Pormetxeta Square / MTM Architects + XPIRAL

© David Frutos

Architects: MTM Architects - Javier Fresneda Puerto & Javier Sanjuán Calle + XPIRAL - Javier Peña Galiano
Location: Barakaldo, Vizcaya, Spain
Collaborators: : Jesús Barranco; Álvaro Maestro; Miguel García-Redondo; Zaloa Mayor; Marianne Richardot; María Rey; Fátima López; Álvaro Maestro; Architects: Malte Eglinger; Sergio Corredor; Maren Kläschen; Maud Thiery; Daniel Cano; Fernando Such; Lola Jiménez; María José Marcos
Completion: 2010
Budget Contract: 8.543.353,44 €
Cost: / sqm: 309,94€/sqm
Construction: 25,223 sqm
Photographs: David Frutos, Juan de la Cruz Megías, Suravia, S.A


© David Frutos

The new Pormetxeta Square, located close to the Nervion River, was the result of the Competition “Europan VI” developed in 2001. The project was selected to take part in the Spanish Architecture Exhibition –On Site- that was organized at MoMA from New York in 2006; recently the exhibited model was acquired by the museum for the permanent collection.

© David Frutos

Industrial identity
The district of Barakaldo is situated on a very steep slope above the Nervion River, where a complex urban planning was developed in the Sixties and was lead by “Blast Furnace from Vizcaya”. The proposal was to provide it with a new geographical identity, by scrapping and removing the last urban planning that Urban-Galindo had created for this area.

© David Frutos

Marrow of Urban Perme ability
We modified the existing planning in order to create the New Square of Barakaldo (25.223m2), The benefits of which were two-fold for the city: on the one hand a new access point to the urban centre, on the other hand a better fluidity and mobility from the city to the river, due to the fact that the industrial factories were shut in the permeability of the city.

© David Frutos

Equipped Communications Arteries
The very steep slope of the plot was scan as an opportunity for the creation of a new urban typology. It was possible to take advantage of the 20-meters difference between the upper and bottom level of the plot, to build an equipped slope, “the Pormetxeta Square”, with the following strategy:

© Suravia, S.A

First of all several accesses and approach are linked: the railway platform, the highway connection, the entry towards the promenade river, the pedestrian and road streets, the access from the high and low street, the Desert Square, the school …

Secondly we saved all the space under each “Pormetxeta Ramp” in order to get 2.341m2 of commercial and service public facility.


The third advantage is working as a micro-public space: micro-squares, meeting points, rest stands, outdoor stays, in other words building a phenomenological sequence.

Finally, it acts as a multifunctional element, it works as street furniture, balustrade, pergola, lantern… creating a very well-equipped place.

cover plan

The Animated square
The Pormetxeta Square is found under the long ramps. There are some holes that qualify the space with playgrounds and lend it a unique topography. Big artificial trees 11.5m tall, made of COR-TEN steel, hang boulders on the cup of the tree, and work as a parasol. Beneath them, all you can hear are the laughter of children, the roller skaters, people talking…

The Pormetxeta Square and its different levels of access make up a unique and independent project, whose contrasts intensify their purpose.

Architecture vs Urbanism
Our aim it is to build for a city. Understanding the public space and private space as a cross between the urban and model building, Architecture and Urbanism are mixed at all times. Consequently we have planned an urban strategy as a business and dialogue platform between citizens, creating a new social cohesion.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Pormetxeta Square / MTM Architects + XPIRAL" 28 May 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 Mar 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=237907>