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Urban connection and new centrality space on the axis of the railway line in Vilafranca del Penedés

A new free space gained on the train tracks that introduces the "cool island" effect within the city through a linear park.

Parc sobre el cobriment del ferrocarril a Vilafranca del Penedès
Parc sobre el cobriment del ferrocarril a Vilafranca del Penedès

Park on the covering of the railway in Vilafranca del Penedés

The passage of the high-speed train (TGV) in the city center of Vilafranca del Penedès takes advantage of the existing railway layout and is placed alongside the current tracks of Renfe. The new set of tracks occupies a very important space in the center of the city, and its covering establishes the chance of redesigning the city and defining and consolidating its urban structure.

Authors

Batlleiroig Arquitectura. Enric Batlle Durany, Joan Roig i Duran, Iván Sánchez Fabra – Architect

Team

Joan Batlle Blay, Livia Valentini – Architect and landscape architect / Dolors Feu – Agricultural engineer and landscape architect / Yago Cavaller Galí – Agricultural engineer and environmentalist

Collaborators

SBS Simón i Blanco – Engineering

Promoter

Ajuntament de Vilafranca del Penedès

Construction company

Rogasa

Project status

In progress

Start date

2015

Finish date

2022

Outdoor surface

49093 m2
© Jordi Surroca

A new environmental relationship between the train and the city

The covering of the tracks allows the recovery of a large free space that runs along with the city, creating a space of new urban centrality, which makes the railway station more accessible to all citizens.

This area has the opportunity to improve the railway’s layout enhancing the environmental relationship between the train and the city, which, at the moment, is very deteriorated by noise and the presence of catenaries. Vilafranca is currently divided into two sectors due to these train tracks and their platforms. This new public space will allow a new urban connection between the two sectors of an estimated extension of 11 Ha and 2 kilometers in length. The improvement in connectivity and the recovery of the new public space is a new urban condition that has long been desired by the citizens of Vilafranca del Penedès.

The project of the large urban park includes multiple uses such as sports areas, play areas, urban gardens, parking areas, fairground, amphitheater, and multiple groves. The groves have special importance since they give this space distinct quality.

© Jordi Surroca
© Jordi Surroca

A tree-lined promenade

The structure of the new civic axis is proposed with an asymmetric section and a single track located on the side of the roof. The road is transformed into a large tree-lined promenade where active and sustainable mobility gains prominence, subtracting space from motorized mobility. The space of use for people acquires a greater dimension, housing the largest number of trees possible located mainly in the space available next to the underground railway infrastructure.

The promenade is dressed with a great variety of trees along the entire route to complement the existing large pine trees. The project intentionally encourages the presence of deciduous species due to their high effectiveness in improving the bioclimatic conditions of walking areas. The trees with large lobed and patterned leaves make it possible to avoid the heating of the paved surfaces of the performance, improving the ability to reduce the air temperature through evapotranspiration, during the hours of greatest solar irradiation.

© Jordi Surroca

The garden

The project is committed to converting the space gained into a biodiverse garden compatible with the existing infrastructure in the subsoil. A garden to walk through along naturalized paths finished in compacted earth, surrounded by a great variety of shrub plants, next to a huge green meadow of unique proportions in the center of the city.

The new garden makes it possible to convert the entire coverage space into a large bioclimatic regulator composed of granular and plant materials that minimize the heating of the surfaces and improve the absorption and retention capacity of rainwater. The humidification of the subsoil improves the development of the vegetation and contributes to the reduction of the air temperature by evapotranspiration. The result is a place full of life, with a seasonal character, which softens the environmental conditions in the hottest times, and improves the air quality of the adjoining neighborhoods in the center of the city.

© Jordi Surroca
© Jordi Surroca

Currently, a total of 5.8 hectares of the eleven planned in the project have been executed. This first phase has meant the planting of more than 400 trees, has tripled the permeable surface and has allowed the creation of a new space of urban centrality for recreation and the enjoyment of all citizens.