Braided Valley Walkways en Elche
2012 - 2014
European Award of Urban Space 2014
FAD Award of City and Landscape 2014
The International Architectural Award 2014 | The Chicago Athanaeum
Iconic Awards 2015 | German Design Council
IQU | Premio Innovazione e qualità Urbana 2016
José Manuel Castillejo
The bed of a river as border and limit between its shores. A marginal neighborhood facing a forgotten landscape. The opportunity to sew the scar, braiding the park, to breathe life into the vascular system of its roads. The roads get to the river, they take momentum and they launch towards the other shore, saving the emptiness, and at the same time, filling the whole intervention with sense.
The walkways become the seam that connects both sides. The paths become smooth and uninterrupted walkways, and like them, branch out, looking for new directions, even the return. The structural challenge of resolving the bifurcation in the middle of a gap involves the search for the limit of what is possible. An "U" section of reinforced concrete, taking advantage of the rigid planes of the railings, seems to solve the problem of the flexion derived from the big distance between supports. But the intermediate fork, interrupting the main plane of the railing, raises the difficulty as much as the passion to solve it. The post-tensioned is discarded due to the curved, organic and braided geometry of the walkways, leaving only the brute force of the reinforced concrete available.
Clusters of metallic tubular supports emerge, which, together with central concrete ribs, reduce the distance between the points of support enough to achieve an adequate joint behaviour.
And yet hidden from the view of all, the greatest level of difficulty is beneath the beds of the channel, where an incapable ground, the result of accumulation and deposit, forces a foundation by floating piloting subjected to enormous lateral efforts due to the bow thrust caused by the tracing of the walkways.