22.19_CUESTA PIEDRA

Municipal sports complex and sociocultural center

IN COLLABORATION WITH

CLIENT

Public

LOCATION

Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain

CATEGORY

Public Space / Sports Complex / Sociocultural

STATUS

Competition

To analyze the scope of this intervention, we must explore into how we have arrived at this juncture, following one of the city of Santa Cruz's most intricate urban transformation processes. The name "Cuesta de Piedra" derives from the historic paved road that once linked La Laguna and Santa Cruz. In this marginal enclave bridging two municipalities, the inaugural model housing unit was erected in 1954, marking the beginning of the 355 units that would eventually comprise the so-called  Barriada de la Cuesta Piedra.

The attached houses had compact dimensions, which proved inadequate for accommodating the demographic surge of the decade in which they were built. Population density soared to such an extent that, by 1985, nearly half of the front gardens of these houses had been encroached upon by unauthorized expansions, with a third of the houses already boasting three or more stories. As the late 1990s approached, virtually all the houses had undergone illicit modifications, resulting in severe overcrowding without even basic sanitary conditions, ultimately fostering an environment rife with violence and drug trafficking in the neighborhood.

The towers erected as a façade in Villa Ascensión between 1975 and 1982 failed to conceal the grim reality of one of Santa Cruz's most notorious neighborhoods. Following the implementation of PGOU-92 and the Specific Modification Cuesta Piedra in 2003, the process of rejuvenating the 355 houses commenced, with land gradually being released in phases for the construction of new buildings. This endeavor reached its culmination in 2013 with the demolition of the final phase, situated between Emilio Serra Rus and Cañadas streets. Nonetheless, the transformational journey remains ongoing, presenting us with the challenge of furnishing this emerging neighborhood with the necessary amenities. In the words of Celso Blanco, the spokesperson for the Cuesta Piedra Replacement Commission: 'We are now determined to persevere until we secure the essential facilities and green spaces that the neighborhood truly requires.

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Asensio Ibáñez, J. (1924-25). Subida Cuesta Piedra, Santa Cruz de Tenerife [Photograph]. Zero Memory Archive.

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De la Sota, A. (1961). Sketch of a Building for the Gymnasium of Maravillas School. Digital Archive of the Alejandro de la Sota Foundation.

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PROPOSAL / ACTIONS IN THE URBAN SETTING

1 — Connect / Green Systems. It is important to recall the proposal outlined in PGOU-92, which not only pertained to the neighborhood but also encompassed the broader urban systems structured around the city's natural open spaces. Within this context, the General System - Sports Park 04 was introduced, strategically positioned along the San Joaquín ravine. Its primary objective was to establish a link between Cuesta Piedra and the Barrio de la Salud, further extending connections to the Parque de las Indias and ultimately integrating with the green axis of the Barranco de Santos. Presently, SGPD-04 boasts a total of nine sports facilities and is home to CEIP La Salud. In 2018, the inauguration of the new Plaza de Mamá Loli took place on one of the plots previously occupied by the 355 houses, signifying the initiation of Cuesta Piedra —La Salud green corridor—a development that should extend to the plot under our consideration, ultimately connecting to the aforementioned General System.

2 — Enhancing Permeability / Perimeter Edge. Despite the potential improvements that can be considered for SGPD-04, the parcel should not be isolated from this network of green corridors, appearing as an isolated island surrounded by fencing and a sidewalk. On the contrary, it should serve as a fundamental and enriching component of this system, inviting residents to explore its spaces as part of their daily commutes between various neighborhoods. Multiple pedestrian access points to the parcel are proposed, and it is envisioned without a perimeter fence, seamlessly blending with the street.

3 — Oxygenating / The neigbourhood. The ambitious program outlined in the specifications, comprising [1] Covered and Open Sports Complex + Garage, [2] Community Center, [3] Indoor Pool + Gymnasium and Directed Activities, initially occupies the entire 7,931.14 square meters of the parcel, posing a challenge in terms of adding open spaces, garden areas, trees, recreational zones, or playgrounds. It is worth recalling the requirement set forth in PGOU-05 for sports facilities, which mandates a minimum of 25% of the area to be designated for gardens and trees. The current proposal allocates 60% of the space for promenades, landscaped areas, and greenery.

4 — Overlap / Outdoor Integration. Situated within a central neighborhood setting, the primary goal of this proposal is to strike a balance between sports activities and the creation of a high-quality public space. The sports facilities, as outlined in the specifications, will occupy 40% of the plot, freeing up the remaining 60% for the development of a large landscaped and tree-filled area. To make this possible, outdoor sports facilities are superimposed on the roof of the new building, taking advantage of the natural slope of the plot, which allows for universal accessibility via an entrance walkway from Calle Las Cañadas at the higher elevation.

5 — The Program. A strategic decision has been made to consolidate the required functions into a singular constructed structure located adjacent to Calle Emilio Serra Rus, directly facing the Villa Ascensión screen building. For decades, this building had turned its back on the neighborhood, obscuring its views. This approach not only unlocks the remaining space but also optimizes the functionality of these amenities. The new open area is thoughtfully designed with two gently sloping platforms, featuring a 4% gradient, enhancing north-south connectivity between Calles José Antonio Escuder and Jose Luis de Miranda. This design effectively connects Mama Loli Square with the Parish of San Juan Evangelista. Along this path, lush greenery envelops visitors in a lively environment, with activities like climbing, ping pong, and sports courts enhancing the space.

6 — Awarness on Gender Perspective.  An essential part of the proposal is "social monitoring" as a tool to improve the perception of safety in the public space. To achieve this, the elevated position of the sports courts on the roof contributes to this oversight, providing continuous activity at a "surveillance level." Combined with the proposed general lighting of the area, it will create a safe and inclusive environment for all demographics.

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PROPOSAL / ACTIONS IN THE EQUIPMENT FACILITIES

#1 Access to the facilities — The main entrances are improved, both for the swimming pool and the sports center, consolidating vertical circulation paths for the gym and scheduled activities above the pool area, as well as access to the indoor sports court, its changing rooms, and the basement garage.

#2 Elevate the View— Villa Ascención building's visual obstruction is notable, yet an opportunity. It opens new vistas towards the sea in the southeast corner, benefiting the Sociocultural Center and indoor sports courts. An impressive view of the Anaga mountain range will be visible from the pool, roof, and outdoor public space.

#3 Optimize Resources — By consolidating the program within a very compact building, the total façade area is minimized, leading to optimized energy consumption. The intervention requires minimal excavation and no significant earth fill. Placing the building at a lower elevation avoids extensive excavation that would be needed to position the structure and its basements next to Calle Las Cañadas, resulting in cost and time savings.

#4 Filter / Light and ventilation — The new building incorporates a façade system comprising polycarbonate panels, glass, and micro-perforated metal sheets, enabling solar control of the spaces and facilitating natural cross-ventilation between opposing facades. This control over natural light and ventilation will reduce the overall energy consumption of the building.

#5 Openess to the public space — The fully permeable façade will feature openings at specific locations to encourage the integration of the surrounding public space. This feature will enhance the building's usability and will serve as the training headquarters for the Club Voleibol Cuesta Piedra, a team in the national first division, among other uses.

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