Building context and proposal

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Cultural Quarter


The move of the port installations to Punta Langosteira (the outer port) will enable a complete, original and functional re-thinking of the space made available. The existing industrial port's reformation project aims at improving the sea front by introducing a cluster of creative and cultural industries (cultural quarter) in the city centre, as a catalyst to the city and the three phases of the port.

From this starting point the idea is to reuse land that up to now was reserved for the port's industrial activities and make it accessible for residents to enjoy as new leisure areas. Commercial and culturally lead, green corridors and broad streets will all be projected to let people come into direct contact with the sea.

The site is Battery Quay, Calvo Sotelo North and South Quay, at the southern end of the gardens Méndez Núñez and the Rosaleda, separated from them by the adjoining buildings. The rebuilding foreseen will open the gardens up to the sea and will enable people to walk freely up to the water's edge, turning the only dock that is perpendicular to the city's facade into a magnificent viewing point.

Brief Outline of User Requirements:

Taking into account the whole of the docks, the Port of A Coruña has as a whole 219.6 acres for the different services. Due to the scale of the port, the process of regeneration has been divided into three different phases.

  • Phase One: Battery Quay, Calvo Sotelo North and South Quay (22 acres)
  • Phase Two: San Diego Quay (98.8 acres)
  • Phase Three: Fishing basins, Marina and Antedársena basins (98.8 acres)

The proposed buildings will be carefully thought out on the master plan and all combine to make a Cultural Quarter (22 acres) they are; a convention centre, a public library, an exhibition space, a commercial centre, a hotel, a sport centre, and a market place.

Proposed Location:

Battery Quay, Calvo Sotelo North and South Quay

Outside Advisers/clients to be used as sources of Reference:

La Coruña city council, and Port authority

Introduction 1000 1163

Since the project of the new Outer Port Facilities in Punta Langosteira, will be finished in 2012, all existing industrial activities in the port of A Coruña will be transferred during 2010 onto the new outer port, starting with Battery Quay, Calvo Sotelo North and South Quay, therefore providing additional land to the city centre.

The port of A Coruña, as focal point of the whole City, is vital to the promotion of European City objectives. One mark of the European style of civilization is the concentration of civic, cultural and commercial life in city centers, in a manner and style related to the individual and not to the car.

The port will create a pedestrian friendly cultural quarter, and consolidate its position as a service and business hub, which will become a haven for tourists, business men and with new uses for citizens. The surrounding area around the port contains a unique identity and character with a contrast between new and old architecture. The scale and location of the port in relation to the city also highlights its importance and provides a safe and welcoming environment and contributed to turning A Coruña into a cosmopolitan and forward-thinking city.


Over the centuries, the coastline of A Coruña, a city that looks out directly onto the Atlantic Ocean, exerted an irresistible attraction on Celts, Phoenicians and Romans. In the 2nd century, they built the Tower of Hercules, today the world's only working Roman lighthouse, the pride of the city and declared as a World Heritage Site.

In the 9th century, the city suffered successive waves of attacks by the Norman pirates. During the middle Ages the population settled on the site that today is known as the Old Town. In 1208, Coruña received its city charter from King Alfonso IX, who also conferred a series of royal privileges on the city.

A year after the Spanish Armada called in at the Port of A Coruña on its way to invade England, the corsair Francis Drake, a loyal servant of Queen Elizabeth I of England attacked the city, which was valiantly defended by the people of A Coruña, led by the local heroine María Pita. During the French invasion, A Coruña was the only city that stood up to the invading troops. Particularly worthy of mention is the Battle of Elviña, which took place on 16 January 1809 and during which General Sir John Moore was fatally wounded whilst defending the city. Today his remains are buried in San Carlos Gardens.

The 17th and 18th centuries were marked by intense trading activity with America and numerous Spanish and European ports.

The 19th century was a time rapid economic, cultural and urban development, reflected in the gallery windows that line Avenida de la Marina, the Modernist buildings and the Kiosco Alfonso... in the 20th century, the city became a hive of activity, focusing on culture, progress and the future.

The sea, a constant figure in the history of the city of A Coruña, is the first thing that strikes you when arriving in the city by sea, land and especially by air. The stunning views of the tidal estuary are truly unforgettable, but there is much more to discover.

Old Town

As in every city, the "Old Town" is an absolute must. Corners rich in history, squares where time seems to have stood still, such as Las Bárbaras or Azcárraga, lined with ancient trees... you can also admire splendid examples of Romanesque art in the churches dotted around this quarter.

Churches like the Collegiate Church of Santa María del Campo, a superb example of the Ogival Romanesque style; the churches of Santiago, San Francisco, the convents of Las Bárbaras and Santo Domingo are all true works of art; emblematic streets named after ancient guilds that transport us back in time to a medieval and Baroque city.

In the Old Town you will find fascinating antique shops, situated in a unique location totally in keeping with the objects they sell, as well as traditional taverns and delightful restaurants. When night falls this area is transformed into one of the hubs of the city's nightlife.

From the Sea Promenade

The Sea Promenade is the ideal point from which to start exploring the city. It's more than 13.5 kilometers, which make this the longest promenade in Europe, encircling the city from San Antón Castle to El Portiño. It has a bicycle lane, tram, road and pedestrian walkway. Starting from San Antón Castle, you will be able to admire the marina with its mooring berths and services, as well as the yachts and sailing ships that create a colorful sight all year round.

A city to have fun in

A Coruña has always been noted for its outgoing and extrovert character. Locals love to get out and about, enjoying an evening stroll, a shopping trip, going for tapas or meeting friends for a drink at the street cafés in winter as well as in summer. In keeping with Spain's long-standing tradition of social gatherings in cafés, the city's residents love to meet to chat and discuss everyday events.

The city of glass

It's well worth taking the time to explore the city centre. Leave your car and enjoy a stroll around the streets, because this is a city that is made for walking.

The centre forms the hub of the city's economic, commercial and cultural activity, with its busy port and cruise liner dock. The perfect starting point and an absolute must on every visitor's itinerary is Plaza de María Pita, site of the City Hall and watched over by the statue of local heroine María Pita and the eternal flame.

Yet perhaps A Coruña is best-known for its glass façade that looks out onto the sea in Avenida de La Marina, gallery windows which are probably the finest example of this typical element of Galician architecture. The colonnades offer numerous street cafés and restaurants.

Back to the sea

A unique location -a peninsula jutting out into the majestic sea- has provided this city with its principal source of wealth: the port, one of the most important in Europe. Yet the port has not only determined the economic development of this city, but has also contributed to forming its open, tolerant character, and the welcoming nature of its inhabitants.

The freshest fish and shellfish straight from the Galician tidal estuaries, much appreciated throughout Spain, are delivered daily at first light to A Coruña's fish market. Fishermen and shellfish gatherers take part in the auction: a complex language and signaling system, crates of fish, a smell of salt, fish and shellfish. Voices are raised in an attempt to get the best price. Sights and sounds that are definitely not to be missed.

Several slogans have been used to define A Coruña: "the City of Glass"; "the City where no one is a stranger"; "Balcony over the Atlantic"... but perhaps the one that best sums up the essence of this city is "A Coruña: a city to come back to".


Site choice

All the docks cover a surface area of 219.6 acres, including city, fishing and industrial functions. There is a clear division between the north docks, mainly for urban use, and the south docks, which are more focused on large premise use. Due to the scale of the port, the process of regeneration has been divided into three different phases.

  • Phase One: Battery Quay, Calvo Sotelo North and South Quay (22 acres)
  • Phase Two: San Diego Quay (98.8 acres)
  • Phase Three: Fishing basins, Marina and Antedársena basins (98.8 acres)

The selected site

The location of the site is on phase one, which is of the upmost importance to the regeneration of the port, a key starting point for A Coruña, to becoming a European city, by introducing a catalyst (cultural quarter) for the city and adjacent communities.

The location profits from superb permeability and connectivity. The Rosaleda and Mendez Nuñez gardens rest beside the adjacent listed and governmental buildings along the battery Quay. The buildings are the government delegation office, the marine military command head quarters, customs main office, the police head quarter, and Galicia's port authority head quarters.

Site information 384

The site is also located between the transatlantic quay where large cruises moor (54.575 passengers last year) and Linares Quay (950 fishing boats last year) which holds A Coruña's fish market which opens at 5am, at this time of day the site gathers a particular and traditional smell of salt, fish and shellfish.

The site is composed by three quays, Battery, Calvo Sotelo North and Calvo Sotelo South Quays all quays have rail tracks.

Battery quay is 277m long, with a draught of 11m and with two width of 23-55m. Its use is for general goods, bulks and contains a roll-on/roll-off ramp, with installations for the supply of water and electricity. The load and download installations are prioritised for Pneumatic fluidities of cement and aluminium which are stored in seven cylindrical tanks. The quay also holds three commercial buildings Unión Fenosa Substation, Cement Silos Tudela Veguín and Aluminium Silos Alcoa Inespal and five official governmental buildings.

Calvo Sotelo North Quay is 220m long, with a draught of 11-13m and a width of 20m. Its use is also for general goods, with two electrical gateway cranes of 6tm and one electrical gateway crane of 16tm. There are nautical and fishing installations an official building which is the Port Authority Vigilance Service and one commercial building, Tide graph of the Geographic and Property Values Institute.

Calvo Sotelo South Quay is 420m long, with a draught of 7-10m and a width of 40m. Its use is also for general goods, with four electrical gateway cranes of 6tm and one electrical gateway crane of 16tm. There are also nautical and fishing installations with a Cold-store Fruit Terminal Installations for the supply of water and electricity. The load and download installations are prioritised for Pneumatic fluidities of cement, oils and fats pumping and vegetal oils pumps which are stored in thirteen cylindrical tanks. The site has two large warehouses and five commercial buildings Cement silos, Oil silos, Oils and fats silos, Transformation house of union FENOSA and Port authority transformation House.

All the properties (except the listed governmental buildings) along the three quays are prefabricated warehouses; each individual building will be dismantled and taken over to the new outer port by the end of 2010. The only remaining buildings on the site will be the five listed government buildings, four cylindrical tanks and six cranes of 6tm.

Visual impacts

The combination of all three quays creates an impressive visual impact due to the sheer size of the site. There are several visual impacts between the scale of the buildings in the city centre and the narrow streets in relation to the vast spacious plane along the site with large monstrosity structures such as the cranes and oil tankers, and vessels that berth along the quays. When walking along the city you feels warm, sheltered, and safe but when you walk along the quays it's completely the opposite you feel intimidated by the surroundings, alone, small, cold, and lost when facing towards the Atlantic Ocean. These feelings are all generated by the characteristic beauty of the site, such impressive feelings caused due to the different scales and vast visual gaps towards the city, port and the Atlantic Ocean.

Identification of any existing hazards

Ground conditions and hazards

All three quays were built in 1927, a fixed platform, on pilings. Since the purpose of the quays are for storage areas with warehouses, and its objective is to unload and reload vessels as quickly as possible, the site is kept in good conditions, and any repairs are dealt with as soon as possible, to reduce delays during the loading and unloading of the vessels.

  • Tides
  • Maximum tidal run: 4,50 m
  • Quay walls with respect to the 0 of the maximum tidal run: 6.50m
  • Significant wave height with a return period of 50 years: 11 m

If there were waves of up to 11m in the harbour area, waves would be a hazard on the site. Since there was a slight possibility of any tidal hazards, the quays were constructed with a slight tilt from the centre of the quay towards the water edge to force the water to run off back into the Atlantic Ocean.

Given the current use of the port is industrial the current air quality, noise, and light pollution are slightly high. Although most of the noise pollution created on site are inside the warehouses, with 80+ db (A) the main road that runs along the back of the site with 65 db (A) and the areas where they load and download goods with 55 db (A) and some areas with less than 45db (A). The site creates no waste of residues, and small amounts of light pollution since works are done during the day. The air quality is slightly higher since the fish market is next to the site.

Environmental Factors


  • Wind pattern
  • Prevailing: N.E.
  • Dominant: S.

The site's climate is temperate maritime and heavily moderated by the Atlantic Ocean; however it does display some characteristics of a Mediterranean climate. Autumn and winter are often unsettled with temperature averages of 13°c and up to 19°c and unpredictable with strong winds and abundant rainfall off up to 500mm and with an average speed of 23 knots (, coming from Atlantic depressions and it is often overcast. The ocean keeps temperatures mild, and frost and snow are rare. In summer, it is quite dry and sunny with only occasional rainfall; temperatures are warm up to 22°c but rarely uncomfortably hot due to the sea's cooling influence during the day. Spring is usually cool and fairly calm.

The site is heavily influenced by the climate, sun light and day light since there are no adjacent buildings for shelter or reducing the strong winds that penetrate the site freely from the south or north east.

Design factors and opportunities and limitations of the site


The site will contains 5 grade 1 listed buildings, 4 grade 2 listed cylindrical tanks, the rail tracks and 6 cranes which will be left once all the existing installations are moved to the outer port. All listed buildings contain private gardens surrounding the property, consent will be necessary to incorporate their land to the site and allow a visual and pedestrian permeability on the site. Urban design policies in the Local Development Frame Work (LDF) will be taken into account during the designing stage.


The glass galleries on the Marina Avenue run perpendicular to the site, this architectural language will play an important role within my design. The facade treatment will implement different combinations of voids, solids, colour, and texture to merge itself with the existing language of the city. Galicia's have always said that windows are picture frames.

Site Access

At the moment the site has a restricted access for vehicles unless you are an employee, but pedestrian access is allowed on the port except the areas which are privately own by companies, such as warehouses.

The site contains two main access roads; one is located on Lineras Rivas Avenue for large lorries, cranes, and trucks and the other access point is on the transatlantic quay for private vehicles.

There is an existing rail tracks that runs through the whole of the port and into each individual quay, which is currently used to move the cranes along the quays and to transport shipping containers, and goods directly to the goods station of RENFE in San Diego (the station inside the port). From this station depart the two available lines to Madrid (Santiago-Ourense-Zamora and Lugo-León-Palencia), with connections to Ferrol, Vigo and Portugal.

The main train station of A Coruña is San Cristobal a 10 min ride by bus (line1) from the port and has regular long-distance lines to Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Irún, besides regional connections to the rest of Galicia.

The harbour entrance is orientated to the north, with a width of 800m and a depth of 21m and a maximum registered current of 0 knots.

Pedestrian access is located every 300m through electronic gates; the gates are open every day from 5am till 5pm. All the gates along the port have bus stops with line 1 which takes you around the city centre; bus frequency is every 20 min to provide easy access to the port.

The port also has its own fire station, police head quarters, petrol station and a small hospital.

Brief 1500

An outline brief

Choose a buildings and a site or plot on your master plan:

  • Convention centre
  • Public library
  • Exhibition space
  • Commercial centre
  • Hotel
  • Sport centre
  • Market place
  • Cultural Quarter
  • act as a catalyst