Garellano Master Plan

International competition | Finalist. Second Phase

Bilbao. Spain | 2009

Bilbao Ria 2000

Within the physical framework of the enlargement of the city of Bilbao, the planning of the Garellano area means operating within one of its most important boundaries: the west. Accordingly, the proposal takes advantage of the strong geometric condition of the 19th century block by extending it to the relevant scope. The streets’ layout is naturally extended to end up adapting the urban grid to blocks of a size that is more appropriate for the new requirements and concurring scales. So, the side of the already existing grid (100 m.) is reduced to forty meters. 

After defining such order, the applicable area is unified to generate a large plot where traffic takes second place. The result is a landscaped area (140 m. wide by 180 m. long) containing the new blocks, as well as a framework of pedestrian passages and restricted traffic roads. Considering the small density of green areas within Bilbao’s enlargement, the opportunity is taken to offer the city a unique garden –of the greatest extension– equipped with some amenities as well as a forest of autochthonous trees. Ultimately, a Central Park, a meeting place, and a part of nature that is useful not only for residents, but also for all citizens. 

The single block is circumscribed to a square of a dimension that allows to subdivide it into three thirteen meters wide sections, a suitable dimension for residential units of double or single orientation. The result is three-body block, a lower one with a square floor plan, in the form of a commercial boulevard; and two higher ones of variable height (three, twelve or twenty-five floors). This unit may be used as constitutive principle, given that it may be repeated and adapted to the sun light, the satisfaction of the residential program and the visual configuration of the city. Four towers of twenty-five floors are built on each of the plot’s corners, while the lower buildings or the lower facades of the higher buildings are looking towards the inside of the park. The first decision serves to limit the perception of the relevant area and offer an urban milestone that is visible from a distance. And the second one solves a difficult equation that includes the variables of great density, public spaces with sunlight and human scale public areas.