No more dark in the park

Samy Mansour
Monday 11 Jan 2010

On the site of a former Gas factory, Plaza del Gas illuminates its dim back drop

Plaza del Gas is the a winning entry in a competition held by the Bilbao Town Council, the objective of which was the renewal of a post-industrial site in front of the Town Hall.

Situated on the former site of a Gas Factory, which had once provided the City´s illumination, its location is a fusion of riverside views, between the Guggenheim and the Arriaga Theatre.

The open views and the natural setting create the perfect mood of peace and calm. The first of a series of benches offer a more secluded entrance to the square, whilst the backdrop to the square is the illumination of an old wall, which acts as a beacon amidst the darkness of the park at night.

The program of dwellings constitutes a simply laid out and flexibly distributed response to the needs of those families re-housed from the demolished buildings. The facade of the adjacent buildings, with balconies and moldings, demanded a high-quality rational facade, similar to those typical of 1950s Bilbao. Our proposal sought to establish its identity via the corner windows, with ample views and generous facade openings which balanced the relationship between mass and space, and framed views of the park and square.

Bilbao’s high relative humidity oriented the building concept towards a ventilated facade. The colour, with its reddish tones, seeks a “Gas” tone, in contrast with the woodwork, which absorbs and dilutes the overall character of the blocks, highlighting the spaces.

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