Abandoibarra Masterplan

2012 - BILBAO, SPAIN

ABANDOIBARRA MASTERPLAN

BILBAO, SPAIN

CLIENT Sociedad Bilbao Ria 2000 / SIZE 74 acres / 300,000 m2 STATUS Design Completed 1996 / Construction Completed 2012 DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects / Eugenio Aguinaga PHOTO CREDIT Bilbao Ria 2000 / Efrain Mendez, archframe.net

2012 marks the completion of Balmori Associates’ Master Plan for Abandoibarra. For the past twenty years, Bilbao has reinvented itself by regenerating important sections of the city affected by the industrial crisis of the 1980’s.  One of those former industrial areas is a derelict harbor in the center of Bilbao called Abandoibarra.

The Abandoibarra Master Plan was drawn by Balmori Associates, Cesar Pelli and Eugenio Aguinaga in 1998 (winner of an international competition). Balmori Associates created park guidelines and designed all open space, streets, sidewalks and plazas, placing emphasis on expanding the amount of green space in the city and incorporating sustainable design practices. Two-thirds of the Master Plan area are dedicated to parks and open space.

Today, what was once a high-speed roadway, has been turned into a boulevard with multiple pedestrian crossings and a light rail now connects the two main cultural centers of the development: Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum and the city’s opera house. Running on wide swaths of green lawn, this rail line gives continuity to green space. For the river edge, Balmori proposed a linear park, Parque de la Ribera. This new promenade, no less than thirty meters in width, is treated as a longitudinal space at two levels. The half nearest to the water proposes the pier’s rehabilitation, maintaining the existing dialogue between both shores. The inside half, which is located at the 6m level, concurs with the exterior of the Guggenheim Museum. In 2005 this section of the Master Plan received the Special Award ‘Città d’Acqua’ of the Biennale di Venezia for Best Project. In 2003, Balmori Associates was commissioned the designed of Plaza Euskadi and in 2007, together with RTN Architect, won an international competition to design Campa de los Ingleses Park also located in Abandoibarra.

Campa de los Ingleses Park

2012 - BILBAO, SPAIN

CAMPA DE LOS INGLESES PARK

BILBAO, SPAIN

CLIENT Sociedad Bilbao Ria 2000 / SIZE 25,000 sq. m2 / 6.17 acres / STATUS Completed 2012 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / Lantec (Local Partner) / RTN Architects / PHOTO CREDIT Iwan Baan / Efrain Mendez / Borja Gomez

Campa de los Ingleses Park designed by Balmori Associates with RTN Architect is the results of an international design competition (2007). 

The park flows from the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, unifying the Abandoibarra area of Bilbao and the Nervión River. The Park's design was based on gracefully meditating for pedestrians a ten meter (33 feet) elevation difference between the city above and the Nervión River below. This was achieved with ramps, terraces, and topography, earthforms serving to control vistas and to allow for a café to be tucked under.

Instead of an “Industrial Lawn”, a “Freedom Lawn” was planted by introducing various grass species, clover and wildflowers that fixes nitrogen and reduces the need for pesticides. The paving designed by Balmori contains an additive called GeoSilex® which absorbs CO2; the paving was developed with the University of Granada and made entirely from industrial waste. The local newspaper referred to the park as “a new lung for the city.”

Plaza Euskadi

2012 - BILBAO, SPAIN

PLAZA EUSKADI

BILBAO, SPAIN

CLIENT Sociedad Bilbao Ria 2000 / SIZE 2.5 acres / 10,117 m2 / STATUS Completed 2012 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / LANTEC (Local Partner) / PHOTO CREDIT Iwan Baan / Borja Gomez / Efrain Mendez

Plaza Euskadi connects the nineteenth century section of the city called “El Ensanche” to the new section of Bilbao, Deusto university campus, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Nervión River. The Plaza is a pivot, unifying diverse elements of the city.  Apart from the Museum of Fine Arts and historic residential buildings, the plaza is surrounded by contemporary buildings such as university and library buildings, a shopping mall, a subway station, hotels, residential buildings, an office skyscraper, designed by different architects including Gehry, Moneo, Pelli, Siza, Krier, Legorreta, and Stern.

Oval in form, the plaza has two forms of circulation: a tree-lined perimeter path for leisurely walks and sitting, and a dominant central path which brings the people from downtown to Abandoibarra to the Campa de los Ingleses Park, The Rivers, and the pedestrian bridge crossing the river to Deusto University and its neighborhoods.

Three public park “pockets” hook onto the sides of the central path, which provide colorful and playful seating made from recycled rubber. Each pocket has a different character: an amphitheater section with reflection puddles, an ottoman seating section, and a “garden” section of flowering shrubs with a 100 year old Laegostremia tree.

In 2008 the construction of the plaza was impacted by the economic downturn in Spain leading to a complete re-design. The final design cost was half of the original construction budget which required the removal of fountains, a more modest planting and grading scheme, and a shift in materials. 

Artlantic

2012 - Atlantic City, NJ, USA

Artlantic

Atlantic City, NJ, USA

CLIENT Atlantic City / SIZE 7.5 acre rectangle  / STATUS Completed, 2012 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / Fung Collaboratives 

Located in proximity to Atlantic City famous boardwalk, Artlantic: Wonder Park serves the community as a public venue for art and an urban amenity providing green space. The landscape complements the art, and does not compete with it. Winding paths lead the viewers through the landscape. 

Harrisburg U.S. Courthouse

2017 - Harrisburg, PA, USA

Harrisburg U.S. Courthouse

Harrisburg, PA, USA

CLIENT United States Courthouse / STATUS Under Design 2017 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates /EnneadArchitects LLP

The landscape for the United States Courthouse in Harrisburg can be seen as a vessel for judicial functions, and also as a cultural eventscape that reinvigorates part of the city. The project creates a bold new highly articulated topographic surface that acts as a device mediating between building and site and site and surrounding urban environment. The landscape for the Federal Courthouse helps to synthesize and merge these environments. It aspires to create a new civic vision for the future of Harrisburg while recalling many of the regional and historical aspects of the city: the topography of the Blue Mountain escarpment, geological maps of the region, and the sinuous forms of the adjacent rail yard. The landscape of the courthouse, like the city itself, is borne out of an array of ideas that begin to overlap and intertwine forming a composite that contains traces of the past while providing a new civic future for Harrisburg.