Intermodal Station, Urban Design and Felipe VI Park
Logroño, La Rioja, Spain, 2006-2020
The AS+ proposal was awarded first prize in an important international competition due to the green belt proposal resulting from burying the train tracks and stitching up a previously socially segregated urban context. The result is a new green pedestrian circuit in which the stations are not iconic objects -more or less "original"- but a "hill" or watchtower, a viewpoint of the city and its natural environment.
Both stations acquire their own character as "public grottos" easily associated with the multiple wineries present in the area (La Rioja). Thanks to a well-organized management, the complex was carried out in accordance with the initial budgets. The urban park that is created on its roof sews north and southern parts of the city, providing a central space to the new residential neighborhood that gravitates around it.
The Train Station and the Bus Station are connected under a large 60-meters span urban dome. The Train Station and underground platforms were built between 2010 and 2013; The Bus Station between 2017 and 2020, and the Dome that links them creating a great urban gateway in 2020. While the design of the Train Station focuses on the transition of access to the platforms, the Bus Station, with its typical horseshoe-like shape, emphasizes the connection between the waiting room and the park on its deck through a staircase that seeks the light and polarizes the entire space.
Urban Circularity and Sustainability
There is much talk of circularity nowadays and this urban project is a case that could go even further because it is exemplary in many ways. If the first objective of circularity is the benefit of citizens and the environment, this proposal determined as its first requirement to use this urban operation for the creation of a large public green space that balances historical centrality as much as possible, generating a pole of attraction to the south. A physical and therefore social barrier has been replaced by a park that brings together two previously separated sides and generates great appeal and novelty for living in the area.
The natural conditions of the Logroño settlement were used for this, especially the abundance of water in the phreatic level, a singular case in Hispanic urban geography, and therefore the main concerns were to develop a park that in those conditions was easy to maintain and nice to use.
Likewise, the 5 small residential towers planned are crowned with large solar collectors that in principle are designed to supply warm water and also to provide free public lighting for the park. In other words, attempts have been made at all times to favor the lives of residents and minimize maintenance costs.
All of this is done taking advantage of an urban operation originally linked exclusively to ADIF's merely railway problems: it was precisely this vision of circularity and return to the citizen and the environment that convinced the jury and what has subsequently allowed the generation of one of the most inclusive projects which have been developed not only in Spain but also in the European context* giving a dual role to the stations as spaces for intermodal use and as an integrating park.
©Iñaki Ábalos, 2020
* The complex is in the process of being certified with the international sustainability standard BREEAM Urbanism, an environmental quality seal that has only been awarded to 52 urban projects around the world.