Sand Motor in Costa Brava
- Daniel Mira García - YTAA Shortlist
Healing the Spanish Coast after the housing bubble
"During the Spanish housing bubble, the 30% of the beachfront was urbanised. This project is a manual to regenerate these lost landscapes: starting from deconstruction, up to the aerodynamic design of sand catcher devices, it aims to build a coexistence space between tourism and nature"
I have chosen the Costa Brava coast, specifically the city of Estartit, because it presents unique native ecosystems. The Government declared this area a Nature Reserve in 2010; this reduced tourism and banned all new buildings. However, none state action was taken to recover the landscape that had been already lost. Faced with this restrictive attitude of the administration, this project proposes an active intervention in the territory; a plan for large-scale regeneration. Thus a respectful architecture will recover a dune landscape devastated by uncontrolled urban development.
During my last college years, I realized that the spanish architectural scene has not recovered yet from the housing bubble we lived in until 2008. Our society does not need more "theatral" architecture; the country is saturated of empty cultural centers and museums. However, most students continue doing their final thesis on a building of this type, which they know well that is incompatible with the professional world they will find outside the university.
When I started this project I decided to do something different, face a real problem that requires an innovative architectural solution. I wanted to make up a possible job for a brand new architect; to reinvent the profession. Between 1990 and 2006, 30% of the Mediterranean coast was urbanized. Since then, many native ecosystems of the Costa Brava are disappearing. Destroyed landscapes require architectural actions which create spaces for coexistence between man and nature.
This project is an investigation that seeks the environmental recovery of the native ecosystems of the Natural Park of l'Estartit. The work is presented as a strategic plan that includes 3 interventions whose effects overlap, and whose ultimate goals are not the actions themselves but the result they produce all together on site:
a) Deconstructing illegal houses that invade the frontbeach
b) Regenerating the dune landscape by installing structures that capture the sand on the wind
c) Extending the frontbeach area with submerged artificial reefs
All this process produces a new relief on the beach, which has been designed for making posible a respectful tourism and a natural field where the native flora and fauna are able to settle.
I deeply trust this project because it reflects that a sustainable architecture is possible.