LocationElche, Alicante, Spain
Design TeamFrancisco Leiva Ivorra, Marta García Chico, Antoni Baile Jiménez Prócoro del Real Baeza
Technical ArchitectCristina Alesón Carbonell, Maria Jesús Baeza Alemany
CollaboratorsMartín López Robles, Luis Navarro Jover, Benjamín Javier Pérez López, Marian Almansa Frías, Jordi Quiñonero Oltra, Anna Pont Solbes, Ágata Alcaraz Vicente
Text description provided by the architects. The twisted valley aims to recover the pedestrian’s traffic footprint. Since the channeling works that were made in the 70s definitely skewed Elche’s Canyon continuity. For years the citizens of the city went through this place hardly enjoying it.
This landform (which reaches 40 meters deep) gives the city a chance to travel in a few minutes to an area of high environmental quality. We propose a system which can be adapted to the geographical and administrative complexities of the place, negotiating with all agents who claim the space as their own, to make it more accessible and multiply the public use of the steep slopes.
The system shows its flexibility being adjusted through a participatory process that grouped for citizens and collectives of the city for a month. The main points toconnect, areas of special interest,the most requestedroutes,a large collection ofdesireduses...were incorporated into the project and began to define the braid.
After this first step, the system was testedagain,managingthe complex and contradictoryrelations betweenmultiple administrativeinterlocutorsresponsible for the place: Confederación hidrográfica del Jucar, Consellería de MedioAmbiente, Consellería de Patrimonio, Comunidad de Regantes de la Acequia de Marchena, Aguas de Elche… and Elche City Hall.
The system aims to give voice to the Vinalopó river. The sinuous braids have no relation to the orthogonality of the city. These squiggly lines shape thes lopes. Offer more comfortable routes and incorporate the possibility of crossing the river to continue the ride. The roads that float on the untouchable riverbed of concrete, become the heroes of the reconquest. And they blur the difference between bridge and path, becoming a graphic thought solved by a material abstraction. A single bridge becomes a network of trails which fold, bend, stretch, tighten, disperse, curve, and of course twist. The vegetation is also a material. Native species and trees help to build the shadow of the forest. A system based on the experience, understanding and empathy to connect with elegance, both sections which divide Elche.
The valley has already started plaiting, now reduced to infraestucturales minimum, and over time they will allow the flourishing of urban activities.