Two Madrid practices – one headed by Francisco Burgos and Ginés Garrido, the other by Javier Alejo Hernández Ayllón, Verónica Paradela Pernas, and Javier de Andrés de Vicente – have worked together on a proposal that has won for them the competition to recover the San Esteban archaeological site, in the city center of Murcia.
In 2009, construction work began for a parking garage under the historic San Esteban Garden. Besides making the park disappear, the process unearthed the remains of the old La Arrixaca outskirts, a fragment of the urban fabric that specialists consider among the few and most representative examples of historical Andalusian urbanism.
Titled ‘ha-ha,’ in reference to a ditch dug on the ground to block passage but not views of the landscape, the winning proposal seeks to exalt the archaeological site while respectfully covering it to guarantee its preservation, all this by recreating the San Esteban Garden. Thus the elevated park rests on a large plate of concrete – carpeted with vegetation that needs little water as well as with aromatic spices, drawing inspiration from old Andalusian gardens – which also provides shade. The perimetral void, which connects the present to the past, gives the visitor a promenade with views over the ruins, not to mention the site’s natural cross ventilation, preventing lichens from growing on the ruins and keeping out rain. The project ensures continuity with the urban fabric and closes up the northeast part of the museum to create an interpretation center.
Puesta en valor del Yacimiento Arqueológico del Arrabal Andalusí de la Arrixaca y del Jardín de San Esteban
Burgos & Garrido Arquitectos + Ayllón-Paradela-De Andrés
Francisco Burgos, Ginés Garrido - Javier Alejo Hernández, Verónica Paradela, Javier de Andrés
Ministerio de Fomento
Iván García Vázquez
Juan Luis Bellod
Victoria Polo, Elena Sequeros
Restauración y Conservación Restoration and Conservation
José Ángel Revuelta