Team representative Architect, urban planner and landscaper
How can the site contribute to the productive city?
Towns reinvent themselves over time, and adapt to new productive activities in combination with the necessary act of habitation. The ideas that originally gave rise to these towns inevitably evolve. New needs trigger a metamorphosis of these towns and their activities, which then converge in the following eras. The conurbation consisting of Jerez de los Caballeros and three nearby colonization townships, Valuengo, Brovales and La Bazana, are to be used as a study model for this operation, reflecting this necessary evolution of the townships. For this site, we are looking for a solution that will invert the current depopulation in these towns, in association with a necessary encouragement for a diversification of uses that must permit the compatibility of the maintenance of sustainable production with citizen well-being.
In order to catalyse the development of this district, we envisage a coexistence of responsible exploitation of its ethnographic and natural resources —primarily water and the characteristic Dehesa (open woodland) landscape— with the existing infrastructure (tracks, roads and architecture —especially the elements that can become part of the local heritage) and the commencement of a varied range of activities related to these resources, e.g., tourism and other recreation-related services, local shops, a new agriculture-based industry, small-scale craft production, combined with social awareness-raising. These initiatives are aimed to generate complementary, responsible economic activity that will help to stabilise the population and help to preserve the heritage values of the district and benefit from its connection to nearby regions including Andalusia and Portugal.
La Bazana is an outlying district of the Jerez de los Caballeros municipality in Badajoz Province. Its origins date back to 1954, when it was built as a colonisation township on the basis of a plan designed by renowned architect Alejandro de la Sota. These Colonisation townships were urban developments sponsored by the National Colonisation Institute (INC), built in a single period on greenfield sites, an unprecedented initiative in Spain that evolved in a different way from the rest of the country's urban areas. Their aim was to 'conquer' vast tracts of land in order to make them productive, on the basis of irrigated agriculture. The municipalities in this district contain tracts of communal land, always a positive aspect due to the easier implementation of specific projects.
How is Production Considered in the Urban Diversity Program?
The favourable geographic location of this territory, in the south-east of the Badajoz province, bordering Andalusia’s Huelva province and Portugal, is an incentive for the spatial development of a range of production activities such as agriculture, industry, shopping and tourism. The open woodland landscape (Dehesa) and water emerge here as common, integrating elements for life in the entire district. The specific aims for the strategic area include the redesign of the open public spaces in La Bazana —such as the inner courtyards contained in the original project along with others around the main street— and a recycling proposal for the existing public buildings, all of which will articulate the attraction dynamics needed for the local population and its production activities. The public buildings proposed for these operations are: El Coso (1), an industrial building built for the former Union Brotherhood (2) and a warehouse (3). The competition envisages the possibility of adding a “layer” to the urban fabric by configuring the “water lines” and fountains in the local courtyards, bearing in mind that water is the element that originally generated the colonisation townships and the common denominator between them. Proposals should be replicable in other colonization townships like La Bazana.