EMPOWERED LANDSCAPE UNIT
The last site left on the West cornice of Madrid has become an opportunity to consolidate the urban tissue and revitalize one of the critical historic spots of the city. The Bailén Axis was the first consolidation process of the city connecting the aristocratic North platform of the Royal Palace and the working-class neighborhoods of the south. It also became a milestone in the original outline of the hill facing the river Manzanares, emphasizing the height difference of the urban limit.
Also, part of the cloister of the religious complex on the cornice had to be demolished leaving San Francisco el Grande alone in the new context.
As a landscape unit, the project considers different levels of action and integration; the urban consolidation of the Bailén axis in both cross and longitudinal directions filling in the gap that San Francisco needed, the establishment of routes that connect the historic center with the cornice and the intensification of use through a system that enables the change of the site’s essence without losing its nature.
Infrastructure understood as the underlying law needed to understand an action. Thus, this site empowers the city of Madrid.
Infrastructures are the city itself and as so, we have to consider their will to be public and universal, and give major flexibility for social and common use. This rigorous concept brings forward the system for the proposal, which assumes the hill (slope) as landscape infrastructure.
The working process considers materials and shapes that create a system such, that lasts in time and is integrated in the landscape. The change in the distance of the project creates a new close vertical landscape and long-distance views (horizontal panorama), without affecting the vision of the cornice when approaching the city from outside.
A system of steel sheet pile walls is introduced, for its geometry, materiality and execution are able to temper the slope of the site without radical changes in level and define the different settings, which are as follows: a horizontal landscape on the top area, a vertical intensified landscape combined with the park at middle height, and the bottom area confining the rest of the plot, which acts as a hidden parking lot.
Adapting its shape to get benefit from this new situation, the landscape unit is empowered with maximum program where maximum slope occurs and regulates minor slopes opening up small scale clearings that serve as places for leisure, resting, thinking, walking, away from high-density spaces.
The use of very few elements that create various combinations allows the system to prioritize and control size, use, budget, etc.
-Metal sheet pile walls are driven into the ground reducing the excavation volume and enhancing the geometry and function of the system.
-Metal sheet beams act as joining elements of parallel retaining walls and partition for intense use.
-Folded metal floor pieces are put together under pressure between parallel walls.
The system as infrastructure fulfills the need of the city to have flexible social and common uses that ensure their need in time, independent of their temporary program. It allows the progressive adaption to the necessary growth that new program may demand. Therefore we include a series of exterior and interior program activities, underlining its temporary character. No use will take over exterior space, which must remain open for everyone, a place where neighbors and tourists can meet, and where all the integration units work at all levels.