THE RIVER OF SEVILLE
ARA 01 - 07 - 2010

The proposed location for my hometown project is on a large flat plot of land next to a small river. While in Seville on the 9th of January, I took the time to hike to the river just west of the Plaza del Toros so I could study how the river bank was treated. Being a Saturday the area was well populated, and the way in which the space was being used was very interesting.

The first thing I noticed was a boardwalk that ran parallel with the river. It sat just above flush with the ground. Most people used to for biking across, but I did see a few pedestrians on it as well. It was composed if simple wood planks, but I’ll admit its simple appearance made it intriguing. This boardwalk along the riverfront is great because it draws traffic through the many plazas along the way (like the one I was visiting) and makes for a positive interaction with Seville’s main water feature.

The next thing I observed was a group of young guys and girls collaborating in an underpass created by a bridge which crossed the river. They appeared to be beginner rock climbers who were drawn to this underpass for its large rocks that made for good stepping/climbing stones. A few in the group seemed to be experienced and were teaching the beginners as they attempted to climb that wall that was now taller than 15’ or so. This was clearly a perfect location for such an event. I liked the idea that a bridge built with large stones to match the landscape could appear as a rock climbing wall to someone. Thanks to their keen eye, the space now has more appeal and sees more activity creating a more effective space. What I now must do is begin to explore the duality of my space. How can something performing a basic function architecturally and aesthetically begin to take on that 3rd element of real interaction with its occupants? If I can focus on this I can unlock the hidden potential of my riverside space.

Lastly, the river its self was heavily used. As we stood there a group of ten or so rowers came down the river. With events like this people are drawn away from the boardwalk up to the river to see what’s taking place. They may otherwise pass through. So it is important to offer vantages points on to the river, and to make it possible for the river to be accessible to hobbyists. Given the scale of the river on my site I wouldn’t expect rowers to be using it, but small canoes could certainly be present.

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