Actions in the Roman bridge and surroundings of puerta del puente and la Calahorra

Córdoba, Córdoba, Andalucía.
Medal/Award in the category Conservation in the year 2014.

Dating of the building: 1st, 14th, 16th and 20th centuries.

Applicant: Elena Cortés Jiménez.

Reason for the award :

The jury has especially valued how often conflicted actions can be overcome and combined to solve both preservation requirements and practical and social needs of city.

The actions in the environment of the Guadalquivir, which have lasted eight years and cost thirty-three million euros, have returned to the citizens of Cordoba a first-class urban space for its beauty and historical significance.

At the beginning of the first decade of the 21st century, the need to intervene on a series of historical elements of the city was recognized, which make up the monumental backbone of the entry to Cordoba and the prominence of the Guadalquivir River. Even though the importance of these historical elements in the city was well known, several actions during the 20th century had condemned them to social and urban isolation due to the introduction of road traffic and functional deterioration. The Roman Bridge, built approximately in the 1st century, had a pivotal role in the development of the city and was for many centuries the only crossing of the Guadalquivir River. Various interventions had masked its appearance or covered some of its parts.

The project aimed to restore the bridge to its 19th-century appearance, while including lost components, and adapt it to the functional needs of the 21st century, making it pedestrian. The Bridge Gate, originally the gateway to the city, had become a triumphal arch that, due to the elevation of the riverbank promenade, remained inside a moat, only accessible by a stairway on the interior façade. The intervention, in addition to the restoration of the monument, included the construction of an internal installation where today a small exhibition of images and engravings on its history is housed, and access to its upper part converted into a viewpoint. The action on the surroundings focused on lowering the level of the Paseo de la Ribera, making it possible to use it as a gate or passageway, from the bridge to the interior of the city, and making it pedestrian.

Regarding the La Calahorra tower, first access control door to the bridge in Arab times, and later a bastion, the intervention focused on the restoration and urbanization of its surroundings, as well as on the elimination of functional elements of the 20th century in disuse, like side access for vehicles that covered one of the last arches of the bridge. The final result was the restoration of the three monuments, and the development of the surrounding areas and the recovery for the city of a promenade along the river, saving this place from urban and social oblivion.

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