Works on the Plaza del Ayuntamiento in Valencia will not begin until September 2023, with the possibility of the square being completely closed to traffic.
The City Council has launched the tender for the ideas competition that will determine the final design of the Plaza del Ayuntamiento in Valencia. The winning team will have a large task ahead of them: drafting the project, completing it, and handling the construction.
However, this is not going to happen anytime soon. According to Sandra Gómez, a councillor for Urban Development, the cranes will most likely not enter the Plaza del Ayuntamiento in Valencia until the next legislature, around September 2023, due to the lengthy procedure.
The maximum budget for the works, including the design, is limited to 8.6 million euros, and participants in the competition must keep this in mind. Companies will have 30 days after the tender is opened to propose themselves as candidates, and the City Council will decide if they meet all of the requirements to continue in the selection process. According to the deputy mayor, one of the most important considerations will be having a multidisciplinary team large enough to completely reform the square. They will require the assistance of architects, engineers, heritage experts, and designers, among others.
Following this first phase, teams that meet the requirements will have 60 days to present a design proposal. The jury will select between three and five finalists, who will then have 45 days to present a more detailed preliminary project of definitive pedestrianisation.
To encourage more responses, the Ayuntamiento will award a compensation of €9.800 to all companies that advance to the second phase, regardless of the outcome. As soon as the winner is announced, he will receive an additional €359.000 for the final project’s drafting.
To be able to award the contract for the reconstruction of the Plaza del Ayuntamiento in Valencia, the jury must consider many factors when deciding on the winning idea, including the inclusion of public proposals and mobility issues that may arise as a result of the square’s closure.
The ultimate goal would be to gain the most square metres for pedestrians. Similarly, the winning bidder would have to adhere to a set of heritage and historical values imposed by the City Council and incorporate them into the design.
The councillor for Urban Development, Sandra Gómez, the mayor of Valencia, Joan Ribó, and technical staff from the City Council, the College of Architects, the College of Engineers, universities, and members of the Ministry of Culture will be represented on the jury.
In response to critics who questioned why the entire process is taking so long, the councillor for Urban Development stated that it is necessary to be “reasonable,” because the process of drafting the project and bidding is very complicated and could take at least a couple of more years.
According to her estimates, the reconstruction of the Plaza del Ayuntamiento in Valencia will not begin until September 2023.
This raises some serious concerns, as the work is scheduled to begin only after the local elections. If there is a change in the parliament, the project could be put on hold or cancelled entirely, and this would not be the first time this has happened in Valencia.
This project has sparked the interest of both businesses and the general public. So far, the council has received over 1,800 proposals through a website.
Residents in the area were the most interested, requesting rest areas, plenty of green space, and shade.
The jury will ensure that Plaza del Ayuntamiento in Valencia retains its historical and cultural significance. To accomplish this, the designers must ensure that there is enough space for Mascletas and municipal Fallas.
The reconstruction will also have to respect the architecture and some of the square’s most iconic buildings, such as the Post Office, and nothing will be allowed to present a visual obstacle.
Fountains and public restrooms should be included in the design, and there should be plenty of drinking water sources on the square. The flower stalls will be kept as well.
The biggest news would be the expansion of the existing restaurant terraces, which could be a huge benefit to the square’s current hospitality businesses.
What is new is that the local government is considering completely closing the square to vehicles – reducing car and bus traffic to zero. According to reports, a study is already underway to assess the feasibility of changing public bus routes and prohibiting all traffic on the square, including EMT and taxis.
It’s difficult to say how realistic this proposal is. However, according to the deputy mayor, car space has decreased from 57 percent of the square in 2015 to only 18 percent today. So going all the way to zero isn’t that far away.