LOCATION: Caballito. Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Eugenio Tenaglia Giunta
Facundo Rodriguez Nielsen
Felipe Tenaglia Giunta
CátaroMap: cartographical developments
THE IDENTITY OF A NEIGHBORHOOD IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF AN URBAN LANDSCAPE
The master plan for the rail yard in Caballito has a clear objective: to recover inactive urban fragments and re-insert them in the existing fabric as the operating mode of building a city. Simultaneously, the project should take another intrinsic challenge: articulate past, present and future of a unique neighborhood of Buenos Aires with a strong communal identity and propose a new urban landscape to incorporate new ways of living in relation to a recreational green tissue.
History and contemporaneity are seen as provocative of Architecture and Urbanity in the development of new social life scenarios that support the concepts in the design guideline of this master plan.
The Western Corridor, consisting of Sarmiento Railway and Rivadavia Avenue, connects the neighborhood at an urban and interurban level; however, the presence of railway tracks at pedestrian level produces an 'urban cut' which seriously restricts the connections of Caballito between North and South. This situation is exacerbated in the area of the former railway yard purpose of this project. It is precisely this corridor which dictates the morphological features of the neighborhood, standing taller buildings in South Caballito, and preserving lower-scale buildings in North Caballito.
The Caballito Bridge emerges as the only elevated element of uninterrupted flow between the two sectors of the district, as a remedy of the lack of connectivity in the 1000 meters separating the street level crossings of Teniente General Donato Alvarez Street and Federico García Lorca Street. The bridge, of vital importance for the vehicular connection between the two sectors of the district, is also a conflicting element for its visual and infrastructural weight that transversely fragments the yard.
PROJECT: URBAN AND DOMESTIC CONNECTIONS
The concept that organizes the Master Plan separates the railway (ground level), cars (underground level) and pedestrians (elevated), ensuring uninterrupted continuity in both directions (longitudinal and transversal) from the first stage. Thus the road and pedestrian systems allow free access to the site from all four cardinal points.
As a main strategy emerges the 'sewing' between both sides of the neighborhood through the communication of Avellaneda Avenue and Yerbal Street in 5 points. Both are recognized as structural elements for traffic flow.
In the first stage (scenario without tunneling the Sarmiento Railway) a tunnel connecting the streets Viedma and Andrade is added to existing crossings Alvarez and Caballito Bridge. This operation seeks to balance the uninterrupted vehicular traffic that today is just channeled through the bridge. In parallel, in García Lorca Street and Rojas Street, the project contemplates the construction of low-clearance crossings, which may remain given the dimension estimated proposed tunnel (-10m.), avoiding cutting the future Linear Park after the tunneling of the railway.
In the second stage, after tunneling the railroad, the Caballito Bridge is replaced by a tunnel between the Fragata Presidente Sarmiento Street and Paysandú Street. The location chosen for the tunnel is equidistant from the points of vehicular connection and allows its construction while the bridge is still running, ensuring smooth traffic flow.
The pedestrian circulation is another key challenge faced by the project as connection mechanism. Both sides of the rail yard have different situations that obstruct the access to the site. At the southern end, the existence of railway tracks is surpassed with the inclusion of three pedestrian bridges every 200 meters, coincidentally with the Viedma, Fragata Presidente Sarmiento and Espinosa streets. At the north end, due to the presence of the Ferrocarril Oeste Club and land owned by Alto Palermo S.A., the connection between the yard with Avellaneda Avenue only occurs in the street Fragata Presidente Sarmiento, where currently Caballito Bridge touches ground. In response, the plan proposes to open ground floor in the lot of Alto Palermo SA, linearly with the extension of Oroño and Viedma streets, with a free width of 20 meters, encouraging a future projection of a permeable and environmentally-friendly mall, achieving the pedestrian connections that the area requires.
Finally, a pathway network arises from bi-directionally connecting the aforementioned nodal points (points of access to the yard from the south and from the north) with the existing points of interest. The network has a primary hierarchy, conducting not only pedestrian circulation but also bicycles. Then, a second network of lower-flow pathways also bi-directionally connects the nodes generated by the intersections of the primary paths.
With the primary purpose of promoting environmental wellbeing for the people of Caballito, green spaces are conceived as a real 'lung' for the sustainable development of the district. The proposed location of the new "Caballito Park" in the heart of the yard structures the rest of the facilities and residential developments. The tunneling of traffic produces an uninterrupted green continuity of 1000m., from Alvarez Street to Garcia Lorca Street.
The park is conceived as a large inclined plane that rises 3 meters from the level of Avellaneda Avenue to the operational area of Sarmiento tracks. This operation avoids the unpleasant presence of the railroad in the daily life of the park as well as ensures the correct coexistence in second phase between the park dynamics and the linear corridor.
The vegetation of the park acts as a filter between the different edges of the yard. Different species were grouped in order to compose a park that morphologically changes through varying densities, textures and colors.
Four platforms support different programs (developed in the paragraphs ahead) and frame the park serving as entrances of gradual transitions from the four corners.
URBAN RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT: COLLECTIVE HOUSING
After defining the systems of movement to ensure proper accessibility to the site and connection between North and South Caballito, the housing buildings are positioned in the 'gaps ' left by the pathway network. It is also important to keep a strategically distance from the Ferrocarril Oeste Stadium in order to achieve 3 objectives: avoid conflicts of circulatory incompatibility, generate insulation to attenuate noise pollution during the days of events and liberate the view of the grandstand from the park, a brutalist work of recognized heritage value.
Housing is separated into 2 major platforms (transitional housing / park housing), each of which has its own requisites according to its location within the site in the southern and northern margins. However, both share the philosophy of releasing the largest amount of land to accommodate public spaces, using a traversable commercial ground floor that exploits the cooperation between public and private actors in the construction of the city. The transitional housings are located on the southern edge of the yard, and its name is due to the intersection of characteristic urban fabric of the city and the predominance of open spaces of the park. The housing is divided into four sectors coinciding with the urban grid on Yerbal Street. While in roofing plant each cluster of buildings appears to be a cloister, spaces are never perceived like that thanks to clearing the ground floor, creating spaces for public use or private leisure. The commercial strips are oriented towards these spaces, which also have another line of attack from the streets of pedestrian access park. Finally, facing to the tracks of Sarmiento Railway and the squares on Yerbal street, the project locates offices that add multiple uses and extend hours of activation as a strategy for complex and safety projects .
The 4 sectors of transitional housing are each divided into 3 parcels called S, M and L, according to the their building area, which varies between 1,542 and 13,302 m2, a reasonable size for development operations of medium-scale buildings. The parking access in each sector is located on Yerbal Street.
Housing in the Park is conceived for larger enterprises that encourage diversity of real estate developers, with a range size of dwellings XL between 19.121 and 24.307m2. The parking access to these sectors occurs through a pedestrian street that articulates the relationship between housing and shopping.
The division of urban residential developments in sectors responds to the possibility of developing the project through different phases. Finally, the morphological configuration of the 7 housing sectors accentuates and frames the condition of the park as a foundational core of the project .
The proposed tissue allows generating a variety of public spaces that enrich the social life of the neighborhood.
FERROCARRIL OESTE CLUB
As mentioned above, the Club is a pivotal actor in the life of Caballito neighborhood and therefore its influence on the Master Plan is remarkable. Thus, the intention is to create symbiotic relationships of complementarity and empowerment. As a first step, and accompanying the restructuring of Avellaneda Avenue, a pedestrian sector upraised sidewalks between Espinosa Street and Gainza Street is proposed as a way to improve the contact between the Club and the neighborhood along the avenue. The second measure is the direct connection between the stadium and the train station (future intermodal station) through a platform that conducts the massive flow of people. These operation leads to the reconfiguration of the stadium, locating the main access from the park and expanding its aperture towards it. The platform also serves as an underground parking for 1250 cars spread over three levels with access from Gainza Street (now very degraded).
REFUNCTIONALIZATION OF EXISTING INDUSTRIAL ARCHITECTURE
The Master Plan offers a new neighborhood centrality based on the presence of buildings of architectural and heritage value that currently have significance in the local area. The plan proposes to add programs for the neighborhood community. These programs fits the existing revitalization of Patio de los Lecheros and the historic house that was home of Don Norberto de la Riestra (one of the founders of Railway) as a Train Museum, the redesign of Estación de los Deseos as a multidisciplinary art space, and the enhancement of the Water Tank as a cultural cluster with strong presence in the memory of the neighborhood.
As a general strategy only domestic uses were chosen in order to not saturate the existing traffic, plus the fact that Ferrocarril Oeste Stadium currently hosts spectacles of metropolitan scale (soccer matches, festivals, events, etc.).
In order to support a cultural complex for Caballito neighborhood and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires the project involves the completion of the block between Morelos Street and Segui Street with a thematic Hotel. A Security Post and a Primary Care Center complement the complex, providing the same essential services.
The shops and offices activate the ground floor of the housing in both sectors, extending the hours of use and providing to the neighborhood and the park.
LINEAR PARK [Scenario Considering Tunneling Sarmiento Railway]
Undoubtedly the tunneling of the Sarmiento line poses a favorable environment for the definitive integration of both sides of the area. The renovation of the operational area of the railway as West Linear Park is accompanied by a topographic operation connecting the low level to the high level of Caballito Park via pedestrian ramps. Meanwhile, the replacement of Caballito Bridge by the tunnel connecting Fragata Presidente Sarmiento Street at north and Paysandú Street at south benefits the longitudinal continuity of the park.
The underground train station is also a major factor for the combination of public transport, integrating the Primera Junta Station of subway line A with the future line I and Crisologo Larralde Plaza as a significant bus stop. Additionally, the tunneling of the system allows the association of the linear park with the Caballito square and the Walk of Life Dr. René Favaloro square to form a 'green cluster'.
The philosophy of the project includes wide tree-lined sidewalks, plazas, promenades and parks where people can enjoy the 'urban spectacle' with a strong contemporary landscape image.