November 2010 bis Dezember 2010The design for Valencia Central Park began with the analysis of its context and the activity patterns underlying in it, with the clear ambition to re-join the cultural and urban fabric of Valencia that has been divided by the train tracks for almost a century.
Volumes of traffic at the site’s urban perimeter are studied by dimensioning pedestrian movement flows. Data such as road widths, trajectory lengths are measured, together with a mapping of focal points of day / night activities. It is then possible to establish orders of magnitude and hierarchy amongst these, supplying information regarding main access points and essential connectivity lines to be drawn on site, which would re-stitch the segmented urban fabric and would provide articulation to the surroundings.
Employing computer based fluids simulations, in a direct analogy between water and pedestrian movement, water being an important symbol in the development of Valencia. The fluids are poured from the urban perimeter to the site. Speed, density and viscosity are assigned in relation to the data extracted from the surroundings analysis. Once in the site, the flows of water begin a dynamic interaction, compressing and expanding themselves, creating zones of intense movement and turbulence alongside of stable and serene areas. The simulation is then frozen to compose an artificial topography that is coherent as a whole and in relation with the complex urban and cultural surroundings of the site. The result consist of streams of viscous mass which compose multiple moraines that forms ledges and terrepleins that give origin to distinctive gestures over the surface and result in diverse geological formations which its closest resemblance could be the ones created by the effect of mudslides or glaciers. Formations such as craters, fjords, inlets, peaks and creases are easily identifiable. From the social and urban analysis of the context emerge a series of itineraries that integrate the activity of the surroundings with the uses inside the park. Those activities include leisure, commercial, sportive, elderly, children, local traditions and cultural.
This exercise also helps to identify opportunities for new activities within the urban fabric. In other words, the park attracts the customs and uses on the surroundings and on the other hand promote new activities where deficiencies are found.
Vegetation is understood as a second layer of information that emerges from the topography. Just as if it was a matter of the topography itself, trees, bushes and grass are associated to allow a continuous reading that forms the different zones. Through carefully selected transitions of height and density, from lawn to grasses to bushes and trees, a narrative of scale, volume, form, smell and colour is created. To materialize the landscape at the Valencia Central Park the most representative habitats within Valencia’s community have being selected. Its diversity and natural richness covers the entire vegetal spectrum, from arid zones to fertile and from meadow to mountain forest. The Habitats are understood as the layers that form the soil, which are superimpose one on top of the other. These are dispersed on the site transitioning on a natural logic, from water to wetland to river forest to forest to meadow to an orchard and back again. They will define and react to the program of the park. Water is constantly present in the park. It has not been prioritised in one area over another; on the contrary, it follows and guides the user along the park, in the form of rivers, ponds and fountains. Following the fluids organisation, the water becomes one of the principal agents to define the space and create the music inside the park. The movement of water, waterfalls and drops of water forms a continuous soundscape for the park.
Breaking down the information emanating from the behaviour of the flows concept diagram, based on its intensities in three dimensions, we obtain a vectors field consisting of lines of force. The best way to visualise this field is to understand it as the fluid from which it is extracted, poured towards the site from the urban fabric, describing movement patterns that are structured through currents, laminar flows and swirls. From the vectors field raises an artificial landscape, a hybrid system that lies in between the living and inert. It is conformed from elements of variable configuration, which dimension, position and orientation are defined by algorithmic formulas, creating a multiplicity of forms that give place to the elements that compose the urban furniture. Shading devices, lamp post and benches vary in height, extension and inclination to generate a field of objects in apparent movement, as if it was a live organism in growing and reacting to the sun. They are configured and associated to create different readings that varied from each point of view inside the park, introducing directionality, velocity and gradients of transparency and shadows so to provide a unique collective experience for the users.