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WATERFRONTS | Promenades

Chosen by architects and loved by people,
the promenade seems to be the best archetype for waterfronts.


Read more about      WATERFRONTS as opportunities of urban renovation

A colored stroll along the beach

benidorm west beach promenade19

The promenade designed by the architects at OAB is not a frontier between the sea and the city, or just a path to walk on Sundays. It is an in-between space where the transition from the city to the beach is easier than ever.

Designed as a colorful and wavy ribbon, this walk on the beach is a dynamic space with several areas for stopping and relaxing. It’s also an ideal stroll: a sinuous and soft path where you can take your time and watch the sea… right at the edge of the city.

To provide a coherent and, at the same time, various image, the waterfront is composed by three different layers:

> the edge of the path, made of white concrete
> the colored paving
> street furniture, vegetation and water

While creating a new topography that plays with lights and shades, the organic shapes are meant to recreate the motion of waves and the fractal structure of cliffs. The promenade collects different circulation flows (some along the way, some across) and always allows direct access to the beach.

A place to escape the city

westkowloon_hong kong2

Just inside the West Kowloon Cutural District, this waterfront is a sweet escape where you can do all that’s impossible within such a frenetic and crowded metropolis. You can stroll along the boardwalk simply enjoying its quietness, but you can also go jogging, rent a bike or have a picnic; there’s plenty of paths and play areas which are also lit at night.

This waterfront is able to be attractive without being an attraction. West Kowloon waterfront has some special features (the prismatic lights that emulate the towers of the skyline), but they are all vey delicate and soft elements. In fact, the most interesting aspect is the simplicity of its design. The promenade’s role is not to astonish the public, but to give the city what people who live in big cities need: a place to rest and to breath.

A unifying ‘Multiple Waterfront’ for the city

Toronto Central Waterfront_West8 (2)

After many decades of planning and development, Toronto still didn’t have a unified and coherent vision. The new waterfront, designed by West 8, addresses exactly this deficiency, creating a new image for the Central Waterfront.

Toronto Central Waterfront_West8 (1)

The idea of a unique and articulate waterfront is made of four different gestures that create the ‘Multiple Waterfront’.

> the Primary Waterfront is a continuous water’s edge promenade, with a series of pedestrian bridges
> the Secondary Waterfront is a renovation of Queens Quay Boulevard with a new urban promenade and set of public spaces
> the Floating Waterfront is composed by a series of floating elements that offer new boat moorings and public spaces in relation to the lake
> the Cultures of the City creates the necessary connections from Toronto’s diverse neighbourhoods towards the waterfront

The new waterfront extends along 3.5 km along Lake Ontario and in direct proximity to the downtown business district. With all its curves and wooden path, is not just an architectural and cityscaping exercise, but also a hub for collective activities and open air experiences. Besides the city-lake connection and the public accessibility, the project also brings the idea of a sustainable and ecologically productive ‘green foot’ in the culture of the metropolis.

Sculptural waves between the city and the sea

Rambla del

The ‘Rambla del Mar’ was conceived by Albert Viaplana and Elio Pinon, two catalan architects born in Bercelona. Their idea was to continue the system of ‘Ramblas’ that runs through the city, connecting the historical heart of the city to one of its newest districts: the olympic port.

The ‘Rambla del Mar’ is also able to connect the European historical centre with the Mediterranean idea of experiencing the seafront.

The most interesting element of the project is the 300-meters-long dock, placed upon a series of pillars anchored to the sea bottom. The boardwalk is covered with a particular African wood named ‘bolondo’, which is characterised by a strong resistance to use and water decay (like ‘teak’). Along its edges are some benches and the iconic sculptural elements that clearly emulate the sea waves.

A dreamlike lawn in Sicily

Mare Verde_Italo Rota_photo by Marco Bruni (24)

The meaning of the Italian ‘Mare Verde’ is ‘green sea’, and this is also the meaning of the whole project. Thanks to this large area, covered by grass, filled with colorful elements and punctuated by informal sitting, Italo Rota creates a strong connection between the water and the city. In fact ‘Mare Verde’ stands between the beach-life  and the urban life, between relax and socializing. The promenade is the common element that makes this connection possible.

The project is both a public space and a landmark, both architecture and land art. Through its oneiric (i.e. dream-like) characters such as the small skittles or the golden pillars, people reach a different dimension, where they can take a break from the city.

The promenade is the perfect medium between city and water. 

On one unique path, the promenade joins the urban experience, made of walking, meeting people and reaching places, and the calmness of the water, determined by the possibility to stop and relax, to spend your time however you want. Not just man, not only nature, the promenade is a separate layer that collects and connects the different ways of life.

Photos from
OAB Office of Architecture in Barcelona
West Kowloon
West 8
Divisare by Europaconcorsi

This entry was posted in: Focus


My fundamentals: creativity and pragmatism. When a was a little girl I wanted to be a vet during the week and a great painter on Saturdays and Sundays. Now, I am a confused and curious mind at Architecture's service.

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