De-espacio is a proposal based on the disappearance of Los Caídos (The Fallen) as the driving force behind the process of redefining the urban environment surrounding this monument. The transformation will establish a new image and significance for this highly central spot in Pamplona, a meeting point between the historic city centre and new developments to the south. The proposal is to selectively dismantle the monument, mausoleum and arcades, and progressively replace them with a large tree-lined park, a boulevard that highlights the symbolic value of the public space gained for the city. It is a proposal that deals with space as a fundamental urban value and with slow methods (de-espacio) for it to evolve towards new scenarios. In this first phase, the task is to establish guidelines to support the process of transforming urban space. The people will then get to vote on these guidelines in the citizen participation consultation planned between the two phases. The proposal features three groups of actions (dismantling, planting, paving), carried out simultaneously, to guide the evolution of the whole.
Dismantling the monument selectively, in a process spread out over time, so the material can be reused on the same spot: Parque de la Libertad (Freedom Park).
A series of complementary actions are proposed:
Surveying the monument precisely and comparing it to the documents, plans and photos from when it was built.
Cataloguing all the elements to determine whether they can be reused in the same space, sent to museums or to landfills.
Analysing building solutions, on-site tests, load tests and dismantling methods suited to the real situation of the monument.
Determining the first stages of dismantling to quickly provide space for manoeuvring, storage and works.
Dismantling the various parts of the monument in vertical stages, from the top down to the ground.
Maintaining the crypt walls, protected with membranes and structures, for backfilling with granular materials from the site.
Classifying and inventorying building elements and cleaning and adapting them to be reused in the same space.
The selective dismantling proposed, as it is done slowly over time, can be tied to archaeology and construction workshops, as an opportunity for vocational education and university students to gain on-site experience.
As the spaces are vacated, reclaiming them to plant the trees that will make up the great boulevard, merging the new mass of vegetation with the splendid arboreal heritage existing in Plaza de la Libertad and the park. Populus, Acer, Cupressus, Cedrus, Laurus, Platanus and other species will create an essentially deciduous plant canopy, guided by the planting logic of the different parts, straight alignments and existing exedra, meshes and core structures proposed. Species will be selected based on their growth potential and ability to use the site as an adaptive nursery. Also, the actual capacity of the subsoil, with its underground ruins, to allow them to develop fully in harmony. The nurseries can be linked to gardening training centres and pre-primary schools to raise awareness of the educational value of increasing greenery in cities.
Planting and subtle topographical manipulation help delimit public-use areas, clear paths, organise the construction sites, structure public transport, erase the traces and rhetorical shapes of the monument and excessive roads unsuitable for the future park. From the first step of the dismantling process, planting operations will begin, reinforcing the evolutionary dimension of the operation, intrinsic to the very evolution of the growing trees. The new trees soften the impact of the construction site and help anticipate the new morphologies of the park.
Reusing the stone material from the selective dismantling of the site to pave, create limits and flatten slight slopes, and create urban furnishings that help shape the spaces, enclaves and routes, building the throughways and structure of the open park step by step.
The reused stones, cladding and ashlars will be treated on site, assessing their geometric potential to form continuous, walkable surfaces, highlighting the quality of their exposed faces and the roughness of the hidden ones, adjusting the edges and corners of each piece, fitting each element into the motley, heterogeneous ensemble of flat surfaces and slight reliefs that break it up.
The result of this process of adapting/recycling elements will have a strong tactile component with a direct impact on valorising new visuals and on the material image of the whole, strongly tectonic, in order to overcome the current rhetoric charged with negative, anti-urban symbolism and establish a friendly, welcoming space for people to pass through and spend time in.
The gravel resulting from the demolition of the concrete and masonry elements will be used in situ to fill in the underground spaces and to shape small topographical changes throughout the complex.
From mere contemplation of the transformation process to active, even militant, participation, the role of the people, individually or organised through social and cultural associations, is fundamental in orienting the guidelines and specifying design solutions for the future park, with special attention to programme content. Increasing the social use of the public spaces in the study area must be a priority throughout the operation.
The transformation of Los Caídos must address a process of urban and symbolic reflection that will involve many stages and interventions. The success of the operation depends on the richness of this process, without losing the meaning of the project. The city is built through collective ideas. To do this, the right questions must be asked, generating new perspectives and conditions for these ideas to evolve. It is the professionals’ task to establish a conversation and lead it, ensuring it is of high quality. This helps avoid confrontations and build community, with the evolving transformation project as the driving force for collective debate.
As methodological resources, it is possible to anticipate holding themed workshops on site, organising debates with external contributions that question the ongoing process, social use of the space at each stage of its transformation, involving different groups in temporary, organised or informal logics, all based on up-to-date, transparent information on the state of evolution.
The whole square/park space acts as a great stage for action throughout the transformation process, in full view of everyone. Areas set aside for dismantling, acclimatisation nurseries, materials storage, treating ashlars and slabs, planting, building paving and treating gravel coexist to form a great kaleidoscope, a changing mosaic that visitors can walk through until it takes its final shape at the end of the process. These enclosures of varied and variable use, on top of being suited to each of the scheduled actions, must be sized to facilitate, from the very beginning, permeable use of the whole space, in line with its evolution, until the final, finished stage. Transparency, visibility and the ability to walk through the enclosed areas in each phase of the project are fundamental to allow people to participate actively and empower them as part of the decisions that will have to be made further down the line. In this sense, the geometric patterns of the enclosures, their dimensions, distance and relationships to each other, the quality of the protective boundaries, essentially transparent, the changing signposting of the activities that take place in them, are all assets that will ensure everyone involved in the transformation of the space understands and participates in the process.
Image and city
The Los Caídos monument and its surroundings close off the central fabric of Pamplona like an impermeable urban plug that denies the continuity of the city towards the new growth to the south. This point has historically been treated in successive plans as the limit of the urban area. It must be acknowledged that, at the time of its construction, the monument had a short period, before the houses in the square and the church were built, as a balcony over the open landscape, which can be seen in the historical photographs, of a certain urban interest. This has nothing to do with the current situation, where the dominance of its alleged compositional and symbolic value compromises the urban potential of the node to the south. The formal rhetoric (axiality, classical language, dome) serves this closure of the city and it is difficult to evolve towards solutions that open up the space, functionally and symbolically. The options for redefining its meaning, maintaining the mausoleum, with or without a dome, putting it in a sealed enclosure, reusing it as a cultural centre, will not end the debate on whether it should be kept, because the negative weight of its urban presence is too great. Some of the proposals made in March 2018 seemed to be the first step in a collective process to reach the conclusion, in the long run, that it must be demolished.
It is necessary to understand the need to reinvent it, replacing the current image, as a radical evolution of the space so that it takes on new meaning. We therefore propose starting off from the premise of getting rid of the monument to concentrate all our efforts on establishing a method that makes deconstruction compatible with reflection on the new urban image, a free and green public space, relatively easy to anticipate in the coming years. And, more complicated, the construction of new and more complex symbolic contents open to other moments in Pamplona’s urban history. This way, the area of Parque de la Libertad becomes a gateway to the historic city, the entrance and exit, and Plaza del Castillo, at the other end of Av. de Carlos III, recovers its role as a reference point for the entire city, not only for the most historic core of the old district and the Ensanche, opening up towards the growth to the south through a complex urban system.
The proposal for this first phase is essentially methodological. The aim is to establish the dynamics of a shared narrative in order to collectively accept the evil that the mausoleum, beyond its significance, causes in the city. The poor urban, architectural and constructive quality of the building, its unsuitability and the difficulty of adapting it for any other use in line with current needs, the disproportionate transformation and maintenance costs that such options would entail, the risk of remaining in an eternal unfinished debate that accelerates the degradation of the urban environment. For all these reasons, the De-espacio proposal establishes the spatial guidelines for a process of debate that takes place over time but at the same time as the works on site, which could symbolically begin in the coming weeks with the planting of a tree and the start of the dismantling works. Time management is a key factor in building consensus and executive agreements. Bringing people together in groups that are related, themed, discordant, specialised, heterogeneous, informal. Preparing activities on site: sports, cultural, social, temporary and permanent, getting organisations from the surrounding urban environment involved in managing them. Planting trees, having barbecues, playing in teams, exercising, selecting stones, drawing ruins, representing actions, sharing music, singing and dancing, and so many other daily actions will help bring in a broader base of people participating and build the necessary consensus for collective decisions on the actions to be undertaken. This is the meaning of our proposal at the foundational moment of the transformation process.
|Transformation of “El Monumento a los Caidos” and its surroundings
|Project (no-win contest)
|Plaza Conde de Rodezno. Pamplona
|Eva Serrats, Francesc Pla y Oriol Clos
|Raúl Goñi (communication design), Aleix Gómez (architect)