Folding The Grid

A Cultural center and a new waterfront in El Rocio (Spain).

Planning the change is the last opportunity for Doñana. When the water rises and floods towns, dunes and fields, the frail system of the park will be forced to choose between transforming or perishing. I believe that this critical moment offers Doñana the best chance to improve its structure becoming a more resilient organism.

The main issue of the project is the infrastructure. According to NASA’s studies on global warming, water will rise up to reach the city of Huelva. El Rocío will become the crossroads between two fundamental axes of the park: the one that connects Almonte to Matalascañas, which holds the fast transport, and the one that will link Sanlucar de Barrameda to Huelva by a new network of navigable canals. In this new configuration, El Rocio will hold a very significant position within the park. Therefore, it makes sense to

imagine an important increase of the flow of people that will daily cross El Rocío, in addition to the huge amount of pilgrims that every year visit the sanctuary.

These are the main challenges for this project, which comes directly from the geometric fabric of the city. The morphological grid that holds the buildings is shaped by the orthogonal rule of the urban fabric and folded by its alignments, exceptions, inflections. I opt for defending the village designing a new waterfront, a sort of platform that will provide gathering spaces and a cultural center; the project contemplates wide paved areas, new paths and five buildings, which form part of a whole that frames and dignifies

the sanctuary. The internal disposition of the buildings is articulate in different layers, which are connected by stairs and ramps through a process of stratification, overlap, cutting.

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