Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
ELECTRIC RAMPS AT THE OLD CENTRE in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain by Roberto Ercilla Arquitectura
April 23rd, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
The project comes about from an idea competition organized by the City of Vitoria.
The program contemplates the creation of covered mechanical ramps, four sections in Cantón de la Soledad and three sections in Cantón de San Francisco Javier.
The covering will be both complex and simple. It is complex in its apparent three-dimensional perception and simple as it is conceived from equal pieces, uniquely displaced among themselvesThe decision to cover the ramps allows a better guaranteed use, given the extreme winter conditions in Vitoria.
The basic stainless steel and glass portico acts similarly to the shots of a film, by means of rotary movements around a virtual axis in sequences of one metre distances.
The sensation of rotational movement that the user perceives uses the movement of the ramp itself to create a connected sequence that holds one’s interest all the way up, creating different views in different places along the way. The permanent exterior vision through the glass contributes to this sensation produced by the continuous turning of the porticoes.
On the outside, the lines of glass that connect different positions of the porticoes make up an apparent complex and dynamic three-dimensional figure, though there is only one portico and thus a simple and rational construction process.
To defend the city, the historical centre of Vitoria-Gasteiz sits on a small hill and literally adapts to its topography.
The single trade streets are laid out concentrically and the cantons correspond to the sides with the steepest slopes.
This hilly topography made it possible for the urban structure of the historical centre to remain intact. Nevertheless, it has also led to the creation of ghettos and to isolation from the rest of the city.
Objective of the intervention
We did a study in accessibility and it showed the need to potentiate transit without barriers on the transversal axis that crosses the hill on its lower side, through the Canton de la Soledad and the Canton de San Francisco Javier.
The programme contemplates the creation of covered mechanical ramps, 4 and 3 stretches respectively, completely covered, on both cantons.
The decision to cover the ramps guarantees their use, given the extreme winter conditions in Vitoria.
In addition to keeping snow and ice off the surface of the ramp, water entrance is reduced.
The architectural design has a close relationship to the improvement of the visual impact that is intended.
We understand that uncovered ramps would have a machine-looking impact that would be too obvious. As it is covered, it camouflages this aspect and brings more attention to the architectural element, which will focus the view and interest of the user.
The covering will be both complex and simple.
It will be complex in its apparent three-dimensional perception and simple in its conception from equal pieces, uniquely placed among each other.
Description of the intervention
The basic stainless steel and glass portico works like the frames of a film, by means of short revolving movements around a virtual axis in one-metre sequences.
The sensation of rotational movement that the user perceives uses the sliding movement of the ramp to create a linked sequence which maintains interest while going up, creating different views on different stretches and locations along the way.
The permanent view outside contributes to this sensation produced by the continuous turning of the porticoes.
On the exterior, the lines of glass which link the different positions of the porticoes make up a three-dimensional figure of apparent complexity and dynamism. It is, however, a single portico and thus has a simple and rational construction process.
As all the elements of the porticoes are identical, so are the regular pieces of glass which complete the covering and are laminated for safety and solar control.
All of this will favour simple and fast construction, but will not lose its contemporary language that communicates with its physical location.
The covering will be done with 114 AISI 316 (high resistance) stainless steel porticoes on vertical elements and AISI 304 on horizontal elements.
These porticoes incoporate profiling for the support of the cladding glass, with a regulation system at the base to ease assembly in different positions. They are anchored on AISI 316 stainless steel trays.
The glass covering is done in extra-clear laminated glass with inserted California laminates, providing high solar protection.
All stainless steel in contact with the ground resists extreme conditions (marine environment) and in this way offers the maximum possible quality with zero maintenance.
Intense natural ventilation is proposed, approximately 0.8 m2 for every 2.5 m2 of surface (lower side on both sides and upper openings), which, with the glass providing solar protection will avoid any sort of greenhouse effect.
Artificial lighting is incorporated under hand railings, with LED signs at all entrances and exits.
The machinery includes an automatic motion detector using photocells on each side of the band, which detects human presence along the ramp and allows a remote control to stop and start the installation without having to verify human presence in situ.
There is also an additional CCTV camera system along the entire ramp, connected to a control centre.
Frequency Variators. Device which maintains low ramp speed when no passengers are present. This provides energy savings of 30 to 70 percent.
Extreme climate installation. Thermostat to control functioning. Machinery is activated automatically by low temperatures to avoid ice.
Any project in a historical centre is always risky.
A certain grade of public rejection is always initially expected from anything that modifies the habitual or typical image, linked to tradition.
In spite of this, we were at an advantage. The utilitarian character of the project, a means of public transport, has led to its quick acceptance and its intense use gives proof of this.
Contact Roberto Ercilla Arquitectura