Aranzadi Park

CONCURSO INTERNACIONAL DE IDEAS PARA LA REDACCIÓN DEL PROYECTO Y POSTERIOR GESTIÓN DE LA OBRAS DEL PARQUE DE ARANZADI

The competition proposal mirrored quite clearly this duality of functional spaces, intrinsically connected by the common celebration of Aranzadi and its produce. On the one hand an urban park, which simplifies the complex territory, including private residences, their gardens, uncultivated land, public spaces, greenhouses and vegetable gardens. An informal park, incorporating some pre-existing elements and other new ones, with high load bearing capacity and great attractiveness. On the other hand na agricultural park, capable of incorporating the areas of agricultural production, occupying the peripheral riverside areas, and adding a new layer of leisure, culture and education. Nevertheless it was not our intention that these two functionally and formally separate areas, work in isolation. On the contrary, our interesting line of reasoning was to create a complementary interaction between the two, conceptually, functionally and visually.

The definition of the proposal from a methodological standpoint was made at the cost of including some principles of transformation:

— Clarification of the definition of the spaces – especially in regard to the separation between agricultural areas and urban park areas. This definition would be made according, even if indirectly so, to flooding. Gentle floods are something that productive soil is capable of dealing with and sometimes even needs (agricultural areas); conversely protection from flooding is an essential requirement of urbanity(urban green areas);

— Perceptive and functional organization – the proposal of a physical separation between flood areas and dry areas – a levee or dike – would simultaneously be an organizational component in the spatial distribution of flow and function, and an essential referential element useful for the interpretation of the space as well as for the connection to the outside. This new altimetry would not be a structural alteration of existing reality but would be directly associated to the present morphology of the terrain, as a hydrological and spatial differentiator.

— Urban-rural synergetic complementarities – attained through the intimate connection between horticultural areas and urban park areas, using a shared usage approach to unite the differentiated areas in one: market gardens as source for programs, visits and education; urban park areas as welcoming, informal reception areas.

— Integration in the urban context – using countless pedestrian and cycling routes over the river to open up Aranzadi as a crossing area, with a view to reinforcing the coherence of the various urban fabrics.

— Promotion of the local produce: Aranzadi doc – the celebration of the quality and the uniqueness of Aranzadi produce as a programmatic leitmotif to all the intervention, making it into a museum and programmatic centre for the promotion of regional produce, encouraging theme restaurants and attempting to place local products in international markets.

We believe that apart from being highly important instruments for the recovery of run-down urban areas and the improvement of urban living conditions, parks with rural-urban complementarities work as an interest point for tourists and as significant scenarios in the collective imagery.

Even though there seems to be a strong trend on the European political scene to ignore or lose highly productive land inside urban perimeters (by building development, desertification or urban occupation), we believe that, on a contemporary global scale where essential goods tend to become increasingly more expensive, we may be at a crossroads in the redefinition of urban, in which agriculture might acquire a predominant role in a community’s survival and mutual assistance between populations.

We have tried to formulate our solutions in such a way as to suit the existing agricultural land to the new desire for city life, aware of the value of the complementary uses a place like this offers to the people who visit it. Undoubtedly an urban/agricultural space like Aranzadi is one of the strongest tools for urban regeneration.

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