This kilometer and a half long seaside promenade was once a dull, mundane, rigidly paved path with access to the adjacent beach limited to 200m intervals and views of the sea obstructed by a meter high concrete balustrade.
Now its a fluid, colourful dynamic public space that seamlessly connects a mass of scrapers and tar to the cool of nature’s beach and sea. In 2002, the Benidorm Council and the Government of Valencia decided to invest over 10 million euros to reform the promenade. A competition was held with a call of concepts that could provide “an architectural solution that was sufficiently potent to bring coherence to this abrupt seafront façade“. Simply, the idea had to improve access to the beach and as well as visual access to the sea from the city.
Inspired by the flow of sea with sand, The new promenade is a complex flow of concrete, wood and earth that simplifies the transition between skyscrapers and beach. Surprisingly, the elegantly undulating forms are based on a modular system. To quote David Bravo Bordas “It is structured on the basis of a sinuous succession of walls of white concrete that delimit terraces, garden plots, stairs and ramps.“
. With gardens and brightly colour paving as well as a host of stairs and ramps, coming and going along this promenade is now an engaging and pleasurable experience, allowing easy access to the beach without any obstruction to the views of the sea.
Night or day, the seaside promenade of the Playa Poniente is a joy to behold and experience. From the colour to the inter-connectivity, the gardens and natural materials to the imposing yet symbiotic embrace of the structure along the beach, there is a sense of one-ness birthed by a desire not to forcefully construct but to seamlessly channel. Its quite a sight.