American Society of Landscape Architects ASLA 2007 Student Awards
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Baza is a town in the province of Granada in southern Spain. It has 21,000 inhabitants (2003). It is situated at 844 m above sea level, in the Hoya de Baza, a valley of the Sierra Nevada, not far from the Gallego River.
The joy of Rain.
Little water storage to reduce the descending flowing speed.
A temporary waterfall.
Rain water storage in underground tanks.

Elevation of the upper area: Public building with handicapped access and café terrasse. Vegetation is distributed along the access paths and in the shading gardens of the upper esplanade.

The actual function of the Local Police Headquarters will shift to social activities.



Rainwater Harvesting
Marti Mas Riera, Student Affiliate ASLA
Universitat Politecnica De Catalunya, Barcelona
Faculty Advisors: Miquel Vida; Jordi Bellmunt

"An artful presentation and poetic treatment of rainwater harvesting. The model was fabulous—the more we go to computers, the more we need to study models. It’s fantastic to see students thinking about phenomena and how it influences the work."

— 2008 Student Awards Jury Comments

Project Statement:

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.

Project Narrative:


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 wall.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The simplicity of the materials used, in addition to the logic of the watering structures and lighting layout, will guarantee low maintenance costs.

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.



View of the new Plaza in Alhóndiga Street and one of the main access to the top of the Fortress.
Elevation of new Cava Alta Plaza.
Cava Alta Plaza. Restricted access for service vehicles only. Rainwater tank and adjacent gardens estructure the square and invite pedestrians to enter the Alcazaba area.

Arco De La Magdalena New Plaza. Storage capacity of each rainwater tank will be approximately 40000 gallons (15000 I). The dimensions of the waterway canal is calculated according to each surface which reaches about 0.5 acres (1200 sq. m).

Arco De La Magdalena Plaza: Little holes on the water tanks will swallow the water that flows over the basalt stone.
The Model.
Explanade Aromatic Plants List.
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