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Urban renewal of Plaza de España, Madrid, Spain
Year 2016

    Urban renewal of Plaza de España, Madrid, Spain

    Competition 2016

    The plaza is given back to citizens, almost eliminating road traffic and aspiring to create a gathering and leisure space for the community.

    The binding nature of the plaza is restored, prioritizing the pedestrian connection to the surrounding open spaces of Plaza de Oriente and the Sabatini Gardens, Campo del Moro and Madrid-Río, the Temple of Debod, Plaza de los Cubos and Plaza de Cristino Martos, among others.

    The pedestrian surface is extended to the perimeter buildings, restoring its original contour. Thus the old Headquarters of the Asturian Mining Company and the southwest-end block are again in contact with the plaza, avoiding their semi-buried nature provoked by the addition of a bridge-like junction between Cuesta de San Vicente and the Bailén-Ferraz axis.

    The space is adapted to the spirit of the surroundings, defining areas with different features that respond to the demands of the community, such as resting, leisure, coexistence and gathering spaces, playgrounds or spaces of connection.

    Accessibility is ensured in all these areas via sinuous itineraries that also serve as a connection between the most urban city core and the green areas around it.

    New activity and biodiversity nodes are introduced, providing a defined character and without compromising the continuity, homogeneity and permeability of public space. These nodes create a ‘sensitive geography’, slightly wavy and elevated, that helps differentiate the intensity of the particular activities.

    Among the new activities included in the area are: leisure areas for children and adults, sports courts (basketball, roller skating and workout areas, among others), relaxing and cultural amenities and other economic activities directed at revitalizing public space.

    Road traffic is redirected underground, limiting the one entering the city and alleviating the one exiting it towards the M-30 ring. Parking space is increased underground and a new intermodal hub is implemented, connecting vertically and horizontally diverse means of transport: metro, buses, private cars and bicycles.

    The nuanced design of the plaza is adapted to the varied scale conditions of its surroundings. A great shading structure is located tangent to the Gran Vía-Princesa axis, serving as the entrance point to the intermodal underground structure and acting as an iconic element between the most monumental buildings on the perimeter and the public space of the plaza. This element constitutes a turning point between the high scale of the perimeter on the more urban northeast-end, consisting of great monumental buildings, and the park that connects with the plaza on its south-west end.

    On this opposite side, flanked by the Headquarters of the Asturian Mining Company and the Gallardo Building, two buildings of a more human scale, the plaza turns into a park, bringing closer to the community some sculptures that are nowadays located on inaccessible corners.

    Authors: Ricardo Sánchez González, Hugo Sebastián de Erice
    Collaborators: Alba Troitiño Bernal, Andoni Garrán