A heavy snowfall in the Spanish town of Cehegín caused a landslip that destroyed a cluster of houses on a steep embankment in the old quarter. The area was not repaired and became known as “El Coso”. Little by little, the area deteriorated even further and interrupted the flow of adjacent streets, while the townsfolk created ad hoc paths to traverse the urban void.
A project to rehabilitate the area in both economic and botanical means has now been implemented by Madrid-based architects Cómo Crear Historias. The project was an Awards Acknowledgement prizewinner led by Monica García Fernández and Javier Rubio Montero. The young architects aimed to heal the visible and structural wound in the territory through a habitable garden that produces water.
The rubble was removed and the new design uses paths formed by townsfolk crossing this urban fracture. Due to low rainfall and water availability, the town also lacked green spaces: so Cómo Crear Historias’ rehabilitation program included rainwater collection, gray water filtration and purification ponds to provide sufficient water supply for the plant life incorporated into the project. The new paths to interconnect the neighborhood were based on the “desire paths” used by locals, but including street lighting, and adapted slopes to meet contemporary regulations. To achieve a comfortable slope, many of the natural paths twist on themselves, increasing their length.
A business incubator (pictured left) encourages enterprise back into the area and stimulates economic and social activity in the neighborhood; both scarce resources. An additional benefit was the use of local workers for developing many of the tasks – some were former inhabitants of dwellings that collapsed in the neighborhood. After four years of construction, the project was officially opened in March 2015.See more
After a pause in construction of 18 months due to financial issues, this project for a public garden in Cehegín is now continuing. The project in the dry south-east of Spain makes the most of the existing qualities of the site in order to maximize water retention. Priority is given to water recycling and careful guidelines are provided for gradual development of the park.
The project has been marginally adapted to meet changing demands and new conditions on the site. The depuration system is slightly different and will be based on floating plants without soil. The building won’t be the technical office for the city hall, but a business incubator instead. During the excavation work on the site, a wine cellar from the 18th century was found, and was integrated into the design of the park so the old wine storage vessels can be seen from above.See more
The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction sought out the best sustainable construction projects in Europe – and awarded the winners about a quarter millions Swiss Francs at the Awards ceremony in Geneva. In his address, Swiss Federal Councillor Joseph Deiss said that sustainability, which has a long tradition in Switzerland, is necessary in all aspects of life, and that economic and ecological priorities are no contradiction.Media release – Prizes for sustainable construction projects in Europe »
This work makes a beneficial contribution to the characteristically dry region of the targeted context. Particularly innovative is how the project capitalizes on the inherent qualities of the topography to collect and retain water. Also credited is the proposal for time phasing of the work that gives priority to water recycling and thereafter provides guidelines for gradual development of the park. This will ensure that no resource are wasted, thus suggesting a strong ecological sensibility concerning the natural environment.
Certainly another significant ecological contribution of the project is the proposal to transform empty or deserted sites into “green” resources that serve to preserve, recycle, and purify water, while also supporting the generation of new species of flora and fauna.
The project also achieves a balance between urban and landscape design, combining both to yield spaces with unrestricted access to all visitors, including handicapped and those with reduced mobility. This factor signals a proactive ethical stance to generating communal spaces. Strong economic performance is promised for the local region. An interesting approach is forwarded for the development and transformation over time, combining a systematic method with a high sensitivity to the context.See more
This project for a public garden in Spain is merited for making a beneficial contribution to a characteristically dry region. The scheme makes the most of the existing qualities of the site in order to maximize water retention. Also commended is the proposal for time phasing. Whereas priority is given to water recycling, careful guidelines are provided for gradual development of the park.
This ensures that no resources are wasted. Another significant contribution of the project is the transformation of deserted land into “green” resorts that function to preserve, recycle, and purify water. Such a measure also supports the generation of new species of flora and fauna. The authors achieve a balance between urban and landscape design, yielding spaces with unrestricted access for all visitors, including the handicapped and those with reduced mobility. Highly sensitive to the context, the work promises improved economic performance of the region.Download project entry poster (PDF, 4.38 MB) »See more
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