This project transforms a pier and the adjoining bay at La Punta de San Felipe in the north of Cádiz that forms an inlet particularly exposed to the prevailing east-west winds that funnels through the Strait of Gibraltar. Geomorphological conditions of the area lead to a periodic accumulation of sand at the right extremity of the bay. Based upon this situation, the proposal suggests the creation of a dune-beach that grows naturally through the adoption of two main design elements: a wind wall and a park. The wind wall is conceived as a high-tech gigantic sculpture that acts as a wind barrier that slows wind speed and allows airborne sand particles to land and form the dune. The protective wall rises over a pre-existing structure which now hosts a number of facilities including a restaurant, library and art gallery. Part of this “living” wall is gradually buried by sand deposits as the dune grows. Ventilation and daylight are then ensured by big “light cannons” that emerge from the sand like art pieces. On the right side of the wind wall, a landscape intervention converts the current pier into an urban park which anchors the dune while offering the city a new recreational space where the prevailing winds are mitigated. Based on a series of studies, the author estimates that the sand beach will start to appear after three years and that the sand accumulated at the base of the wind wall will ultimately reach a height of 16 meters.
This project, merging landscape and architectural design with ecological insights, attracted the attention of the jury for its creativity but also for the impressive research work that the proposal is built upon. The LafargeHolcim Awards jury Europe highly appreciated the technology-driven and ecological approach of the design which ultimately leads to a strong and provocative reconfiguration of the city coastline, while offering tangible benefits for its inhabitants, the tourism industry and the local ecosystem. In particular, the harnessing of natural phenomena as part of the coastal infrastructure was a strong contribution.