Proposal for environmental coexistence on the riverside of Alcalá de Henares

The Corredor del Henares and its 1970s neighbourhoods are an anthropised and polluted space that has turned its back on the ecological territory on which it rests. The project aims to reunite the delocalised and energetically obsolete architecture with its environment and its inhabitants.

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The Henares corridor poses a major problem of our time: how to make a city, how to rehabilitate the urban and built fabric while maintaining a balance in the environment we all inhabit. Alcalá is located on the lower course of the Henares River, but also close to the destination of numerous energy networks that weave the Spanish and European territory and supply resources to the city of Madrid. This anthropised and polluted territory allows us to think of a new line of green energy based on the environmental recovery of the Henares River and its obsolete built environment.

The project seeks to replace dependence on the fossil energy networks that run along the Henares corridor with energy produced in the city itself. A line that can essentially produce hot and cold water at any time of the year and do so by means of devices that form part of the architecture of the place, as mills or reservoirs did in the past. These machinist architectures form a network of colonisation in the neighbourhoods to which each of the houses or blocks of flats are linked. These devices have spaces for the sheltering of non-human animals and their probable sustenance, as well as favouring the reconversion of the surroundings of the river as an open urban space at the limit of both territories. The aim is to create a network, capable of providing clean energy to homes and small factories connected to it, with the capacity to accommodate the biological reality of the place, as well as to transform and extend the existing urban fabric in a balanced way. The lower course of the Henares naturally forms a wetland where it meets the Jarama, this ecological space was extended upstream until the 20th century when its flooded area, which was very extensive in rainy periods, was confined and limited. The neighbourhood of Nueva Alcalá forms part of this ecosystem that is delimited between the hills of the high plateaus to the south and the plain that rises towards the mountains to the north. The urban space provides the opportunity to demolish the physical barrier between the river and the neighbourhood, integrating the latter into the landscape that touches it, a grassland with flood lagoons that at certain times of the year will be full and at others dry. This biological system is the basis on which the housing towers will grow, first losing the ground floors, where human life is replaced by non-human life.