Urbanization Project for the Urban Regeneration of the Surroundings of the Plaza Ciudad de Brujas, Lonja, Mercado Central and Santos Juanes
The project proposes the urban regeneration of the surroundings of the Lonja de la Seda, the Mercado Central and the Church of Santos Juanes, all of them classified as Assets of Cultural Interest (BIC). The two main spaces for the action are the Plaza del Mercado, which is characterized for being an emblematic urban space in which the different monuments coexist, and the Plaza Ciudad de Brujas located on a new underground car park, an unattended space that lacked a minimum urban quality.
The environment of the performance is a neuralgic point of the urban and commercial life of Valencia. At the beginning of the XXth century an urban reform is projects two large avenues crossing the city center. Only Avenida del Oeste remained, ignoring any patrimonial valuation. Finally, it came to a standstill when it reached the Palace of the Compte Parcent, the Mercado Central, the Eixarchs Palaces and the Church of Santos Juanes. The result of this operation resulted in what we know today as the Plaza Ciudad de Brujas, the end of an unfinished avenue.
A series of interrelated open spaces are proposed to achieve a flexible public space that adapts to different urban conditions and needs.
The fluvial nature of the city of Valencia, is reflected in the area, and the trace of a dry arm of the river can still be read in the topography of the place. This fact, results in the generating idea of the proposal: water as a configurator of the urban physical environment. The proposal defines the water paths that organize the composition of the pavements providing an appropriate environment for each of the heritage elements.
The project aims to interrelate the areas without losing a unitary reading of the place, creating a public space designed for pedestrians. The pavement and the elimination of disturbing elements will facilitate the reading of the urban landscape.
The pavements are treated like carpets around the different monuments; Together with the pavements, the trees are used to reinforce the different characters of the public space, with alignments that support the continuity of the facades, Mediterranean palm trees in the accesses and heritage environments, tropical palm trees in a grid in the planters in the Ciudad de Brujas square. Finally singular trees characterize more contained spaces.
It was important to return to the end of Avenida del Oeste the character of a public commercial and meeting space, for this reason, this square is projected as a unique space articulated with its surroundings.
The transition to the Plaza Ciudad de Brujas is treated as a single platform space colonized by a grid of palm trees that follows the structure of the market, breaks the power of the avenue alignment, and helps establish a new order. This space aims to have the character of a meeting space.
In the southern zone there is a first pergola that collects the elevator shaft and stairs of the car park, creating a shady environment where a bus stop is located. This pergola accompanies the bus route, but also opens the views from the avenue and directs the gaze towards the bell tower of Santos Juanes, recovering the scale of the old existing street next to the Mercado Central.
In the northern area, where the old Plaza del Cementerio was located, a formalized space is generated by inclined pavement planes and a pergola that frames them. Next to the exit stairs from the car park, these plans delimit the old layout of the square, recovering its former scale.
At this point the three BICs present in the proposal meet: Iglesia de los Santos Juanes, Lonja de la Seda and Mercado Central. The removal of part of the existing trees and the planting of tall palm trees are proposed to frame the space without interrupting the views. The encounter between the three types of flooring in the form of carpets will reinforce the importance of this area.
The intervention in “Les Covetes” (former craftsmen’s premises) also stands out. By depressing the pavement, it is possible to recover the original level of access to them and, in turn, create a seating area as a grandstand.
In the project area, the use of public space is very varied and changing. With its remodeling, these uses, previously concentrated in the eastern area, are relocated, contributing to the distribution of pressure throughout the area.
The intervention is therefore especially relevant in terms of gender, since it represents an opportunity to consolidate the Market environment as a place of daily activity and influx of people, and to mitigate the urban problems linked to the historic abandonment of the neighbourhood. The consideration of public transport as an urban asset, the improvement of accessibility, the incorporation of wide visual fields and the configuration of free spaces to stay, rebalance gender aspects in the project.
Architecture offices involved in the design:
Location: Plaça del Mercat. 46001 València. Spain
Design year: 2017-2020
Year Completed: 2022