Urbanistic development and intervention on the landscape

Serra Grossa, Alicante

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Landscape integration of the Tram line

José María Urzelai y Eduardo de Miguel, arquitectos

FAD Award 2009  City and landscape opinion
Description Technical file

A project for the landscape integration of the tram infrastructure, whose new line borders the Serra Grossa and crosses one of the most representative landscapes of the city of Alicante, creating a great vantage point over the Mediterranean.
In Alicante, to the left of the Serra Grossa and specifically in the sierra de Santa Ana and taking advantage of the proximity of a small quay, the refinery La Británica was installed in the late nineteenth century. It later passed into the hands of CAMPSA which, in the year 1966, decided to move the depot to the western docks, abandoning the Serra Grossa installations and leaving them to fall into oblivion until the current project.
In short, the character of this space situated at the foot of the hill was defined by its industrial past as a strategic location, the site for a refinery, with galleries and depots excavated in the rocky nucleus, with mouths opening on to an existing quarry. A tough landscape accentuated by the sunlight and sea salt, with planes formed from stone slabs showing the marks of what preceded it. A place that stood against the sea and now appears banded in by the frontier of the infrastructures and constructions that distanced it from that sea.
The new Tram line and the location of the La Sangueta stop have become the perfect excuse for creating a new pedestrian route on an artificial stage that skilfully uses the existing stage set. The intervention has consisted of building a minimal number of elements for the functional use of this spot, building and developing a site that would accompany the tracks and a promenade that fits into the interstice left between the remains of the refinery, the depots and the quarry; facing it, in front of the largest, oldest and most spectacular cut, is the Tram plaza and stop that has been developed by the project.
In this spectacular setting it was decided to use a single material as a basis for the different architectural interventions: exposed concrete, applied on walls and paving to build a powerful plinth for the hill, which is roughly cut into hewn planes marked by the sunlight.
Platforms, handrails, a bench, pine trees, gutters, gates as well as the lighting and the different industrialised elements that constitute the urban furnishings are all made from galvanised steel, as is the case in the majority of infrastructures.
Evaluation of the jury
The creation of a new urban tram line is the occasion for rescuing a public space in a rejected and abandoned area: an old refinery and many subterranean excavations such as depots and fuel stores. The project reintegrates and reinterprets the spatial and material quality of the place. A fragile landscape where the solutions are both potent and minimalist.

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Emplazamiento: Serra Grossa, Alicante. Autores: José María Urzelai y Eduardo de Miguel, arquitectos. Aparejador: Pere Sabater. E. Adjudicataria: UTE Tranvía Goteta. Cyes / Cobra / Intervías. Promotor: Ente Gestor de la Red de Transporte y Puertos de la Generalitat. Consejería de Infraestructuras y Transporte. Generalitat Valenciana. Fotografía: Duccio Malagamba.
Eduardo De Miguel Arbonés
Urzelai, Jose María