Extension of Santurce Park

Santurce, Biscay. Spain | 2009

Santurce City Council

The extension of the Central Park of Santurce raises the question of how to handle very central urban spaces faced with natural limits as evocative as the coast. On this point it’s necessary to remember that, during the last century, the city faced the insurmountable physical barrier of a railway and a highway which inhibited it from its legitimate growth toward the Port. Its neuralgic center was physically divided –even though not visually– in two large sections that worked uncomfortably separated. Park, Promenade and Port comprise, in fact, an architectural, scenic and social unit waiting to be put together.

Functionality of the project is therefore of primary concern, just as sensitivity to location and climate, interaction among residents and the capacity of the design to generate new, attractive leisure and tourist activities are driving forces of the proposal. Consequently, and taking into consideration the location and its history, the project reinterprets the strong horizontal condition of the area in question uniting it materially, enriching it with an extensive landscaping –one hundred meters long and thirty-six wide– and equipping it with particular horizontal buildings designated for community leisure and tourist promotion.

Due to the new underground parking, planting of large trees is limited to the perimeter, a limitation which can be used to advantage as it offers an unhindered area suitable for sports and large assemblies. This choice of a versatile and flexible design of a grassy turf is compatible with any type of urban activity, ultimately a great green surface both visually pleasing and functional. Beyond the present line of the railway a new paved surface continues that, through the use of materials associated with the surroundings such as wood and stone (granite and concrete), achieves a unified horizontal plane with a single dimensional criteria. Creosote treated wood, used on the decks and hulls of boats, is used for the pedestrian areas located beneath the two proposed buildings. Granite and concrete are used in the proximities of the port and shipyards.