Aim of the Intervention
We believe that there are in our cities historic centers several potential and wonderful spaces that require not only an urban revitalization but a new way to understand, to use, to feel, to live them because they are getting lost on behalf of private transport. The General Plan main goal was to generate a progressive pedestrianization of several streets in Seville centre as well as to expand public transport in this area. The contest task consisted in developing a strategy that, through a large-scale action on a specific group of streets and squares, could support these objectives.
Our intervention intended to generate a civic re-apropriation program which was based on two main guidelines:
01 - On the one hand, to convert this place into a didactic “spot” in the city, highlighting its magnificent past, but exempt of myths and topics, with the intent of provoking culture, so that historical and urban processes reach a wide range of people, consequently generating respect from the citizens through knowledge.
02 - On the other hand, to create a phisical connection between two parts of the city, one urban and one historic: the public space allow to discover the ruin and to live it, and the old aqueduct give a special and unique atmosphere to the square. The intervention rescue the places that were being used as parking lots for private vehicles by employing a design that contemplates the user’s limitations and peculiarities and at the same time to stimulate a compatible activities programs, what in a disperse and spontaneous way is already happening in some plazas in Seville old town. The ambition of the intervention is to create a dinamic public space moving THROUGH the city, not just standing above it.
Description of the Intervention
To obtain the first of the guidelines appointed, we have designed what we started to call LA PIEL SENSIBLE, the sensible skin, and it has turned to be the slogan of the urban planning.
The sensible skin was the way we called the intervention on a series of urban spaces closely connected that we treated as if they were a palimpsesto where each urban process erased the previous one, but inevitably left us some lines, references or remains that might be interpreted and that were capable of generating a pavement. La Plaza de la Pescadería is one of this processes, situated in the heart of the Sevilla’s historic center and above the aqueductum called Aqua Hispalensae.
Our proposal starts analyzing the underground structure of the aqueductum and his relatinship with the city above. The tank of the Pescaderia is a part of the ancient Roman water net, starting from outside Sevilla. It is a rectangular 45 x 20 mt structure, divided in three bays allowing the water flow by two big doors.
The biggest part of the aqueductum is situated underground: in this way, the new square can take the same level of the roman’s square, creating a physical connection between the present urban reality and the old Roman urban space.
We intend to visualise the different sensibility of special archaeological layers, the various information about the urban transformation of the area, since the hypothesis of Roman origin to the last urban works and we merged them in a juxtaposition process that reflects a code of lines and surfaces. This code represents the sewing of a pattern of occupation and modification of our skin.
To this information about deep strata are added the parameters that will constitute the appearance of the skin, the material to be used and its texture. These parameters are based on available data about the various uses and the corporations that occupied the streets and plazas of the area for centuries and that are still present today in their toponymy.
Therefore, to the rules brought about by the distinct succeeding cities, one over the other, is added the use of materials and forms which evoke past human activities.
So, in a basic pavement of granite flagstones, inlays are incorporated to suggest some themes: glaze ceramic, galvanized and stainless steel and different colours remind us the concrete origin of the various spaces of this area.
To obtain the second action guideline we should focus on two points: design and activity. Through the proposed design we seek to convert the public space into a big multifunctional carpet where an infinite range of activities could take place, without any limit of gender age, or cultural background.
We propose that the free spaces projected include what we call “directions of compensate design”, that is, to balance, through the design of the different urban elements, the singularities that has each kind of user, be it because of sex, age, physical impairment or limitations or cultural singularities. In this, way the design should turn into a tool that stimulates the use by the largest number of potential users. On the other hand, the free space proposed is intent to be welcoming and take into account in its design the city climate characteristics including masses of trees and vegetation on a flat granite pavement with a surface texture to make it adherent even when wet.
The furniture is apt to a wide range of potential users, increasing heterogeneity in its design, in its dimensions and eliminating any proposal that represents an architectonic barrier. With this intervention we aim to create a space where we can develop activities of a social character, of communication and of gathering with other people and where it is possible to express in an integrated way our cultural and social identity. Thus, we insist in aspects such as functionality (the best possible capacity to accept activity), the accessibility (eliminating architectonic barriers and improvement of public transport) and security (better lighting and clear itineraries).
And finally we claim the need of flexibility of use for the different users: bikes, wheelchairs, baby trolleys, etc.