The project of the Fortress is considered
to be foremost a union with the urban area: a great
open top plain intrinsically connected to the city,
with great visibility, shaded areas for resting and
for the ascent in the entrances. This aims to be an
elegant and functional project for citizens and the
elevated position of the Fortress is used to manage
the rainwater flow to the remodeling “plazas”
where the water tanks are located.
RAIN WATER HARVESTING IN BAZA´S
FORTRESS HILL (ALCAZABA DE BAZA):
After centuries of deterioration of the
Arabic Fortress Hill from the 13th Century, a substantial
strategy carried by the Regional Government of Andalucia
and the City Council of Baza was being taken by a competition
of ideas project in May 2007.
The Baza´s Fortress project is intended
to be definitive since over the last decades there had
been many random meaningless interventions. A restoration
of the Archeological remains (the Arab wall) are mandatory
by the local authorities.
The Rain Water Harvesting project depicts
a new identity icon and singular reference point for
the city. The project is not focused on competing with
the remains of the Arab fortress wall or with the inherent
personality of the Fortress mound but rather intends
to work with these elements to promote the personality
of the area. Native vegetation and local materials are
rescued from the last inadequate interventions made
by massive apportions of concrete. This is the reason
why the first phase of the project consists of the hill
restoration giving it the original sillouhete and supression
of contemporany constructions. The aim is to reinforce
the ancient defensive perspective of the Arab fortress
The project surface has geometric fissures
that will collect the rainwater from the top surface
level through the trenches. The essence of the project
consists of a poetic management of water. Centuries
ago the arabs were well known for their command of water
management and, today, in this project the descent of
surface water is embellished. In this way, the project
uses the scarce rainfall of southern Spain to draw the
link with the different emblematic spaces in the city
east and west.
IMAGE AND IDENTITY:
The rainwater will visibly collect on the esplanade,
it will descend through the access paths and end in
small waterfalls before being stored in underground
tanks. The wall and the pertinent archaeological excavations
will be unveiled and will be favoured by the restoration
of the adjacent slopes. A bushy and indigenous vegetation
will be planted on the surface (Ever green oaks and
native olive trees, etc.) the resulting space will be
a surface of delicate and severe finishes, surrounded
the paths links to the city.
ELEMENTS OF INTEREST:
The urban space created by the development will be equipped
with cultural facilities (possibly a centre which documents
the archaeological remains) and a covered cafeteria-restaurant
that meets the service requirements of these activities.
The border of the esplanade to be raised will be a great
viewpoint over the city of Baza. The new Caz Mayor walkway
will bring the citizens closer to the Alcazaba.
ELEMENTS OF COMFORT:
The presence of vegetation in the esplanade is taken
into account and in the access areas so that the ascent
can be done in the shade. This will also contain furnishing
elements such as benches, lights and other mechanisms
to guarantee user comfort. The new Caz Mayor walkway
and other new paths will allow for resting in the shade.
Usage of the esplanade can change throughout the day,
week and year. Although it is initially planned that
this will be associated with the equipment and the terrace
bar which support it, the fact that this is equipped
with homogenous lighting and support poles for lath
houses, guarantees flexibility. The upper esplanade
has been thought up to allow visibility of the area,
which should avoid any unwanted uses.
The starting point of the proposal is the aspect of
sustainability. The rainwater tanks will permit the
storage of the rainwater in the areas at the base of
the Alcazaba. Hosepipe watering will also take place
in the areas with trees, those where land is substituted
with treed gardens, accesses and areas with sandy-clay
earth. As such the trees can live to be centurions.
The intrinsic difficulty of the topographical difference
in height is solved by the location of some strategically
placed accesses and the creation of a new walkway at
the boundary. A lift is planned within the facility
that gives access to the Cava Alta square, from which
restricted access is permitted to service vehicles up
to the high point of the esplanade. The rest of the
proposed access paths have an approximate width of 3m.
The developed area will be pedestrian only.
CONNECTION TO THE CITY
A walkway at the base of the Alcazaba is proposed: Renovation
of the old Caz Mayor route. This will be adapted to
the same characteristics as the rest of the accesses
(tree-lined, lit up, support furnishings etc.). The
area that will be referred to as the upper esplanade
will merge with current buildings via a whitewashed
wall with climbing vines. A vibrating beauty feature
is proposed. The conversion of the accesses into the
principle arranger of the esplanade spaces, aims to
guarantee east-west, north-south connectivity of the
city. All the descending paths are direct and end in
squares in the city of Baza. The new Caz Mayor walkway
will bring the citizens closer to the summit.
EASE OF MAINTENANCE:
The simplicity of the materials used, in addition to
the logic of the watering structures and lighting layout,
will guarantee low maintenance costs.
PROMOTION OF HERITAGE:
Last, but not least, on the back of the restoration
of the existing hill slopes and the rest of the leveling
operations, it is clearly intended to promote and recover
the view of the wall for Baza and the new archaeological
remains that may be uncovered.