To celebrate summer and the great weather we’ve been having this past week in Montreal, I’ve decided to post this beautiful, beachy project. Every time I see a picture of this landscape, I feel like I need to jump on the first plane to anywhere in the Mediterrannean. But since that’s not happening this year, I will content mysef with making the most of the summer time in Montreal and sharing theses photos and info with you!
is a coastal town and municipality located in the comarca of Marina Baixa, in the province of Alicante, Valencian community, Spain, by the Western Mediterranean. Prior to the 1960s, Benidorm was a small village. Today it stands out for its hotel industry, beaches and skyscrapers, built as a result of its tourist-oriented economy. According to the 2010 census, Benidorm has a permanent population of 71,198 inhabitants, ranking as the fifth most populous town in the Alicante province. It has a population density of 1,848.8 inhab/km². The unique skyline formed by its numerous tall hotels and apartment buildings, which is unlike any other on the Costa Blanca (White Coast) Urban Age project, bears witness to the fact that Benidorm has the most high-rise buildings per capita in the world. Benidorm itself is dwarfed by the 1406 m tall Puig Campana.
It is believed there were settlements in the Benidorm area perhaps as far back as 3000 BC including evidence of Roman and Punic remains. However, settlements in the area were small and it was not until the arrival of the Moors (from whom the town derived its Arabic origin name) that the local population began to grow. The Christian King James I of Aragon reconquered the region in 1245 and Benidorm first officially became known in 1325 when Admiral Bernat de Sarrià of Polop awarded it a town charter as a way of removing the Moors and allowing Christians to inhabit the area. Benidorm’s history for the next few centuries was plagued by attacks from the sea by Ottoman and Barbary pirates. The 17th century saw things improve for Benidorm and its people, most notably with the construction of an advanced irrigation system in 1666 to channel water to the region. By the 18th century Benidorm fishermen had become famous and sought after all over Spain and beyond. Tuna was their main catch and they perfected the ancient almadraba technique passed down from the Arabs. The success of the fishing industry, together with improved local agriculture, helped to fuel a strong local economy. Coastal traffic increased too, bringing more wealth to the region with the town becoming a base for sea captains and the building of their vessels. In 1952 Benidorm’s fishing industry went into decline; a factor in encouraging the town council to approve many new development plans aimed at the tourist market. Today the town is Europe and Spain’s biggest holiday resort and responsible for a significant chunk of Spain’s large tourist industry, with five million tourist arrivals per year.
The architects who designed this were partners Carlos Ferrater and Xavier Marti Gali. Carlos started The Office of Architecture in Barcelona (OAB) in 2006 with the help of Xavier and others.
The project has received several awards including first prize in the 2006 ASPRIMA Prizes for the best tourist development, first prize in the VIII Ceramics Awards for Architecture organized by ASCER, and special mention in the European Award of Urban Public Space 2010. In fact, it was received so well that it was commissioned to be extended an additional 500 meters.
The form of the design mimics the shape of the waves and cliffs. Due to the overhangs, it creates more usable space with minimal disturbance of the sandy beach underneath. This allows the people above to use it for circulation. At the same time, it provides shade for the beachgoers below. Despite the seemingly random curves, there is actually a strict adherence to a set of specific geometric laws, conducive to construction.
The use of color presents an attractive gradient, suitable for vacationers on holiday. The appealing array of playful hues exudes a bright and cheerful vibe. Conveniently, it also functions as a landmark by helping beachgoers determine where exactly on the beach they are located. It is commonly understood that these types of colors reflect the sun and have a cooling effect, which is favorable for the hot summer climate of this region of Spain.
Developed specifically for this project by Keramia Ceramics, the ceramic tile have the ideal chemical makeup. Some of the qualities of the material are that it is resistant to discoloration from the silica (beach sand), stain-resistant, slip-resistant, and able to withstand wear and tear for a lifetime. Also they are non-porous so as to not absorb water. The circular and triangular shapes are formed using die cut molds, and work fluidly with the undulating slopes of the promenade. The mortar is an innovative, high tech material, known as thixotropic mortar.
Illumination is another aspect of high efficiency. The white color and the arched shape of the concrete membrane reduce the lighting costs. This also helps to decrease the amount of light pollution, which allows for better usage at night time. An added benefit is the rhythmic pattern that the light projects onto the exterior.
The handrails are made of stainless steel, and the benches of wood. Both were designed to be minimalist in nature so as not to detract from the composition of the promenade itself. The benches are an important part of what is considered the third, upper layer of the design. They serve as a resting place, a meeting place, or a meditation place; this usage is vital to the identity of the promenade as a distinct intermediary space.
Vegetation is also incorporated into this third layer and adds an important living element to the structure. Species include the Phoenix Dactylifera which is a reclaimed date palm and several types of flowers. Extensive consideration was taken in planning for appropriate greenery.
All the materials used for this project are low maintenance which reinforces its high sustainability.