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The refurbishing project El Caminito del Rey awarded at the 13th Spanish Architecture and Town Planning Biennial


The refurbishing project El Caminito del Rey awarded at the 13th Spanish Architecture and Town Planning Biennial

This is going to be one of the fifteen other projects that will represent Spain at another Hispanic-American Contest.

The project that involved refurbishment of El Caminito del Rey path was awarded at the 13th Spanish Architecture and Town Planning Biennial in the class named Town Planning: Town and Landscape. This is a distinguished architecture award at the national level, which is given by Ministry of Public Works, represented by the Board of Architecture, Housing and the Land in cooperation with the Management Board of the Association of Spanish Architectures (CSCAE), Caja de Arquitectos Fundation and the Union of Town Planning Architects’ Groups (Unión de Agrupaciones de Arquitectos Urbanistas).

The aforementioned project has been awarded just a bit before the first anniversary of the reopening of El Caminito del Rey on 28th March. Beside this, the Cabinet of Spain gave the path a Tourism Prize for Emerging Tourist Destination at the end of 2015, which was collected by Mr Elîas Bendodo, Málaga County Council President.

Out of 450 proposals presented at the Spanish Architecture and Town Planning Biennial, El Caminito del Rey (The King’s Little Pathway) was one of the twenty-two awarded projects. Moreover, this will be one of the fifteen projects that will represent Spain at the Hispanic-American Architecture and Town Planning Biennial (Bienal Iberoamericana de Arquitectura y Urbanismo).

The jury applauded the project due to the varied actions that were taken during its performance out of consideration for the cultural heritage and the landscape, considering these solutions highly innovative and professional as they contribute to the improvement of the environment. They were considered to be ‘adequate solutions to the problems, carried out with available natural resources, and which are able to turn into a reference in this kind of buildings and became a real cultural legacy.’

The creator of this project, architect Luis Machuca, Head of Architecture and Town Planning Department at the County Council, said: ‘This is very important not only for me but also for this institution, service provided and architects from Málaga’. He underlined the relevance of the team work, especially the one so big, of the support obtained from the Government, the County Council and the works carried out by the Building Company Sando.

Other professionals who worked on the project are: architect s Marîa Luisa Escudier, Manuel Josê Rodrîguez and Borja Peñalosa, legal adviser Amor Olveira, geographer Encarna León, biologist Aurora Quesada, economist Carlos Vasserot, civil engineer  Josê Luis Escolano, industrial engineer Josê Ángel Mata, on-site architect Josê Luis Juanas and structural engineer Juan  Schwarzmann.

Performed Works

El caminito del Rey’s refurbishment includes environmental town planning and land-use planning projects (the last was specially conducted for this path and its surroundings). Moreover, it was necessary to develop a technical project which concerns the building of the boardwalks, control cabins and reception points.

The path is 7.7km long, and it is divided in two 4.8km-long access paths and the famous 1.9km-long boardwalks which are fixed on the wall of the gorge on one of its sides. These boardwalks are at an altitude of more than 100 metres above the Guadalhorce River at some of its points.

The rebuilding of the path is not only important for the purpose of tourism but also for historical reasons and for conserving the heritage of El Desfiladero de los Gaitanes Gorge.  The aim of the project is achieved thanks to the structure that imitates slopes and adapts to the vertical terrain in such a way that it becomes part of the landscape.

El Caminito del Rey Project is the first part of a bigger plan that is meant to use human impact not to destroy but to protect the zone and improve the economic development of the area and the inhabitants’ life standard. Its natural, anthropological and archaeological value, as well as its importance for conserving plant and animal life and the specific terrain of the zone is undoubtedly high. Moreover, because of this project, the path is no longer visited by adventure sport lovers only.

This spot is exceptional, above all, because it preserves old building structures, turning them into an important piece of industrial archaeology, and due to the building method used in the case of the boardwalks that perfectly fit the environment.