roberto ercilla: mechanical ramps
roberto ercilla: mechanical ramps roberto ercilla: mechanical ramps
jul 05, 2012

roberto ercilla: mechanical ramps

‘mechanical ramps’ by roberto ercilla, vitoria, spain all images courtesy of roberto ercilla

bisecting the center of vitoria in northern spain and climaxing at the cultural center, roberto ercilla’s ‘mechanical ramps’ improve accessibility for the local community from one end of town to the other in a protected and constantly transforming sequence, punctuated by sections of level ground which open to the exterior. analogous to frames in a film, the one-meter intervals stainless steel structures progressively offset from the previous, causing an overall perception of a free-flowing twisting interior space. views from the moving walkways are controlled along the way through the same principle: at a distance the form seems solid and continuous while at the user’s current position they will be exposed to the surrounding environment, maintaining visual interest throughout their experience.

as the town suffers from extreme weather conditions from summer to winter, environmental issues were taken into account in the design of the walkways. the glass canopy protects pedestrians from natural elements, while at the same time reflecting a high percentage of direct sunlight along with small slits at the edges to naturally ventilate the space. the project is also strategically oriented on the site to benefit from the shade created by the adjacent buildings.  

geo coordinates: 42° 50′ 55” N  ,  2° 40′ 20” W

canton de la soledad





site plan

floor plan


top: solar studies bottom: section

section: natural ventilation and direct sunlight reflectance

section: natural ventilation and direct sunlight reflectance

  • perfect !

    sylvbouy says:
  • Lazy people!

    Fabisan says:
  • What are this stairs for? people is getting week nowadays…I guess there is a gym in the top…

    tirururuuruuuuu says:
  • paid by western europe?

    le says:
  • what? no wheelchair provisions? how politically incorrect!

    dbkii says:
  • Sorry but how old are you? When you get 60-70 you´ll understand why these mechanical devices are for. back to the subject: I´d rather see the cover in curves rather than square edges. Anyhow, excellent idea.

    Sergio Stanislauskas says:
  • I’ve been to Spain and many other cities in Europe and they often don\’t have facilities for handicaps to walk around that easy I must say that this is a good idea for people who have mobility restrictions, mostly for the elderly….So I would not think this is a “I’m lazy” issue. I would say that if it was built on USA.

    Arq. Andros says:
  • I am with Sergio.. Rounds, and it is certainly useful for older people or women with small children. To help them, you also have to allow the lazy turds to ride. Hire students to help the handicap with access. Make a roll-on/clip-on chair.

    Andros.. if build in the USA – it would be on the flat. We are now 20kilos heavier than the World average weight .. walking is HARD.

    I would hate to own an apartment above this.

    Jim C. says:
  • I think this is more a design luxury rather than a ramp made to help the handicap. It could have been done so much cheaper to maintain and still be able to accomplish that purpose (if this was the original purpose to start with). Resources cannot be spend this easily in this world. A good design have to serve people, not the other way round.

    Germán says:
  • While I appreciate the good design, from these photos the construction seems to be a large intrusion into the public space.

    They could have solved the problem by having a few electric wheelchairs top and bottom that were free to use the way some cities have free bicycles.

    jj says:

    looks like someone copied someone else…

    sasha obama says:
  • Oh, so expensive

    GEP says:
  • yes,paid by western europe ….as spain is when buying the audis, porches, alstom trains, fosters ( etc ) projects…. by other side I do not like this project so much.

    juangar says:
  • Know what’s better than this? Not doing this.

    Matty W says:
  • yes,paid by western europe ….as spain is when buying the audis, porches, alstom trains, fosters ( etc ) projects…. by other side I do not like this project so much.

    juangar says:
  • is this mechanical thing a good choice ? i don\’t think so . especially for this environment .
    although this is a good design .

    esther says:
  • the design is not an intrusion into public space, rather it serves as a direct and efficient passage to the upper plaza, absorbing part of the communication, it not being cheap is true, but a project like this is also a public facade, representative, if it was designed solely for function, such as \”placing a few wheelchairs\” it would not find its place on designboom, rather in some trashy city leaflet that the citizens throw in the garbage, furthermore, demographically, spain is not old, the average age is around 40, so you could not say it was built for old people, or need it be so, anybody can get tired.
    and finally, why so much prejudice? its completely uncalled for.

    nimai/maasym says:
  • This isn’t new. I rode this more than five years ago when I was in Vittoria. Not that “newness’ needs to be a reason to look at things, but any talk about this being built during the current recessionary climate in Spain isn’t accurate.

    USA Spain arch says:
  • Stunningly beautiful in all respects. Would enjoy seeing it from the outside at night.

    rcvs1 says:
  • I love it. This is amazing. I really wouldlove to go and try it…….

    sara says:

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