Paseo de Ronda Opening
Location: The Walls, Pamplona
Client: Pamplona City Hall, Urban Project
1st Prize Project Contest. 1st Prize SIMAcities 2006. Finalist COAVN 2010 Prizes
The city of Pamplona has a boundary to the north defined by a piece of wall that saves an important slope to the Arga river basin. This topographic feature has historically defined an insurmountable barrier for a north expansion of the city and has turned the historic town centre into a cul-de-sac , which has contributed to its deterioration in time due to a lack of necessary activity that attracted the citizen and contributed towards a real social transformation of the zone.
The project develops the actions established in the Urban Projectunder the generic term Paseo de Ronda´s Opening Projectthat consist on the mechanic pedestrian connexion between the historic centre and the Rochapea neighbourhood, the execution of acivic building for exhibitions and other associated uses in the catering trade that contribute to the area´s socio-cultural revival, the paving and illumination of the corresponding part of Paseo de Ronda and the restoration of the front walls as well as a vegetation treatment of the incline.
Our objective was to gain, for the city, an urban and pedestrian "interchanger" that would, embedded in the historic centre and, adding to the walls, become a part of Pamplona´s entire cultural interest. The actuation had to welcome diverse pedestrian transits in a site with a very reduced area. It was a surgery operation, not only because of the space but also for the existing buildings, the wall itself, with an invariable position, and for the difficulties of access to the area.
We abandoned the possibility of a mimetic actuation with its surroundings, since the project involved a substantial change, both because of the new programme and because of its necessary transformation into a public scale. It was nonetheless desired that both building and mechanic connexion would be respectful with the surrounding area, that holds an indisputable monumental and scenic value.
The project is conceived as a new entrance to the city with an elevated symbolic value, the building´s round volume shelters the height of the colliding buildings and wraps up both the connexion´s lounge space and the glass passage that communicates the street with Paseo de Ronda.
As a solution to the mechanic pedestrian connexion, a contemporary postern is projected, which saves the piece of wall without affecting the image of the whole. It is a seemingly simple idea that entails a great technical complexity.
The underground gallery is built through structural reinforced concrete frames of a great height that are leaning, step by step, on the healthy rock. The top one supports the corresponding earth filling until acquiring a perfect integration with the rest of the incline. Internally, it is coated by aluminium composite panels that offer a smooth and bright contrast to the heavy walled character of the whole. Two inclined glass and steel elevators will carry daily around 1.200 people per hour.