Grounds for Change: Activating Vacant Land

Eco Boulevard


Tags: air, architecture, climate, community, energy, Madrid, mobile, park, passivecooling, plaza, pollution, power, public, solar, Spain, temporary, traffic, wind

A temporary climate control structure and urban plaza in Madrid.

Eco Bulevar de Vallecas-which translates to Eco Boulevard in English-is an enormous and eye-catching structure in the center of a traffic circle. Ecosistema Urbano, a Spanish architecture and urban design firm, designed this "urban recycling operation" for the Madrid Directorate of Residential Projects Innovation. Ecosistema's goals for the project were to develop an architectural solution to urban heat islands and climate change, employing wind power, passive cooling, and solar energy to offset CO2 emissions. Wind and solar cells also power a multi-purpose hub of urban networks, as the tower houses community functions, recreational facilities, and plaza-like public meeting space; all of these benefit from the cooling effects of the building's architecture. Surplus energy generated by the structure will be returned to the city-wide power grid.

Eco Bulevar was conceived as a temporary solution or treatment for ailing urban areas, an "emergency" measure instituted for a limited period of time until permanent solutions like urban reforestation could establish trends for permanent change. The architects frequently refer to the structure as an "air tree," referring to its autonomy and minimal consumption of resources-apart from production and construction, that is. They also imagine the tower's components as models or modules that can be dismantled and exported to other, similarly needy locations throughout Madrid and other cities.

The project was completed in two phases over three years: 2004-2005; and 2006-2007.


"Eco Boulevard in Vallecas / Ecosistema Urbano." (September 17, 2008). Accessed April 11, 2011.

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