Spain. Pedestrian area MADRID RIO PROJECT

It is one of the brightest examples of creation of the leisure pedestrian area with a help of underground construction and relocation underground of infrastructure in regard of solving the problem of excessive motorization.  

The project implemented on the both banks of the river Manzanares, in the capital of Spain, Madrid.  Now there is a beautiful park in the center of the city, a big cultural and tourist attraction, offering different entertainment and leisure for the citizens and guests of busy industrial and social center of Europe.  The project “Madrid Rio” freed the center of the city from transport surface infrastructure, that developed rapidly in 70-es and had negative environmental and esthetic impact.

RIO Madrid Park

Positive for development time period for Madrid is 60 - 70-es, when population seriously grew.  The population of Madrid had reached 3.15 million by 1970, for instance, in 1960 it was only 2.26 million people. However, the positive tendency controversial had negative impact in increasing of ratio of vehicles to population.   At the same period new transport systems were developed, network of city parking was constructed.  As a result, motorway M-30 was constructed in the area of the river Manzanares, joining the central part and the suburbs. City authorities planned this motorway to ease traffic issues, but eventually multilane ring road had low traffic capacity and did not suffice its purpose.   The construction of the motorway influenced not only ecological balance but also became a reason for economic decline in the western part of Madrid, with it being separated by the road from other districts. Real estate fell in prices, the trade level decreased – small stores closed, large networks were relocated to more prosperous districts, and of course no tourist business could be developed there. Eventually, the area being so closed to the center of the city generally became depressed.

The part of М30, the Manzanares river in Madrid  (photo from exhibition Madrid Rio Project in Yaroslav Fragner Gallery, published on  the website of online magazine Design Magazine).

The city government decided to reconstruct the road in order to improve the urban climate. The project became a part of global changing of the whole transport system of Madrid. Primary the changes were made for roads, public transportation, like vast metro construction and LRT, linking most parts of metropolis. More than 100 new metro stations and 43 km of 4-line underground road were planned
During the period of 2006 – 2010  the road was relocated underground, allowing to free 3.000 Ha of the surface and lay out the park, divided into 3 zones:
1 zone “Salón de Pinos” – a green corridor, planted exactly instead of the road.  It is famous not only for its pine trees alley, but also entertainment section, containing different sport equipment, etc.  The Pine alley is laid out on the concrete floor, with the trees fixed with metal cords and  flanges made of natural morphologies materials.

Draft layout of the park area above the tunnel. (MADRIDRIO PROJECT. A Project of Urban transformation. - Spain (Madrid):TURNER, 2011)

The plan of the Park RIO MADRID (MADRIDRIO PROJECT. A Project of Urban transformation. - Spain (Madrid):TURNER, 2011)

2 zone “Casa de Campo”, Portugal alley, “La Virgen del Puerto” gardens – during renovation the foundation of the palace was raised above the river, the esplanade was open. On the other bank of the river Manzanares a lot of flower-beds were laid out along the renovated structures:  Puente de Segovia, Portugal alley, the river gates.
3 zone: “La Ribera del Agua. Park Arganzuela”  - the largest park of the project is situated here, with a total area of 33 Ha, it is a part of a riverside park.  One of the main features of the park is  Andorra bridge, constructed on the open cells profiles.  

Esplanada del Rey RIO MADRID (MADRIDRIO PROJECT. A Project of Urban transformation. - Spain (Madrid):TURNER, 2011)

The underground part of the project includes multiline motorway and parking. The Narrow passing remained on the surface, suitable to suffice the need of approaching of vehicles to different structures at “Rio Madrid” area or in its vicinity.  The projects interacted with six different districts in total (650 Ha): Moncloa-Aravaca, Centro, Arganzuela, Latina, Carabanchel and Usera.   Thanks to this project the system of public transport was developed. At present,   Metro of Madrid is one of the largest in the world and has 13 lines with 272 stations, with annual passenger traffic of 627 million passengers. It took about 5 billion euro to implement the project. Underground space use allowed renovating integrity of the urban area of the capital of Spain, improving the economic condition of some areas of the city. Consequently, the investment attractiveness of the city increased and the whole level of economic development of the country improved. West 8 (The Netherlands) and  MRIO Arquitectos (Spain) developed the project.  



MADRIDRIO PROJECT. A Project of Urban transformation. - Spain (Madrid):TURNER, 2011. - 251 p.
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