Benidorm Beachfront Promenade
Benidorm is perhaps the one Spanish town where the massive industry of leisure and tourism has turned into a paradigm, the promenade in Benidorm, a new transitional location between built city and the natural space of sea and beach, was officially opened in July 2009.
The proposal for the Benidorm West Beach Promenade puts forward a radical innovation with respect to the result of the other promenades with which we are acquainted.
Normally, seaside promenades are designed with the object of building a line along the seashore to project the building a line along the seashore to protect the built-up areas from the sea breakers, at the same time as organising a transit area parallel to the coast and building the seafront façades of the towns and villages along the same lines.
The proposal for the Benidorm West Beach Promenade was designed as a transit area that would, apart from the various problems arising such as the sewage drainage, rainwater courses, access to the beach without architectural barriers, access to the underground parking areas underneath the promenade itself, etc…Facilitate the promenade for this to become a place with its own lifestyle. With an organic layout, recreating the shape of the cliffs and the waves, the project included unusual honeycombed surfaces generating areas of light and shadow, convexities and concavities making up a series of platforms and levels allowing their use as play, leisure and meditation areas.
The project subsumes three different essences within the organic forms of modernism: the forms of fractal geometry in nature; the latest building technologies; and avant-garde landscape design. The new promenade leaves nothing to chance but grows out of setting up a number of specific laws, a geometrical ground plan and modulation. A constructional logic is thus established, facilitating its modulation in sections. All the functional aspects are brought together: the promenade, rest and relaxation area, vantage point, transition to the beach, architectural barriers, direct access to parking, rainwater collectors, beach lighting, road communication, integration of street furniture, services infrastructure, and so on.
The promenade was constructed with just one material, this being white concrete, incorporating the benches and street furniture in varied shapes, differencing the finish of the pavements by means of various.
A new landside frontage is constructed, providing views of the sea and the beach from the upper level of the promenade, and a new borderline established, integrating the different circulations in its undulations and platforms, eliminating a barrier and constructing a place for people to be in.
Completed in 2009, the architects’ solution is a sinuous structure comprising a sculptural concrete shell and brilliantly color-coded, landscaped tile paths punctuated by stairways and ramps that provide universal access to the town and beach. A slender “boardwalk” winds around the base for strolling, bicycling, and jogging.
A visual and functional tour de force, OAB’s new Benidorm promenade is so successful, says architect and team member Borja Ferrater, that the “City Hall has commissioned us to extend it for about 500 more meters [1,600 feet].” More important, he notes, “Everybody likes it. Not only the architects, but the people who go there.”
Project name: Benidorm Beachfront Promenade
Location: Benidorm, Alicante, Valencia, Spain
Coordinates: 38.536552, -0.147907
Type: Urban Design, Beachfront Promenade, Public Space, Pedestrian / Street Landscape
Construction Year: 2005 – 2009
Complation Year: July 2009
Client / Owner / Developer: Generalitat Valenciana – Ajuntament De Benidorm
Landscape Architects: OAB – Office of Architecture in Barcelona
Project Architects: Carlos Ferrater, Xavier Martí Galí
Project Team: Luca Cerullo, Núria Ayala, Sofia Machado dos Santos, David Jiménez, David Abondano, ESTRUCTURA: PONDIO. Juan Calvo
Project manager: Luca Cerullo
Structures: Juan Calvo. Pondio
Contractor: Ecisa- Dragados
Text Description: © Courtesy of OAB
Images: © Alejo Bagué