Valencia Parque Central
Valencia, Spain | 2011- | On site
Following the relocation of high-speed trains below ground, Valencia Parque Central is one of the city’s most significant redevelopments to date. The 66-hectare site has received €73m of investment and will create a new contemporary public park which celebrates the culture of the region. This 23-hectare park will become the social heart of the city, uniting eastern and western neighbourhoods that were previously divided by the railway. Eventually it will also connect other areas of the city to a 43-hectare redeveloped Southern zone.
Won in international competition, Gustafson Porter + Bowman are the lead landscape designers for the scheme. The project aims to distil the historical, cultural and geographical uniqueness of Valencia in a contemporary park and responds to a challenge to build a sustainable urban public space. Inspired by a poem written by Valencian writer Ausiàs March, ‘Aigua plena de seny’, (water full of wisdom), our design acknowledges Valencia’s unique position as a major trading and cultural centre in European history and its location between several ecological habitats: the Turia River reserve, the agricultural plain (La Huerta), the Albufera Natural Park and the Mediterranean Sea. References to the local tradition of ceramics are expressed through the design of ‘bowls’, which provide a unifying gesture with water as its overarching theme. These bowl-like spaces are created through sculpted landforms, and when completed will create spaces for art, programmed activities, the community, history and cultural events.
The winning competition entry was developed by an international multi-disciplinary team led by Gustafson Porter + Bowman which includes Borgos Pieper architects (London/ Barcelona), Nova Ingeniería Project Management and Grupotec Engineers from Valencia. The international competition initially drew 36 teams from eight countries. The five short-listed design teams included Foreign Office Architects, Zaha Hadid Architects, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture. The designs were judged by a jury comprising prominent members of the local architecture and landscape community and the former Mayor of Valencia, Rita Barberá, who announced the winning design of the international competition in January 2011.