Valencia Parque Central

Valencia Parque Central

Architect
Borgos Pieper
Location
Valencia, Spain | View Map
Project Year
2023
Category
Parks/Gardens

Urban Green Spaces

Parks
© Richard Bloom

Valencia Parque Central

Gustafson Porter + Bowman as Landscape Architects

GUSTAFSON PORTER + BOWMAN COMPLETE FIRST PHASE OF VALENCIA’S PARQUE CENTRAL


Landscape architect Gustafson Porter + Bowman has completed the first phase of Parque Central, a new 11.5ha urban park formerly occupied by railway lines and industrial land in the centre of the city of Valencia.


The first phase of Parque Central provides a new focal green space for a range of age groups and community uses and is characterised with areas for art, activities, and community events that refer to three quintessential characteristics of the Spanish city: water, food, and the Mediterranean landscape.


The new park consists of a series of varied, multi-level gardens that have been created as a series of large ‘bowls’ – inspired by the region’s traditional ceramics – manifesting itself as concave depressions in the natural landscape that are created through sculpted landforms. They define the six areas of the park and attract visitors to the heart of the park where a former agricultural building (Alquería) has been renovated to serve as the offices for the park. There is the Children’s Garden, the Romantic Garden, the Flower Garden, the Orchard Garden and the Demetrio Ribes Arts Plaza.


Mary Bowman, Partner at Gustafson Porter + Bowman said: “We feel proud of what we have achieved with the first phase of Parque Central. Valencia is a Spanish city and a Mediterranean city like no other, with a rich history of agriculture, horticulture, aquaculture, not to mention its trade history and history of artisanal and artistic pursuits. I believe we have been successful in capturing the unique qualities of Valencia, delivering a park that is evocative, stimulating, and full of unexpected sensory experiences.”


The landscape design of Parque Central acknowledges Valencia’s unique position as a major trading and cultural centre in European history and its location between a number of ecological habitats. Gustafson Porter + Bowman used a range of materials including marble, granite, and Calatorao limestone typical of Valencia. The colourful and sensual planting palette draws on the flora and fauna of the region, becoming a vital new ecological component and public space within the city.


Gustafson Porter + Bowman’s vegetation strategy is based on the general concept of creating zones that represent the natural and cultural landscapes of the region. The park includes 1000 trees, 85,000 bushes and 70 herb species which are all native to the area or are varieties of native plants or noninvasive plants adapted to the Mediterranean climate. The different types of vegetation (trees, shrubs, carpets, flowers) characterize each bowl and provide a unique character and appearance.


Inspired by the poem by Valencian writer Ausiàs March, ‘Aigua plena de seny’, (water full of wisdom), water is one of the main design elements in Parque Central. It is both a structural and restorative element that refers to the different ways in which water appears in the natural landscape of the region: the sea, the freshwater lagoon of the Albufera, and river Turia. At each entrance of the park visitors are greeted by a unique water feature that filters into a canal that leads them inwards, as part of the scheme’s navigational strategy. Parque Central also debuts a progressive sustainable drainage strategy, whereby the series of landformed bowls discreetly collect rainwater which drains into a buried centralised reservoir that treats and recycles water back to the city.


Developed over eight years, the first phase of the park now connects various neighbourhoods that were previously separated by the railway tracks and terminus. It has already precipitated urban renewal in the adjacent downtown district of Russafa/Ruzafa - now popular with cafés, bars and boutique shops. The new park is part of a larger project that will eventually see the city’s main trainlines relocated underground to free up a tot3al of 66 hectares of land. More than half of the area will be planted, and the completed 23ha park will help to resolve important problems by reintroducing biodiversity, creating new public space, providing cultural and office facilities, reversing physical and social segregation, improving the quality and supply of water, and increasing mobility and accessibility among the surrounding residential neighbourhoods.


The Parque Central project sits in Valencia’s long history of a city reinventing itself through large-scale urban development projects. The park is considered one of the city’s most significant urban redevelopments undertaken since the 1970s, when the riverbed of the river Turia was reimagined as a spine of green space in response to Valencia’s serious flooding issues.


The project was won in an international competition in 2011, when Gustafson Porter + Bowman formed a joint venture with Valencia-based firms Nova Ingeniería and Grupotec engineers and Barcelona-based architects Borgos Pieper – winning against international competitors including Zaha Hadid Architects, Foreign Office Architects and West 8. The project is a finalist in the World Architecture Festival’s 2019 Urban Landscape shortlist of 16 projects from around the world.


Gustafson Porter + Bowman recently won the international competition to reimagine the 54ha site of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, stretching from the Trocadero to the Ecole Militaire. The first phase of the €40 million project for the Ville de Paris is due for delivery in 2023.

Project Credits
Landscape Architects
Civil, Structural, M&E engineer
Water feature consultant
Project management and cost consultant
Product Spec Sheet

Featured Projects
Latest Products
News
Blanchette Architectes revamp an old carpet factory into a vibrant office space
18 Aug 2022 News
Blanchette Architectes revamp an old carpet factory into a vibrant office space

A well-known Montreal-based firm, Blanchette Architectes renovated an old factory building for an in... More

Archstudio revitalizes a rural house in Beijing’s suburbs with recycled wooden construction
17 Aug 2022 News
Archstudio revitalizes a rural house in Beijing’s suburbs with recycled wooden construction

Located in a typical Chinese village on the outskirts of Beijing, ‘Mixed house’ designed... More

Park + Ride by HUB is a paradigm for sustainable mobility
17 Aug 2022 News
Park + Ride by HUB is a paradigm for sustainable mobility

Located in the city of Antwerp in Belgium, Park + Ride designed by HUB is a large-scale public parki... More

Monologue Art Museum by Wutopia Lab offers an oasis free from worldly distractions
17 Aug 2022 News
Monologue Art Museum by Wutopia Lab offers an oasis free from worldly distractions

In Qinhuangdao, China, the Monologue Art Museum by Wutopia Lab opened on the park green of SEATOPIA... More

ERRE Arquitectura transforms a disused space into an oasis of well-being
16 Aug 2022 News
ERRE Arquitectura transforms a disused space into an oasis of well-being

Located in the heart of Valencia in Spain, Clinica Alejandria designed by ERRE Arquitectura is a pla... More

Bellgave residence offers a striking contemporary evolution of California mid-century modernism
16 Aug 2022 News
Bellgave residence offers a striking contemporary evolution of California mid-century modernism

Situated in the Hollywood Hills at the edge of a steep promontory, the private residence Bellgave by... More

Australia’s first purpose-built centre for LGBTQI+ communities in Australia offers a diverse range of community services behind a distinctly tubular façade
15 Aug 2022 News
Australia’s first purpose-built centre for LGBTQI+ communities in Australia offers a diverse range of community services behind a distinctly tubular façade

In Melbourne’s beachside suburb of St Kilda, the Victorian Pride Centre is the first purpose-b... More

Visitor Centre for the Bernau Trade Union School celebrates and reveals a celebrated Bauhaus Monument
15 Aug 2022 News
Visitor Centre for the Bernau Trade Union School celebrates and reveals a celebrated Bauhaus Monument

In 2017 the iconic Bauhaus work ‘Bundesschule Bernau,’ built by Bauhaus director Hannes... More