The main aim of the project is to become a catalyst for leisure, cultural, sportive and pedagogical activities around the river Ter in Manlleu.
It can be explained from 3 basic approaches:
First, from the territorial perspective to enhance the riverbeds as spaces of landscape interest; second, from the urban strategy, to consolidate the green playful-cultural axis tangent to the river; and finally, from the technical solution adopted; a very punctual action of low environmental impact.
THE TERRITORIAL LOGIC, THE SUPRA-MUNICIPAL SCALE: THE RIVERBED
The project has the aim of restoring the activity of the riverbeds. By definition, riverbeds have always been magnificent ecotones, i.e. spaces that depend on the river's own ecosystem and that of its immediate surroundings; areas in between. These spaces are rich in terms of landscape and environment. As they pass through the urban centres, they have been abandoned, channelling the river and forming a boundary between the floodable and non-floodable areas.
The proposal is based on the idea that, if we bring activity back to these places and blur the boundary between river and city, we will improve them, thus strengthening their maintenance and sense of belonging.
MUNICIPAL LOGIC, URBAN STRATEGY: GREEN AXIS AND THE FOREST
Manlleu has lived by and thanks to the river: agricultural and industrial activity has benefited from the course of the Ter. If we study the urban structure, we can see that during periods of major urban development, the town has ignored the river. In recent years, the area has been enhanced with open spaces, cultural facilities, sports areas... Therefore, a new ludic-cultural axis tangent to the river on the left bank is emerging. An axis that must be promoted. An axis that starts at the railway station, at the westernmost end, and continues through the sports area, the children's playgrounds and the Promenade of the Ter until it reaches the Museum of the Ter, at the easternmost end. Just at this point, where there is a kiosk and a small pier for kayaks, the course of the river forms a loop and generates a large meadow of about 30 hectares on the right bank.
The main aim of the project is to allow the left riverbed to jump to the right, bringing this entire recreational-cultural axis into a large, previously residual area. In this way, Manlleu gains 30,000 m2 of open space. A space full of opportunities, from the purely contemplative (walking through the meadow is a luxury) to sporting (creation of new natural spaces for the practice of environmentally friendly sport).
Educational activities can also be promoted, almost like an extension of the Museum of the Ter, an open-air museum where you can not only understand and explain the importance of the river and the ecosystems that surround it, but also the heritage value of the industrial fabric: locks, canals...
THE CONSTRUCTIVE LOGIC, THE TECHNICAL SOLUTION ADOPTED: THE ECOTÓ
Among all the possibilities, a "passallis" is chosen. Those are low-impact infrastructures. A "passallis", by definition, is a floodable element. Therefore, they are devices that are naturally incorporated into the river's own dynamics. The project proposes a series of concrete platforms that reminds us of the old river crossings where you could pass from one riverbed to the other by jumping from one stone to the next.
The shape responds to the needs of working in a river environment and, therefore, there is no formalism, but rather an effective response to the hydraulic and functional demands of the crossing. Concrete walls 25cm thick, perpendicular to the flow of the river and 2.25m apart, guarantee the hydraulic capacity for the average daily flow. Above, and cantilevered, concrete platforms measuring 1.5mx3.95m and only 10cm high minimise the impact on the flow. The platforms do not touch each other and so the structure remains open, improving the hydraulic behaviour of the "passallis" in episodes of high-water flow. Between the platforms, the metallic rails, in besides providing the passage with the necessary accessibility even for service vehicles, help with maintenance as they can be disassembled.
When crossing from one riverbed to the other, the pedestrian is outside the comfort zone of the urban ecosystem and , unprotected, becomes aware of the power of the river. The noise of the water lapping against the walls, the humidity, the change in temperature... everything immerses the pedestrian in the river ecosystem.
Over the years the flood bridge will progressively evolve: the colour of the concrete will change depending on the water levels, the walls will show the scars of stones and logs caused by the episodes of several floods, the metal framework will darken due to the sun's radiation... In this way, the "passallis" will be transformed, like the banks of the river, into an ecotone: a transition zone between two ecosystems, the urban and the fluvial.