals. The university also has campuses in the neighbouring towns Skellefteå and Örnsköldsvik.

At Umeå University, you will also find the highly-ranked Umeå Institute of Design, the environmentally certified Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics and the only architectural school with an artistic orientation – Umeå School of Architecture. The university also hosts a contemporary art museum Bildmuseet and Umeå's science centre – Curiosum. Umeå University is one of Sweden's five national sports universities and hosts an internationally recognised Arctic Research Centre.