Parque Alcalá de los Gazules

“Alcalá de Los Gazules” park unfolds around an elevated bastion, on an extreme topography, peering vertiginously at the horizon from the edges of its historic core to where the narrow and sloping streets reach. This proposal is built on a clear idea: that of offering the citizens of Alcalá a completely flat, horizontal space, located halfway up the slope of the new city park. A place that solves existing problems while creating new opportunities for the community. A foundation, a strategy for the future, a trigger for balanced dynamics.

Alcalá́ de Los Gazules is located in the heart of the Alcornocales Natural Park. Sufficient condition to seek a balance in the way of intervening and respect for the environment. The North slope apparently corresponds to an Alcornocal understory-forest system in which various types of combinations can be found. The existing topography is a great feature of the place with its own identity, so the transformation of its current state was minimized. It was hardly punctually shaped in order to find a logic of transformation with structures built in the intermediation of urbanized space.

The implementation strategy is to maintain the existing ecosystem and install a new vegetation layer of the same type of vegetation system and combinations such as Pistacia lentiscus, Cistus ladanifer, Cistus salvifolius, Crataegus monogyna, Rhamnus alaternus or Teucrium fruticans, Teline linifolia. The improvement of the soil with new plant contributions, especially indigenous ones, comes to contribute to the enrichment of a degraded area. We believe it is important to try to repopulate with seeds from the nearby populations to avoid that the project involves a genetic intrusion in the local populations of these species. The park translates into a dynamic that corresponds to the articulation of two different areas, on the one hand, a high area between the town and the intermediate promenade, densely vegetated from efficient irrigation management; and on the other hand the low area, with very low maintenance requirements where the use of water resources is made in a limited way, seeking its own autonomy through surface runoff provided by the existing topography. Within these, we would easily locate a water line where the vegetation is lusher and from that line, this mass will be diluted until it becomes point trees. The selection of undemanding shrub and herbaceous species will be taken into account. In this area under the horizontal walk where the pedestrian paths flow, the duality of its sinuous expression among the trees is explored. Small tree masses accompany these paths, reinforcing their movement.

Any added element has as a condition to adapt as much as possible to the terrain, to the physical characteristics of the place, land that is removed island that is replaced elsewhere. The accompanying winding path system

The topography aims to bring the human being closer to the landscape, its richness and diversity, generating leisure spaces, quiet walks, bike tours, horseback riding. A new green space created for local people, a park with the potential to provide an improvement in its quality of life, a space implanted to enjoy all year round, to accompany the dynamics of vegetation, the dynamics of space.

Facing autonomous solutions to existing concrete problems, we propose generic support for future requirements. The key, however, is managing this versatility. A space like the one we propose, which may one day be a large tourist car park and another day an antique book fair, requires management of its use, which also implies teaching its value. Doing this, it seems to us, is a good investment because it means a better use by citizens and therefore a greater enjoyment of resources as well as their better conservation. We, therefore, propose a work that begins in the urban proposal but that must continue in the field of civic management, looking for programs that make sense of the new infrastructure, that fill it with life, that allows new forms of use to take place. This is the great opportunity that we see, and that we understand can be agreed upon by the people.

A Park is a living structure, and it is also a complex functional and economic structure. These two images are closely related, not only because an ecologically decontextualized system is economically difficult, but also because an ecologically compatible structure needs continuous support, through maintenance, cleaning and security actions. We propose a structure based on the balance between maintenance costs and returns from the attribution of the concessions (the solar orchard on the parking lots, among others) and based on very low maintenance costs.

We act in the sense of reversing in favour of the Park everything that we find on the land, all the pre-stocks: the topography whose manipulation, although very light, almost imperceptible, is the fundamental engine to unleash it from all the transformation processes positive of the place, the water regime, because of the powerful way it introduces a sense of seasonality, of the passage of time, of the essential rhythms of nature, an earlier artificial transformation fold that reveals a certain and particular intensity of light.

The operation seeks to approach a fundamental objective: working with very little to achieve great results, knowing the essential nature of a position that works with the understanding of natural mechanisms, finding new dynamics that fit into those mechanisms.

The proposal allows us to perceive a solution for the concretion of the exchange strategy between the regional mobility system (automobile) and the new urban mobility systems adapted to the road capacity and identity of the historic centre of Alcalá́ de Los Gazules: minibuses, taxis and electric rental cars, bicycles, … Building a new mobility model for the city is also creating a new way of managing the use of public space, and of perceiving it from a new perspective.

Junta de Andalucía.

Opera, Septiembre Arquitectura, Daniel de Reparaz.

Santi Fuentemilla, Samuel Martin, Joao Filipe Silva, Nuno Glvao.

Alcalá de los Gazules