Eurocity: Excellence by Design

31 Aug 17

Hailed by some as visionary, Eurocity Development has caused somewhat of a stir in Gibraltar, a city not unused to multi-million pound property developments. While the property investors’ principle of maximising profitability from land use will no doubt be underpinning the financing of the project, the design has been conceived with the principles of sustainability right at the forefront.

In a city like Gibraltar, where space is scarce and where demand for property continues to be high, every square meter of land counts, and developers, with the flexibility of technologically advanced design and construction methods as well as sophisticated materials to hand, seek to make use of the space above the ground level footprint and build ever higher. Not that building upwards is necessarily detrimental, especially if design is top quality and sustainability is the main driver of the design, and, of course, if the needs and aspirations of the local community, as well as of investors, are respected. The Eurocity Development, in a number of ways, is set to be the exemplar now that planning permission has been approved and work on the project can step up a gear.

The project’s architect, Jonathan Manser and his award-winning team at Manser Practice of Architects have come up with an innovative project that has raised local eyebrows and sent ripples of expectation throughout Gibraltar’s real estate community. Also responsible for the Victory Place and Marriott Hotel projects, the architects had extensive knowledge of Gibraltar to apply to Eurocity.

 

 

Situated in the heart of Gibraltar’s central business district and a mere stone’s throw away from the city centre, Eurocity is set to impress. The development is hailed as eco-friendly and contemporary and will provide over 300 private sector homes, office space and ground level commercial areas, parking for over 400 cars and some 500 motorcycles, as well as a health spa, a gym, a pool and a launderette for residents. The scheme is made up of three lozenge-shaped towers rising from a stepped garden podium built over aboveground car parking and street level commercial space. After extensive local consultation, the towers have been designed to maximize the views out and daylight in while minimising overlooking and avoiding any single aspect North-facing apartments.

 

What is especially significant about this development is the creation of pedestrian-friendly public spaces in and around the buildings. The design echoes the narrow, labyrinthine streets of Gibraltar’s Old Town and has created a network of open organic alleyways interspersed with cool shaded courtyards, a subtle architectural allusion to Gibraltar’s North African links. Above the car park, the podium will become lush gardens for private residents to enjoy and which will add to the ‘greening’ of the cityscape. Sustainable design elements have been at the heart of the design, with integrated solar panels on the roof, and green features such as planted walls and vertical gardens to reduce heat gain by deflecting sunlight. Essentially this design will contribute to the achievement of a low carbon economy in Gibraltar, and will create spaces where the flow of people and their interactions with their built environment becomes organic and uncomplicated, where private and public areas recall the harmonious essence of Gibraltar’s living spaces: patios and pathways, hanging gardens and cool corners, community interactions and private sanctuaries. Eurocity is set to provide Gibraltar with excellence by design.