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Roman Sewer and public space, Calahorra, Spain
Year 2018

    Roman sewer and public space, Calahorra, Spain

    Competition 2018. Honorable mention

    Calahorra was an important Roman city in the Iberian Peninsula. However, its ancient Roman remains are scarce and are not integrated in the modern city.

    The construction of a public space linked to an ancient Roman sewer is an opportunity to create an emblematic place in the city of Calahorra. This space would not only physically integrate the preexisting remains, but it would also physically and symbolically represent its Roman past.

    This proposal aims at achieving this by creating an evocative atmosphere of a memorable past through materials and construction techniques. This is achieved by designing new timeless architectural elements that, due to their abstract nature, appear completely contemporary.

    The area object of renovation lacks any references. The only valuable construction in the surroundings is the ‘Casa de Carramiñana’. The site is an undistinguished space, it is surrounded by dividing walls and needs to be rearranged to become a proper plaza.

    The idea lies in implementing a unified open enclosure defined by walls of the same height and variable thickness that define and delimit the inner space. These walls enclose different areas, such as the visitor center, a playground, a gathering space, a garden area, and a canopy that provides shade to the plaza.

    In addition to concealing and covering up the dividing walls on the perimeter, the added walls define a new character for the plaza. Hence they are designed using construction techniques that evoke those used in Roman times. This construction consists in walls made of cyclopean concrete with lime or cement mortar between stones and groups of brick courses between layers, as in a contemporary version of an ‘opus mixtum’ technique. Its appearance is strong and warm at the same time, like those Roman wall structures erected during the Late Empire, as in the Mérdia Aqueduct. Niches are carved on those walls resembling Greco-Roman nymphaea.

    To enliven the space, a terraced garden is added, containing vegetation and other elements that serve as background and give order to space, and providing an image of inner garden and open public plaza at the same time with a variety of amenities.

    Authors: Linazasoro&Sánchez Arquitectura
    Collaborators: Alba Troitiño Bernal, Andoni Garrán