June 1, 2010

The Coast with the Most: Office of Architecture Transforms A Seaside Road Into A Pedestrian Promenade

It’s not hard to see that the undulating edge of this seaside promenade in Benidorm mimics the shape of the foamy waves caressing the shore. What’s even more impressive is that this pathway also manages to convey, with a minimum of raw ingredients, the exuberance and cha-cha-cha vitality of a major resort on Spain’s Costa Blanca. The convex and concave lines derive their Crayola-crayon pop from a rainbow of locally made ceramic pavers set into white concrete. “To be sustainable, we used color and form but very few materials,” Carlos Ferrater says. (The “we” in question is he and Xavier Martí Galí, partners in the Office of Architecture in Barcelona.)

Replacing a thoroughfare more oriented toward cars than people, the nearly mile-long promenade features flowing overhangs that shade the beach, blooming plants that match the color of the pavers nearby, and plenty of gently sloping ramps that offer easy access to the sand. “Historically, the approach with such projects has been to put up a wall with a balustrade to create a barrier against the sea,” Ferrater continues. “But this public space functions as a better transition between the city and the Medi­terranean.” Vamos a la playa.

Photography by Alejo Bague.

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