The municipality of Elche launched in 2013 a list of 35 urban spaces for their transformation through the construction of cafeterias and bandstands. Number 25 was one of the most interesting places: Santa Isabel Square. This spot in the city has extraordinary urban conditions due to relevance of the buildings allocated in its surroundings: Basilica of Santa María (s.
XVIII), a tower which once was part of the Arabian city wall, Palace of Altamira (s. XV) and the Municipal Park of Elche (World Heritage). The organization of the competition demanded for this space a cafeteria of 20m2 with a terrace over the existing pavement and a green wall dressing and old-empty dividing wall.
Our main goal was, from the very beginning to regenerate this residual area located in such an emblematic spot of the city. In order to so we decided to design an invisible architecture that wouldn’t compete with its old neighbors and also in order to make the new vertical garden the main focus of our intervention.
Therefore we built a quasi-vertical garden which accommodates therein the construction of the cafeteria, restrooms and storage room, leaving the rest of the square free for the terrace to appear. The construction work started with the construction of a triangulated structure formed by steel profiles fixed to the existing diving wall covered by two membranes (PVC and felt) which accommodate the irrigation system and plants.
The garden is a tile of 150m2 large made up of over 3000 different Mediterranean species, some of them endemic and singular (Mirto, Hipérico, Lavanda, Carex, Tulbalghia, Pennisetum or Lampranto are few of them). Thanks to its hydroponic irrigation system and the mentioned selection of plants the use of pesticides is not required for its maintenance what fosters natural pollination.
It should be pointed out that this green wall is able to create oxygen for over 100 people, it will catch 70 tons of gases, more than 26 kilos of heavy metals and almost 14 kilos of dust in a year. The whole intervention is completed with a small concert area and an outdoor cinema.
Also, connected to the project there has been an artistic intervention in which the umbrellas of the terrace have been used as canvas that some local artists have painted on. .