The Paseo Marítimo (Promenade) in Benidorm is a new place that marks the transition between the built city and the natural space of the beach and the sea. The promenade is not meant to be a frontier or border but, instead, an intermediate space that facilitates that transition.
It has been designed as a place with a rich topography, a dynamic space that provides a walk along and a view over the sea but also includes a number of areas where people can sit and contemplate. The esplanade suggests different routes for the human traffic to flow along and across and channels this traffic, providing safe and simple access to the beach. There are no architectural barriers, so access is direct from the car park. It is thus an architectural space that creates a new topography and plays with light and shadow. A set of sinuous lines woven into each other define the various spaces and take on different natural and organic shapes, recalling the fractal structure of a cliff and the movement of the sea and the tide.
The promenade has been devised in layers:
A first, structural layer creates the edging line, which has been finished in white concrete. Then there is a textured layer with paving in different colours, then a final layer made up of street furniture and natural elements – water, plants – all creating a homogeneous place with a personality of its own that is the predecessor to the new architecture of the 21st century as it combines construction technology and nature as a single concept.
Benidorm’s new esplanade has been given a fresh shape that combines constructed, artificial elements with natural elements. The design combines several strands: the organic shapes of modernism, the fractal shapes of nature, the latest construction technology and leading edge landscape architecture. Viewed from the sea the promenade presents a new façade, whilst affording a view of the Sea and the Beach from its highest point. Equally, the undulations and platforms suggest different routes along the esplanade, free of any barriers and providing a pleasant place for people to walk.
The ceramic paving tiles used on the esplanade along the Playa de Poniente in Benidorm, which were conceived in collaboration with the Institute for Ceramic Tile Technology (ITC/ALICER) and produced by Keramia Cerámica. Their design was informed by two considerations:
Recognition of the Arab ceramic tile heritage, which is widespread throughout the Levante region of Spain.
Colour. Benidorm is a city of leisure where the culture of holidays and hedonism is part of the tradition of the place. Colours have been used to identify each section of the Esplanade, which runs for 1.5 Kms along the Playa de Poniente.
Ayuntamiento de Benidorm
Luca Cerullo, Núria Ayala, Sofía Machado dos Santos, David Jiménez, David Abondano
Structure: Juan Calvo (PONDIO)
ASCER Tile of Spain Awards Architecture 2009: First Prize
Playa Poniente, 03500 Benidorm, España