Our ongoing collaboration with the Fundació Hospital de l’Illa del Rei wins Europe’s most prestigious heritage award
The European Commission and Europa Nostra have announced the 2022 winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards, funded by the EU Creative Europe program. Among this year’s winners is Illa del Rei, in the Conservation & Adaptive Reuse category.
The restoration and revitalization of Illa del Rei is the result of a fruitful collaboration between Fundació de l’Hospital de l’Illa del Rei, established in 2004 by local volunteers, who restored the naval hospital and turned it into a museum, and Hauser & Wirth—joining them to restore and sensitively repurpose the Langara outbuildings as an art space in a project led by Luis Laplace.
‘This year’s award winners are powerful examples of how our heritage reconnects us with nature, helps create a sense of belonging and place, and is an integral building block in developing a circular economy that supports a sustainable and inclusive way of life,’ says Europa Nostra’s Executive President, Prof. Dr. Hermann Parzinger.
When Hauser & Wirth joined the Fundació in 2016, a framework was drawn up to define the uses of the island, the extent of the conservation project and a clear strategic environmental plan. In 2021, Hauser & Wirth Menorca opened, comprising an exhibition space for contemporary art, an outdoor sculpture trail, and a garden designed by Piet Oudolf. With education, sustainability and conservation values at its core, the art center runs a rich learning program together with local organizations.
In terms of innovation and sustainability, the Fundació and Hauser & Wirth have collaborated to regrow a wild olive tree forest and a fruit orchard, as well as cleaning the area of invasive species. The creation of groves among the outdoor benches provide shelter for an internationally protected lizard species native to the island.
‘The project to rehabilitate the Illa del Rei represents an impressive level of citizens’ engagement and commitment to the conservation of heritage. The high-quality restoration was implemented with full respect for the landscape in which it is found, with the original garden and the safeguarding of native plants and species carefully considered. Ecological sustainability was also ensured by implementing a combination of traditional and contemporary technologies to reuse water,’ states the Awards’ Jury.
The winners will be celebrated on 26 September in Prague at the European Heritage Awards Ceremony, to be held at the recently restored State Opera and co-hosted by the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, and Europa Nostra’s Executive President, Prof. Dr. Hermann Parzinger.