“A unique garden inspired by the Valencian agricultural landscape and a green superblock that will articulate the Botanical Garden in continuity with the Jardin de las Hespérides, the Gran Via de Fernando el Catolico, the adjacent pedestrian streets, the San José school space, the Paseo de la Petxina and the Jardín del Túria “. This is how the mayor of Valencia, Joan Ribó, explained on Thursday the scope of the Jesuit garden project during the presentation of the ideas competition from which its design will come out.
The new green area was recently baptized with the name of the art historian, neighborhood activist and favorite daughter of the city Trini Simó, in homage to one of the members of the Salvem el Botànic platform with the idea of preserving the struggle in memory neighborhood that made it possible to stop the construction of a huge hotel next to the Botanical Garden, to build the aforementioned garden in its place on a plot with an area of 7,215 square meters.
It was on June 17, 1995 when Salvem el Botànic called a civic embrace to symbolically unite the Jesuits block and the Botanical Garden in which the hotel was projected, today planned, thanks to the neighborhood platform and after years of negotiations, together with the old Mestalla.
Some 1,500 people participated in that event, which was the beginning of a series of mobilizations that took place over 13 years to face real estate pressure.
Twenty-six years later, citizens will be able to learn about the final design of a new green area for the use and enjoyment of all residents in a location that was to be restricted to tourist use.
A fact that Ribó highlighted during the presentation of the ideas contest: “Valencian society has always had the will to fight to have a healthy, sustainable, green city. Salvem el Botànic was born in 1995, 26 years ago, and with In this project competition we want to satisfy this long and complicated demand. Today we are taking a historic step to make the Jesuits’ site the new Trini Simó Garden “, indicated the mayor, who recalled that it will be named after” the historic neighborhood activist —Member of the Salvem el Botànic platform— as a reference for the citizen movements that have fought so hard for decades to make Valencia a more livable city “.
The mayor said: “We fulfill our commitment to make each day a greener and more sustainable city. And at the same time we respond to citizen demands, with an innovative project, rooted in our environment and based on design.”
Characteristics of the contest
The competition that will be used to design the new green infrastructure was born after the agreement signed between the City Council and the University of Valencia, which sets out the conditions for the landscaping work. Thus, a comprehensive solution must be given to the site, which is municipal property, in such a way that it complements the collection of the Botanical Garden of the University and the Garden of the Hesperides.
The complex will be a unique garden whose main motive will be Valencian cultivation and urban agriculture and will not be transferred to third parties. It will be owned by the City Council, which will be in charge of both the construction and the subsequent maintenance. For its part, the University of Valencia will collaborate with the consistory in the drafting of the project and the subsequent didactic and cultural revitalization of the space.
The new green area, which can be visited and is open to the public, will be a training space on ‘Horta, its history and biodiversity, local food and sustainability, whose scientific basis will be provided by the University of Valencia, which will also deal with the educational use and further educational and long-term maintenance of scientific content.
The deputy mayor and councilor for Urban Ecology, Sergi Campillo, detailed other criteria that the teams submitted to the contest must take into account: compliance with the special plan for the protection of the botanical environment; the justification for the closure or not of the plot, partially or in its entirety; the link with the public spaces and surrounding architectures of the Botanical block; the approach to the management and maintenance of training, recreation, contemplation or work spaces, and the maintenance of historical and civic memory, since it is intended to “value the neighborhood and civil struggle to achieve this garden.”
In addition, the proposal must be aligned with the València Green and Biodiversity Plan, which aims to “create structural green spaces to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of citizens and the formation of a resilient green structure. , full of cultural and environmental values ”.
It is the first time that the City Council makes use of this competition model, in one phase, with a jury and financed 100% with its own funds, which was agreed with the College of Architects.
According to Campillo, its advantages are that it guarantees anonymous proposals, a multidisciplinary jury, merely numerical criteria are not evaluated and it encourages participation. The jury of experts will select the three best proposals, with a financial prize of 10,000 euros, the first prize; 5,000, the second, and 3,000, the third.
The team winning the first prize will also be awarded the drafting of the basic and execution project, the optional direction of the works, as well as the project and the archaeological intervention report, for a maximum amount of 187,157 euros.
It is expected that the tender documents will be published in the coming weeks and that the writing team will be selected by the fall. This has a period of six months to write the project. Then the execution of the work will have to be put out to tender for an estimated maximum amount of 2,372,049.51 euros (VAT included).
As for the jury of experts, it will be chaired by the mayor or the person he delegates. The members will be: a representative of the City Council of the technical commission that arose as a result of the agreement between the consistory and the University of Valencia, a representative of the University of this technical commission, an architect from the team drafting the Special Botanical Plan, a person responsible for the exhibition “Botánico-Jesuitas. A shared landscape ”, a person representing the Hort Urbà Botànic-Jesuïtes entity (continuation of the Salvem el Botànic platform), the manager of the Consell de l’Horta. and the head of the municipal service for Urban Projects. The head of the municipal Sustainable Gardening service will act as secretary.