SANAA: 'mirador del palmeral de elche', spain SANAA: 'mirador del palmeral de elche', spain
jul 22, 2009

SANAA: 'mirador del palmeral de elche', spain

‘palmeral’, elche, spain proposal by SANAA image courtesy SANAA

japanese firm SANAA were awarded second prize in the international competition of ‘mirador del palmeral de elche’, spain. the palm grove of elche is a UNESCO world heritage site in valencia and the competition was organised by the city to provide a landmark for the area, as well as enhance the agricultural palm arabic tradition.

the proposal is for a reflective path that undulates through the palm trees and spirals up into the sky, offering a view across the palmeral and city. it stretches from the ground up to 64m, providing an experience of the palms that is both human and urban in scale. the lower parts drift through the landscape, rising up into the canopy of the trees. as one emerges above the tops of the palm trees the city opens up and the curved route up to the summit of the observation tower provides continuously changing views out over the elche landscape. the spiralling tower stands as an icon in the city, a pivot around which the palm tree groves extend. seen from below the aluminium surface reflects the palm trees below, drawing them up into the sky, to be seen from afar.

‘palmeral’, elche, spain proposal image courtesy SANAA

‘palmeral’, elche, spain proposal image courtesy SANAA

the project is composed of two primary elements. the first is a horizontal, ramp that moves from ground level up to a maximum height of 22m, providing visitors with a quiet route 770m long through the trees. its looping form creates softly articulated gardens at ground level. the second element is a 584m spiralling staircase that stretches from ground level to 64m in the sky, revealing the extents of the palmeral within the landscape as a whole. the two loops are connected at one point, allowing varying routes along the path.

‘palmeral’, elche, spain proposal image courtesy SANAA

‘palmeral’, elche, spain proposal image courtesy SANAA

the combination of these two forms of directional movement creates a new kind of observation tower, a tower that allows you to experience a changing landscape rather than merely providing a destination point in the air from which to see across the city. the existing road and above ground parking areas are to be converted into a park of young palm trees, providing new gardens, a café lounge and event spaces that can be enjoyed by both local residents and visitors to the palmeral.

‘palmeral’ – site, elche, spain image courtesy SANAA

‘palmeral’ – site, elche, spain image courtesy SANAA

  • basura

    miguel says:
  • I get that they’re into the sticks and mirrors bit since the serpentine pavilion, but really? This is a bit of a mess.

    w says:
  • senseless

    h2o says:
  • a nice idea, i hope to see that one day!

    [email protected] says:
  • its a rollercoaster for pedestrians in a virtual world that defies the laws of gravity.

    discipline says:
  • Can we give up to walk in the middle of the deck??

    co says:
  • ..piece o’ shit…

    Jim says:
  • ..piece o’ shit…

    Jim says:
  • who won this competition?

    J says:
  • I love this

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