Sidewalk and urbanization of the old city center of Banyoles/Girona
Architect: Josep Miàs
Site: Banyoles, Girona
Promoting: Banyoles City Hall
Project: 1998. Competition First prize.
Area: 18.000 m²
The historic centre of the town of Banyoles was a rundown area in which vehicles and pedestrians shared a layout of narrow streets and old pavements.
Irrigation canals had been covered over and become part of the town sewer system. The project was to “pedestrianize” the whole area, removing all the old sidewalks and started with the paving of the Main Square (the centrepiece of the project) using a tessellated arrangement of travertine pavers, which was extended to the adjoining streets and lesser squares over the different phases of the project.
On the other hand, the irrigation system was uncovered intermittently along the pedestrian ways. At certain points, larger sections were opened to make small pools around which children might play.
Repaving the town centre defines a new pedestrian area. This is a part of Banyoles in which medieval planning and buildings are still evident. Indeed, the urban planning of the historical centre is seen in a sequence of squares – Plaça dels Turers, Plaça Major, Plaça dels Estudis, Plaça de la Font, Plaça del Teatre, Plaça de l’església Santa Maria, Plaça del Monestir – most of which owe their names to the buildings to which they provide access, mainly churches and (now) museums.
The second part of the intervention was to reclaim the irrigation canals. Originally, these waterways ran from the lake through the town, bringing water to the back gardens of the houses. With the disappearance of these private gardens the canals were gradually covered over and the quality of the water declined. For the canals, we again chose the same material with which the town centre was built. The travertine paving stones generate folds to form canals and sluice gates. We broke up the linearity of the pedestrian ways by cutting open channels through them to highlight the presence of the water. Ultimately, we sought to exhaust the possibilities of the travertine itself, from the pedestrian pavements to the new canals.
2010 FAD Awards - Finalist
2009 Catalonia Construction Award - Winner
2008 CCCB European Public Space Prize - Finalist
2008 5th Landscape European Prize - Rosa Barba - Finalist
2008 5th Urban Public Spaces European Prize - Finalist.
2007 Girona Area Architectural Awards - Winner