Transforming Madrid – The Madrid Río Project (2005-2011).

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second section

More geography, less Architecture The Madrid RĂ­o Project (2005-2011). Making an artificial landscape on the urban riverbanks of the Manzanares, Madrid. Burgos & Garrido; Porras - La Casta; RUBIO - A. Sala; WEST 8

The Manzanares River in the centre of Spain sits in a basin that is 69 kilometres long, which begins at an altitude of 2,258 metres in the Guadarrama mountain range and ends in the Jarama River 527 metres above sea level. The river crosses Madrid from north to south. It is a remarkable feature in which highly contrasting situations occur: from the snows of the mountains that last until the end of spring to the dry plains to the south of the basin. The river is fairly inaccessible for virtually its entire course and it often becomes a uneven and almost always unknown geographical feature. Madrid, whose origin was only a few meters from the river, grew away from it. Its changing and floodable riverbed did not allow

from the snows of the mountains (...) to the dry plains to the south of the basin. 38

The City of Madrid and its surrounding landscapes.

constructions to be built nearby until the end of the 1950s, when it was canalised. In 1974, the M-30 motorway was opened and ran parallel to it and very close to its banks, making the river invisible. That infrastructure was in operation for 30 years, preventing any relationship between the river and the city. Between 2004 and 2007, the Madrid city council buried the M-30 and released the area adjacent to the Manzanares River, providing more than 120 hectares very close to the city and full of assets with a high value, which had diminished over the years as a result of the passage of more than 200,000 vehicles per day. 39

2004 Sal贸n de Pinos (Before the tunnels)

2008 Sal贸n de Pinos (Tunnel construction works)

2004 Jardines de la Virgen del Puerto (Before the tunnels)

2008 Jardines de la Virgen del Puerto (Tunnel construction works)

2006 Parque de la Arganzuela (Before the tunnels)

2008 Parque de la Arganzuela (Tunnel construction works)

2004 Avenida de Portugal (Before the tunnels)

2008 Avenida de Portugal (Tunnel construction works)

2011 Sal贸n de Pinos (Urbanization works completed)

2011 Jardines de la Virgen del Puerto (Urbanization works completed)

2011 Parque de la Arganzuela (Urbanization works completed)

Before (underground works of the highway, 2004-2007) and after (Madrid R铆o Project, 2006-2011). 2011 Avenida de Portugal (Urbanization works completed)

The Madrid-Río project was implemented once the M-30 underground works began in order to finally release free space on the river’s banks for the city’s parks. It was carried out in the 2007-2011 period. The start of the project involved trying to understand all the geographic qualities of the river basin. The characteristics of the territory and the diversity of its natural elements made up a set of key aspects forming the basis of many of the ideas incorporated in the project. The twofold operation (burying the M-30 and regenerating the surface area) was carried out thanks to the political context in which the mayor was elected by an absolute majority and had firmly decided to do this as his flagship work during his term. That decision was accompanied by a favorable legal context which helped, through a Special Plan, to introduce all the city regulations that would make the new development area possible. The economic boom in the early 2000s also enabled large construction companies to enter the project with mutual trust between the town hall and the private companies. From the start, there was a period of public participation in which the project was explained and suggestions from associations and citizens were gathered and included in the proposal. Its social dimension was immediately acknowledged when the inhabitants of southeast Madrid, as the new renovated areas were opened, soon started using the green areas, which

Madrid Río section on right bank.

provided a hitherto unheard of function for the river, with the new bridge system, and became a central connection point between the various neighborhoods. The project strategy is based on a progressive approach to the problem through the conviction that the river can make it possible to connect the city with the land to the north and south of Madrid where the natural elements inherent to the river basin still survive. The river thus becomes a door to, or a link between, the urban interior and the territorial exterior: continuity and permeability are set up through its banks, which until now were destroyed by consecutive concentric rings and oppressed by concentric ring roads. On the territorial scale the standards for the starting points were established so that, in the medium term, the regeneration of its banks along the whole of the river’s length as real areas for the integration of human activity with the landscape would be possible, within a contemporary understanding capable of overcoming the antagonism implicit in the urban-rural confrontation. On the metropolitan scale, through the project and its conception as a large infrastructure, the corridor that runs over the riverbanks on its way through the city was incorporated

The river thus becomes a door to, or a link between, the urban interior and the territorial exterior. 43

as part of the GR124 (European Network of Long Distance Footpaths), which by 2011 could already be accessed along its entire length, from Manzanares el Real to Aranjuez. On the urban scale, the project has incorporated the river as a new double line of unprecedented faรงades, and configured a set of connected green spaces that filter into the city. It also establishes a new system of mobility and accessibility; increases the integration and urban quality of the neighborhoods bordering the river; protects and revitalises national heritage sites and detects areas of opportunity that, in this new field of centrality, will be able to generate potential change to the whole of the city in the long term. On the local scale, the proposal was carried out as a radically artificial operation, realised however with eminently natural means. It should be kept in mind that the work was on the whole carried out over an underground infrastructure. The project was implemented over a tunnel, or rather, on the cover of a very complex series of installations serving the buried roads; a concrete building, more than six kilometres long, with extensive

Virgen del Puerto Gardens.

Pine Tree Promenade (copyright: Jeroen Musch).

Segovia Bridges (copyright: Ana M端ller).

and determinant purposes, and with a topography whose logic exclusively obeys the construction of the infrastructure, which emerges unexpectedly at ground level and with which it was necessary to deal. Over this subterranean construction, the chosen solution was based on the use of vegetation as the main construction material. The project established as its general strategy the idea of implementing, wherever possible, a plant layer, almost wood-like in nature, in order to create a landscape of living material over an inert subterranean substratum. The solution is fulfilled in the three main landscape units. First, the Salón de Pinos, or green corridor, which passes by the right bank of the river. This structure enables the continuity of the routes and reacts to its surroundings with the existing bridges, giving rise to different kinds of riverbank gardens. Second, the definitive connection of the old town with the Casa de Campo, a woodland park of more than 1,700 hectares. The Avenida de Portugal, the Huerta de la Partida, the Explanada del Rey and the Jardines de Virgen del Puerto are included in these surroundings. Third, the wide strip on the left bank where the whole of the Parque de la Arganzuela is located, which includes the Matadero centre of contemporary creation and represents the largest area of intensive landscaping in the proposal. In addition to these three landscaping operations, which are consistent with each other, the project proposes 150 interventions of different kinds, a series of formulas to integrate the river with the city and vice versa. These elements guarantee the transition of the new values of the regenerated riverbanks to the nearby surroundings and neighborhoods. With this ripple effect, a succession of operations is anticipated that will ensure far-reaching renovation. From now on and in an irreversible way, a radical and unprecedented metamorphosis is being conceived in Madrid.


Madrid Río Park | International Competition, First Prize Architects | Team director: Ginés Garrido Burgos & Garrido Arquitectos s.l.p. (Francisco Burgos, Ginés Garrido) Porras - La Casta Arquitectos s.c.p. (Fernando de Porras-Isla, Arantxa La Casta) Rubio & Álvarez-Sala Arquitectos (Carlos Rubio, Enrique Álvarez-Sala) West 8. Urban Design & Landscape Architecture b.v. (Adriaan Geuze, Edzo Bindels) Design team | Team coordinator: Javier Malo de Molina Madrid Team: Samir Alaoui, Irene Álvarez de Miranda, Jaime Álvarez, Silvia Aydillo, Pierre Banchet, María Bandrés, Araceli Barrero, Carlos Carnicer, Rocío Caro, Almudena Carro, Sergio del Castillo, Alicia Colmenarejo, Isabel Cuellas, María Angleles Fernández, Carlos Fernández, María Jesús Franco, Gabriela Galíndez, Elena Garicano, Eduardo González, Maya González, Miguel Ángel López-Mir, Raquel Lozano, Marina del Mármol, Agustín Martín, Rocío Martín, Raquel Marugán, Gemma Montañez, Eleucidio Moreno, Víctor Muñoz, Matías Nieto, Emilio Ontiveros, María Ortega, Ana Palancarejo, Susana Paz, Nerea del Pozo, Lucía Prado, Jonás Prieto, Eduardo Ruiz de Assín, Ramiro Sánchez, Marco de Simone, Emma Simonsson, Juan Tur. Rotterdam Team: Christian Dobrick, Freek Boerwinkel, Karsten Buchholz, Lennart van Dijk, Juan Figueroa, Michael Gersbach, Madalen González, Enrique Ibáñez, Joost Koningen, Sander Lap, Silvia Lupini, Perry Maas, Ricardo Minghini,Eva Recio, Marta Roy, Carlos Saldarriaga, Alexander Sverdlov, Mariana Siqueira, Shachar Zur. Developer Ayuntamiento de Madrid, Área de Gobierno de Urbanismo y Vivienda, Dirección de Proyectos Singulares