Salzereda Avenue: City’s Relationship with the River


Architects: AMB (Claudi Aguiló Riu, Eva Pagés)
Location: Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Spain
Area: 3,886 m2
Year: 2019 - 2021
Photography: Jeroen Van Mieghem

The redevelopment of Salzereda Avenue aims to improve the town’s physical and visual relationship with the river. With improved accessibility and the removal of the previous development’s architectural barriers, the new esplanade opens up towards the Besòs River and turns a road infrastructure into a metropolitan civic corridor on the river. The city’s strategy for more sustainable mobility is simultaneously enhanced.

Different tree and shrub species are combined to enhance biodiversity and ecological connectivity, and urban planting enhancement techniques are incorporated. The planted areas become drainage and infiltration points to avoid saturating the sewage system.

The existing trees such as the large false peppers and poplars have been preserved, and together with the river, they are natural heritage items that recognise and enhance the sense of belonging.

Phase one starts with changing the street section by removing the road traffic underpass. A ha-ha, or sunken fence, is adopted as a landscaping strategy that allows the river to be seen from the esplanade above the flood protection wall.

In phase two, the result of the participatory process defines the maintenance of the esplanade adjacent to the built-up façade. The existing slopes and walls are removed to improve accessibility and enhance the visual effect.

The redevelopment retains the existing line of false pepper trees between the road and the esplanade. On the river bank, the trees that used to form a visual barrier have been replaced by intermittent groups that link the two spaces. Existing species are used to retain the site’s historic character.

The reduction of width of the previous road and the continuity of the new section are intended to change the perception as a road to a continuous green esplanade going from the façade to the river. A two-way cycle lane is added at the middle level between the road and the pavement, near the river, as part of the Metropolitan cycle network linked to the walkways on the left bank of the Besòs.

The participatory process shows the residents’ sense of identification and has led to a proposal that reconciles the overall metropolitan strategy by adapting to the needs of the place and those who live there and enjoy it.