The Canary Island host around 16 million of tourist per year. This phenomenon happens in a fragmented territory of eight islands, located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. With an average stay of 9 days, the Canary Islands manage more than one hundred fifty millions of tourist nights. In this scenario, the concept of Tourist Carrying Capacity has become an issue at the Canaries. The problem is that this concept is highly problematic in itself. It reduces the issue to a spatial and determinist factor, regardless of its ecological behaviour. As an alternative, the report proposes a definition based on a living system approach. Tourist Carrying Capacity becomes then an envelope of concepts such as urban metabolism, ecological footprint, carbon neutral and circular economy. This new approach may describe better the more or less sustainable behaviour of the tourism-territory equation.
UD Las Palmas is the only football team at the Canaries playing in the premier league. Paradoxically, its training area occupies a former sand quarry and needs an urgent renovation of its facilities. The strategy of the new Brand training complex aims to transform this highly degraded space into a garden of local species. So that, the players will enjoy a pleasant natural atmosphere of trees and plants. Moreover, this strategy will also help to promote the city and its privilege weather, when opponents’ teams come to the Island. The development of this plan encompasses a full set of solutions that includes eco-retaining walls, the intensive use of sustainable timber, the recycling of water, the use of SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems), and the underground-integration of buildings into the landscape. The reduction of waste and reuse of material has also been an essential feature of the sustainable parameters of the master plan.
The island of Lanzarote was one of the first territories to be granted Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Coinciding with the twenty anniversary of its declaration, the Biosphere Reserve´s office has decided to step forward and transform its capital Arrecife into a more nature-integrated city. In this way, Lanzarote consolidates its compromise with its natural conditions integrating the territory and its urban centres as a one living system. The first draft of the proposal includes a re-arrangement of the mobility system based on two existing roads that liberate the neighbourhoods from most of their motor traffic. This mobility system is complemented by the so-called Caminos del Agua (Water Pathways) which are the result of restoring the functionality of the former ravines, expanding their use with pedestrian and bike pathways. This new water-pedestrian green-infrastructure crosses transversally the city connecting the inner city and its communities with the waterfront.
Agaete is located at the north part of the island of Gran Canaria. It has a population of around 5.000 people with a great affluence of visitors in the weekends and summer time. Its economy consists of services and agriculture. The municipality features a dramatic valley and a beautiful waterfront, along with an important archaeological heritage. In spite of its potential, Agaete lacks a clear vision for its (eco-tourism) development. The aim of the Strategic Territorial Plan is to define a vision and the strategies that will active Agaete´s tourist competitiveness by putting in value its natural and territorial singularities. The plan results from a formal process of social participation, which started with the review of possible development scenarios. The Plan sets six strategies which include, among others, the transformation of the valley into an agro-park and the planning of its waterfront as an eco-area for tourist and local enjoyment.
The Citizen Participation process is developed as an essential requirement of the Territorial Strategic Plan. The use of this working methodology allowed from the beginning, to incorporate the “situated knowledge” of the neighbours, together with the rest of the agents acting on the territory. The co-creation process was organized on two levels: diagnosis and design of the strategies. The process consisted of three phases where different working formats were used and in which, in addition to the drafting team, the neighbours, the municipal technicians, economic agents and political managers participated:
1_Adequate and timely information.
2_Active listening and collaborative work in the definition of strategies.
3_The return, where the incorporation of the results of the process into the Plan was made visible.
Canary Islands Trade Fair was built fifty years ago. Since then, such infrastructures have evolved into spaces of great functional and spatial complexity. Nowadays, trade fairs are home to not only fairs but also as diverse activities as sports events, swimming pools, film production, corporate events and even oppositions examinations. The proposed solution articulates this new demand for functional and spatial flexibility by designing a new section that articulates accesses of goods, facilities and the connection of the pavilions in the lower part, the pedestrian traffic and the access to the pavilions in the higher part. A new access axis that connects the car parks located to nascent and Poniente finishes the proposal.
The urban park of Playa Honda is located in the municipality of San Bartolomé, which is characterized by its strategic position within the island of Lanzarote.
This is because the island airport is located in this municipality. Another aspect of strategic importance is that San Bartolomé is very close to the capital, Arrecife, and Puerto del Carmen. The strategic objectives of the proposal are: to convert the Playa Honda urban park into a free public space of insular reach, bordering Lanzarote Airport and the Arrecife-Yaiza LZ-2 Road; Create a new iconic landscape on the island of Lanzarote, characterized by its cultural and landscape richness linked to the work of César Manrique; And introduce the urban park within the network of tourist points of scenic and architectural interest of the island.
The project consists of setting up a territorial and urban axis that crosses two municipalities of the island of Tenerife: Santa Cruz de Tenerife and El Rosario. Beyond its administrative limits, this part of the island functions as a territorial and functional unit. The task is to develop a list of sustainable urban development indicators, check their level of compliance and possible corrective actions on issues related to water use, energy, participation, mobility, and ecology. The proposal is articulated on the basis of the BREEAM_urbanism urban sustainability label, which is complemented by some indicators of the American seal SITES in aspects related to landscaping and soils.
- Avalos La Gomera Eco-Resort
- Stage 1: Feasibility Studies
In the 70´s La Gomera Island (Canary Islands) was one of the hot spots of the hippy movement. This alternative atmosphere is still part of its charm, and it is due to its singular landscape of steep valleys and green ravines. For centuries, its inhabitants have been dealing with these topographic singularities to the point of developing a local landscape culture or intelligentsia. In the case of the ravines, this consists in developing agricultural platforms on the slopes and the protection of the humid and productive basement from any building development. The system was completed with a series of pulley devices used to carry on stuff from the bottom to the top. The design proposal reinterprets this traditional landscape intelligentsia as a design tool. In this case, the platforms accommodate the hotel rooms, the basement is occupied by a palm tree garden equipped with leisure activities and the pulley devices are transformed into a funicular.
AZCA is a financial and business district of Madrid. It is organized in the form of a rectangular superblock composed of office buildings, free spaces and commercial galleries on the ground floor. In the 90’s, the interior of the block underwent a process of deterioration and urban degradation, becoming a dangerous and inhospitable place.
The task was to make a diagnosis of free space using BREEAM_urbanismo indicators system as a reference. The conclusions of the diagnosis include, among others, references to the initial budgets of the Management Plan, which contemplated the separation of traffics and uses. This prevents the visual control of the public space, with the corresponding feeling of insecurity.
This plan develops the spatial organization principles and the location’s specific uses for the new extension of PGA Catalunya Golf. It includes a new brand hotel, 83 residential units and several leisure/sport facilities to complement the existing two golf courses. The plan follows two strategies. The first one bets for maintaining the site’s farming productive nature, mixing it with in the new development, including the real estate. The second strategy consists in the restoration of the site’s ecological dynamics, that were deteriorated by its intensive agriculture activity. The plan proposes overlapping the ecological dynamics within the mobility strategy—the functional and the leisure one. The resulting system will structure the uses’ locations and the landscape’s identity for the whole development.
This housing complex of sixteen touristic villas is organized by a combination of two types of “living-bars”: one housing unit contains a kitchen, a living room and a balcony and the other one accommodates two extra bedrooms and bathroom. Each apartment is the result of the aggregation of two o more bars placed at different levels that are completed by an “eco-box”, that articulates the vertical connexions between the bars, making possible a permanent natural ventilation and illumination of the whole unit, even when the owner is on the leave. The open space around the housing complex, accommodates two types of landscapes and a natural (chemical-free) swimming pool.
The site is placed at 560 meters altitude with views over the ocean and the surrounding rugged landscape. The project consists in a tourist eco resort, which includes three functional pockets: a bunch of 80 villas, a 65-rooms hotel and a medical complex. The design strategy consists in a series of platforms that follows the topographical conditions of the site, allowing an easy and accessible walking experience between the functional pockets and its dependencies. The project includes very ambitious eco-design´s principles, which aims to compensate the carbon emissions of the visitors, allowing their return to home with close to neutral carbon footprint.
The construction of the Tenbel resort at the beginning of the 60s, inaugurates the tourist activity at the south of Tenerife, one of the main tourist destinations in the Canary Islands, Spain. The resort has a capacity of 4,000 tourist beds, along with commercial centres and sport grounds. One of its main attractions is the waterfront with a very steep coast and a seawater swimming pool. After more than 40 years, as many with many other resorts in the Canaries, the site has deteriorated and lost competitiveness. The vision consists of developing a strategy for its renovation based in a resort-inside-a resort, like a Russian doll. The resulting new resort or New Tenbel will incorporate a very intense action based on contemporary tourist and spatial eco-concepts and generate new tourist synergies for the renovation of the surrounding areas.
Maspalomas Beach is one of the most renowned beaches in Europe and one project is to provide services for the beach users, including staircases, showers, benches, and lockers. The design integrates the functional program in a wooden topography that replicates the shape of the surrounding dunes, permitting unexpected uses. Thanks to digital fabrication techniques, the resulting “dune” removable solution. Besides the wooden beams and floors, the materials used include natural filtering systems for showers, integrated mini-solar panels, saltwater plants, and light foundations; all compatible with the beach environment.
The project consists in the renovation of an existing commercial kiosk placed in a privilege location facing the Atlantic Ocean. The kiosk incorporates an outdoor terrace – the most sought after realm by tourists – leaving the interior as mere logistic space. The design strategy consists of maximizing the terrace area, while colonizing and transforming the indoor space. The solution includes the removal of the facade and the inclusion of a new floor plan with views over the ocean. The existing facade and roof is then substituted by a textile canopy that protects from the sun and raining without compromising the outdoor character of the whole space. The set of bioclimatic strategies and green technologies will result in an off-grid building.
Playa Del Ingles is one of the main touristic areas in the Canary Islands. With more than forty years of history, the current urban layout demands an urgent renovation and the implementation of sustainable and environmental strategies. The structure of the mobility system and the design of the public spaces and infrastructures are the main components of the project´s brief. The solution proposes two main circulation circuits—one devoted to functional traffic and other more oriented to tourist mobility. A bunch of linear boulevards running from the interior to the beaches, complete the new structure of the mobility system and catalogues the different types of streets. The second part of the project includes the design of a selected group of streets which character and section is defined according with its relative position in the new urban structure.
The necessity of a bus station was one of the conclusions of a Sustainable Mobility Plan developed by the municipality of San Miguel on the island of Tenerife; however, the site chosen for the bus station offered a very good location in terms of accessibility but lacked urban quality. The project consists of the design of an exchange station that integrates multiple urban “uses” and “users”. The design strategy consists of developing a public square that incorporates, alongside the bus platforms, other programs such as kiosks, grandstands, playgrounds and landscaping. The main purpose of this is to allow children, elderly people and urban pedestrians to share this space with commuters. The design also includes the use of a textile canopy—inspired by the kite surfing sails that proliferate in beaches nearby—that stretches across the space, providing comfort, visibility and urban identity for the whole area.
The main aim of the project is to solve the problems of universal accessibility and mobility of club members. The overall strategy is to provide not only a functional solution for people with special needs but to also offer social inclusion, in a non-segregated space. The project is made up of three components. The first one is a straight staircase that connects the different levels. The second component is a smooth ramp that gives direct and universal access to the facilities and the solariums. The third element is a triangular layout that integrates the walks into the surrounding landscape. The whole layout offers a 60 % highly permeable surface that guarantees natural oxygenation and watering of the soil.
The project consists in developing twenty-six villas in a plot with picturesque views of the ocean and the surrounding mountains. The area presents a problematic slope of about 30% and a stone substratum that makes excavation very difficult. The design strategy draws inspirations from the valleys of the nearby island of La Gomera where traditional villas are placed on platforms built on the slopes of the valleys, resulting in a very charming and landscape integrated image. The design goes a step forward and places part of the domestic program inside the platforms. This strategy gives the illusion of a very low housing density when in fact it almost doubles the traditional one. The project incorporates bioclimatic solutions and sustainability indicators that include, among other things, green roofs, permeable pavement solutions, recycling strategies, a car club, and off-grid solutions.
The site is placed in a small town surrounded by a stony landscape, dominated by light brown colours. The plot was originally the orchard of a former convent built with massive stone columns. The design solution is informed by a previous touristic strategy that recommends the fragmentation of the three main functional areas (celebrations, open and leisure spaces and hosting) into smaller units. The design follows these principles and draws inspiration from the surrounding stony landscape, proposing a group of “rocks” that host the entire functional program. A hexagonal layout and facetted volumes articulate the complex and give geometrical coherence to the whole. A series of courtyards placed between the “rocks” provide natural ventilation, protection from the heat and articulate the domestic scale and singularity to each group of rooms.
- Sustainable Development Gadeokdo
The Gadeokdo Island is entirely devoted to leisure and outdoor activities, and will become a globally renowned environmentally-sensitive resort city. The proposed tourist developments are concentrated in three sites, where they share locations with traditional fishing villas that become “development anchors”. The proposed solution emphasizes a transversal occupation of the coast, leaving large empty areas of waterfront as landscape attractions and environmental reservoirs. A set of inland leisure facilities work as alternative attractions to the coastal amenities. Most of the proposed urban fabric is placed on natural slopes leaving flat land for leisure and agricultural purposes. Buildings and landscape schemes are part of the water management system, working as stormwater channels and collectors. The energy strategy includes also geothermal, wind, solar and hydroelectric sources and it allows a self-sufficient provision of water for 30,000 tourists.
The project addresses nearly 40 kilometers of coastline, including east and west sides of the city. It also includes a sustainable mobility system as an alternative to the existing one. The solution incorporates two systems: one functional (heavy traffic) and another more oriented to leisure-wise enjoyment (light and public traffic). Functional mobility incorporates the existing by-pass and the major existing roads of the city. Leisure-wise mobility favours light and alternative traffic, including bicycles, trams, and pedestrians. Ten well-equipped parks are placed along the waterfront, as a result of the crossing of urban and natural corridors. Each park seamlessly combines urban programs and facilities, transport hubs and open spaces. By exploiting the urban possibilities of outdoor living and mass enjoyment of the coast, the project aims to condense and deploy the subtropical potential of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
The municipality of Calvia is situated on the southwest end of the island of Mallorca. It has nearly 60 kilometers of coastline and it concentrates more than 50,000 tourist beds and as many second homes which total for more than 50% of the tourist accommodation on the Island. The proposal is based on the geographic system of “cavities” and “convexities” that characterize Calvia’s coast. The design strategy aims to recover and update the development pattern of the first tourist settlements where the “cavities” of the coast hosted tourist enclaves while the “convexities” were maintained as landscape reservoirs. This pattern is the basis of the vivid image that characterizes the Majorcan coast, and an example of the intelligent and sustainable development of the waterfront. The project also includes a model of sustainable mobility and eight tourist enclaves, each with its own unique identity and tourist profile.
The project consists of the renewal of an existing industrial building to incorpo- rate new working spaces and cultural areas. The design strategy includes three actions. The first consists of opening a patio to improve natural lighting and ventilation. The patio also articulates the access of different users: journal- ists, daily visitors, staff and people attending cultural events. The second action consists of organizing the functional program into two kinds of spaces: generic space for more standard uses; and singular spaces or “containers” for the specific functions. The third includes a whole set of bioclimatic solutions that include a south-facing double facade that works as “sun glasses” and helps to intensify the cross-ventilation of the whole building through the patio.
Implementing a new access from the existing bypass is the first action planned for the implementation of the Urban Plan for Vecindario Commercial Area. The project consists of providing four parking lots to the rear of the commercial area and its connection with the existing bypass. In order to make this connection readable to car drivers, a green band was painted in the asphalt, starting in the existing roundabouts and ending in one of the parking lots. From there, a painted pavement now shows pedestrians the way to the commercial area. The system was complemented with a very simple vertical signage showing the way out to the bypass again. The proposal was intended to be temporary and removed when people were used to this new way of accessing the commercial area.
The design upgrades the traditional advertising poles proliferating in malls and gas stations that are mainly used for advertising and business visibility. The design strategy seeks to enhance its functionality by improving its visual access. The design system consists of rotating eight blocks of a prism in accordance with the movement of vehicles around the roundabouts where they are placed. Each module includes a video screen similar to those in football stadiums and the video panels give information regarding access to car parks, availability of parking spaces and commercial ads.
Vecindario hosts the largest outdoor commercial area in the Canary Islands.
It emerged during the 60s on both sides of a main road that used to cross the town as it connected the north and south parts of the island. Nowadays, the situation is more or less the same, with more than 700 shops coexisting
within this very busy traffic location. The plan firstly consists of inverting the traffic mobility system by activating an existing bypass. This action gets rid of traffic and transforms the existing road into a pedestrian shopping
street. The second action consists of integrating four H-shape boulevards that integrate other large shopping formats (existing and planned) with direct access from the bypass. The result is a commercial area that integrates —in a complementary way—small and large shopping formats.
Puerto Rico is a tourist area in the south of the island of Gran Canaria. At the beginning of the 60s developers chose this valley for its privileged environmental conditions; protected from the strong Trade Winds and with a very stable temperature and humidity. Both hillsides of the valley are occupied by near 20,000 tourist beds, resulting in a saturated built landscape with a very poor beach area (1m² per tourist bed). The strategy addresses several functional aspects, such as mobility organization and pedestrian connections, together with other more environmental features, such as the intensification of the landscape presence in empty spots. The main intervention consists of increasing the percentage of “beach area” by occupying the bed of the valley with water activities, aquatic wellness facilities, and solarium areas. The final proposal increases by ten the existing “beach area”, reaching a ratio of 10 m² per tourist bed.
Playa Blanca is located at the south end of the island of Lanzarote and houses about 10,000 tourist beds. Its lack of urban structure is the result of a disjointed development of eight isolated pieces of land. The result is a suburban model, exclusionary, repetitive, inefficient, and lacking in spatial quality. The intervention strategy consists of implementing a new structure based in a new mobility system of two rings: one “functional” and the other “recreational”. A new layout of parks is added by the natural reconstitution of the existing valleys that runs transversal to the coast. A series of open spaces complete the new structure which organizes the urban uses according to the relative position of them within the new urban system.
The Cenobio of Valeron is a pre-Hispanic granary excavated more than five hundred years ago by the ancient inhabitants of the island of Gran Canaria. Its difficult accessibility helped to preserve this large pantry from potential raids of plunder and looting. The project aims to connect the 300 meter gap between the car park and the archaeological site along a very sharp slope. The program of uses consists of an accessible pedestrian route, complemented by a control area and an interpretation center at both extremes. The project is resolved by three sections of control coming out from the evaluation of minimum land excavation and three different landscape experiences (cultural, panoramic and archaeological). The interchange area is the result of bridging the gap between the three control sections with 3D software. The different spatial scenarios that the visitor enjoys along the way transform the visits of tourists into a memorable and educational experience.
Arrecife is the capital of Lanzarote (Canary Islands). It has a unique geographical location formed by a group of rocky reefs, puddles and islets that constitute and make its coastal front singular. The most interesting part of its history is the effort to communicate the islets and urbanize the “puddles”. The bridge “Puente de Las Bolas”, built in the late sixteenth century, and the pool of San Gines are some of the best examples to do this. Our intervention strategy consolidates this pattern of growth along the waterfront and the port.
The project consists of the extension of two pedestrian pathways along the coastal front, creating new pools and communicating the existing islets. The resulting loop generates urban spaces where new uses are placed. The crossings of the loop generate nodes that host kiosks, meeting places and water-taxi stations.
The code “Urban Beach” with which this project is launched, not only codifies but also explains the project’s strategy. The proposed public plaza combines the flexibility of beach spaces along with the comfort levels of urban plazas. The design consists of an undulating topography that connects the beach with the surrounding streets, located at an upper level. The resulting space integrates pedestrian, urban and beach spaces in a coherent manner. Two indoor boulevards run underground and provide access to other amenities such as a wellness center, beach facilities and a sailing school. The claim “Under the pavers, the beach” perfectly expresses the aspirations of freedom and fun of an entire generation. Our proposal aims to rescue the informality of that beach without sacrificing the comfort of the pavers.