September 18, 2018
A full planning application has been made by The Reserve (Gibraltar) Ltd for permission to build a nine-storey residential block at the site of Gibraltar’s old casino building in Europa Road.
The backdrop to the new development are the lush slopes of Gibraltar’s Nature Reserve, an area of significance for wildlife as well as an important attraction to Gibraltar’s many visitors. On the other side of Europa Road lies the Alameda Gardens, an important natural amenity that encompasses the beautiful Botanical Gardens and a small wildlife sanctuary as well as play areas for children and an open-air theatre. Although located just minutes’ walk from the boundary formed by the old city walls and the centre of town enclosed by these, The Reserve will be surrounded by a picturesque landscape and treated to spectacular views towards Spain and Morocco.
The design statement by the Morgan Carn Partnership describes the proposal as providing for 122 properties which will range from one bedroom to five bedroom apartments, all of which will be intended for private ownership. On-site leisure facilities will include a resort deck, which will have a landscaped area with a leisure pool, a lap pool and jacuzzis. On the fourth floor there will be a secluded “Secret Garden” which will be extensively planted and where residents will be able to relax in calm and privacy with the use of sun loungers, a plunge pool and jacuzzis. Residents will also have use of a fully equipped gym with its own heated indoor pool, cold plunge, jacuzzi and sauna.
Parking for 178 cars will be provided with 12 visitor parking spaces and bays reserved for disabled parking. There will also be facilities for parking motorcycles and mopeds, and for the parking and storage of bicycles.
While no doubt the removal of the existing derelict casino building is welcome, the site comes with its own particular challenges. These include the need to preserve the historic water tanks that are located under the building and which have significant heritage value. Furthermore, there will be geotechnical challenges in respect of stabilising the rock faces at the rear of the site. The designers are also giving consideration to creating a safe vehicle and pedestrian junction with Europa Road.
The design of the development takes the surroundings into careful consideration, creating a building that is blended with the landscape, achieving this through a stepped profile with the gradual recession of terraces. This softens the edges and form of the building and is enhanced by a curvilinear frontage with curved balcony terraces.
Landscaping will also be an important feature of the development and integrated within the building itself: “green gaps” have been included at regular intervals along the frontage, these being elevated planters with both cascading and climbing plants. The car park walls will be screened by green walls and a green wall will also be adopted on the visible North flank wall. The Pool, Resort decks and the Secret and roof top gardens will have managed landscaping.
The Reserve aims to be an exclusive development breathing new life into a site of great local affection in Gibraltar.