Plaza del Grano

Our first competition on public space: the refurbish of a plaza with accessibility problems.

La Plaza del Grano is located in Leon, a city in the central part of Spain. This plaza, despite its beautiful realization, actually lacks of accessibility for the disabled and of a good draining system that would allow the water to flow. Besides, the municipality also wanted to provide a clear frame for the bars in the Plaza.

So we started from the actual setup of the plaza.

Then we defined the main circulation paths that would occur to minimize our intervention.

We optimized these paths to fit with the environment.

And gave a subtle definition by giving 2m to the perimeter ones and 1.5m to the ones in the centre.

Finally we located the bars and made clear surfaces to host them.

This paths will host also all the needed infrastructure: drainage, telecommunications... but also a system of geothermic heat that would create clear paths in the hard winters and would acclimatize the outside spaces of the bars to allow using them in winter.

Following this rules we created this plaza with a system of paths that would make the plaza full accessible for everybody, respecting to the maximum the memory, the current state of the plaza: the existing pavement but also the fountain, the cross, the trees...

This way the whole plaza becomes a used space, with the clear contrast between the existing pavement (that remains untouched) and the new pavement (that solves all the problems of the plaza and allows the other to exist without problems). One of the structures of the bars is forgotten in the middle of the plaza creating a lamp or some kind of door (or will maybe become goalposts...)

Here we see the existing pavement covering most of the plaza, the new pavement (a concrete done with the removed stones to give the same appearance), the position of the drainers that will make the plaza clean and the position of the outside dining areas.

A study of the sun shows the new outside dining areas and the plaza in the middle of the street system.

The outside dining area is created by a system of three vertical posts that host two horizontal posts. From the horizontal three different cloths cover jump in different directions to create the shadow space. An additional vertical cloth cuts the wind.

The outside dining areas are always a coordination of two structures, creating a more compact one for the winter, protected from the winds, and a bigger one for the summer, expanding the limits of the concrete space.

An example of one terrace in summer, surrounded by the existing pavement and with a view to the fountain.

Paths in the facade are a slightly wider and always have a geothermic heating system. The dining structures are cloth surfaces floating over the sitting.

A view of the plaza in summer. The plaza remains untouched but all the problems are solved.

A view of the plaza with its surroundings.

More about this project under the "leon" tag

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Europan 2011

Today we present the Europan 2011, the first of this series of competitions we are currently posting.

The development of a new neighbourhood with a new city proposal.

The site is next to a highway (blue) next to a green axis (green) and in contact with the new High Speed Train station and the biggest university campus in Barcelona.

When we started to check the project we had very clear that we wanted some kind of recognizable city (Barcelona and it's green where the clear referent in this case), we wanted to create a green icon able to spot this new centrality point in the map, and we wanted a new use of the street that would suit a new and young neighbourhood.

So we took the given plan, converted it into closed blocks to generate a clear public space, turned public space into a park moving the cars into the blocks and finally created a green icon that would articulate this new area.

This is the plan of the new neighbourhood: you can see how the green axis doubles just before our site to follow and existing river and our neighbourhood becomes a park with the buildings on top of it, respecting the proposed force-lines but creating a new kind of private-public relationship.

In the perspective view you can clearly see how the green icon becomes a "mountain" that recovers the relationship with Montserrat (further in the photo) and spots the new centrality point in this area.

Another view showing how the "cliffs" become the housing areas.

And the park system along the icon at several levels, whereas the green park extends following the green axis.

Separating the cars from the pedestrians we created a friendly street, open to the use and safe for everybody.

Plan of ground floor showing the park around the blocks, still as a street but understood as a green lung for the area. The ground floor becomes a tertiary space that will bring small commerce to the area, making it alive.

This separation of the cars generates a street (gray) with maximal pedestrian occupation and minimal contact with cars.

A view of the park system with the icon.

The trees group in series of 1, 3 or 5 (with a palm) to generate the street landscape.

A view of the ground floor: an open street car-free as a lung of green, and the icon as the new centrality point of the area.

Green spaces.

Public (in the park) and private (inside the blocks) car circulation.

Massing plan.

Private space.

Services: the icon is filled with public spaces, becoming not only a "seen" icon but a "used" icon, reinforcing the idea of a neighbourhood where the citizen is the most important.

Pedestrians walk through all the area in a mix of street and park system.

The housing:

The housing is a modular system based in a block, this block is cut in a diagonal system to create two spaces (night-day) and this "negative" spaces are then turned into an outside living space and the services area.

To create the several typologies more modules are added inside this system.

Giving a wide range of areas that will allow variability inside the block.

Working with modules also allows changes (in time) inside each typology: what was intended to be a typology for a couple with a kid, can become a flat for a single or a shared flat for 3 flatmates without changing the main areas.

The services area is intended to be an open block but can easily make independent the wc and the kitchen.

The open space is slightly changed in the icon and the block to create a more protected space (as the icon would go much higher).

The typological variation in height will create a changing rhythm.

That will be visible from in the facade, giving variability inside a rhythm.

Icon and block share a common housing typology but whereas the block only has space for the tertiary and the cars, in the icon all the inside area becomes a series of services for the community.

Services range from the commerce in ground floor to sports-hall, hospital, offices, parks at several levels...

The icon uses his mass to generate a high park, like a mountain where the cliffs become the housing units and each of the platforms is accessed through the public realm.

A new kind neighbourhood based in the contact with the exterior, where the citizen becomes the main character.

More about this project under the "europan-2011" tag

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MNE Published in Arhitext

MNE has been published in Arhitext.

Post in English:

Post in Rumanian

Many thanks to Arhitext team!

More info about the museum under the MNE tag

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