Madrid Río wins Harvard’s 2015 Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design

On the 9th of November, 2015 The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) announced that the 12th Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design has been awarded to Madrid Río. A new linear park in the heart of Madrid designed by Burgos & GarridoPorras & La Casta, Rubio & Álvarez-Sala, and West 8

The City of Madrid reclaimed the banks of the Manzanares River by depressing a large segment of the inner ring road, the M-30. The result of surfacing nearly 30 kilometers of tunnels is the creation of 120 hectares of new public space, which encompasses dozens of sports areas (tennis and basketball courts, soccer fields, fitness areas, rock climbing center, skate park), greenswards, plazas, cafés and restaurants, an orchard, an urban beach, children’s play areas, plus 30 kilometers of cycling paths, and 11 new footbridges.

The project also prompted the restoration of five historic dams and two historic bridges (the Puente de Segovia and Puente de Toledo), as well as the refurbishment of highway bridges and the recuperation of the areas surrounding these infrastructural works. With these new river crossings and the incorporation of existing historic features into the new park plan, Madrid Río has strengthened surrounding neighborhoods’ connection to the new amenities and to each other.

The design won an international competition in 2005, and construction was phased so that the public could enjoy it starting in 2011; the park was fully completed earlier this year. “The decision to award Madrid Río the Green Prize in Urban Design was motivated by the jury’s desire to highlight the potential for thoughtfully planned and carefully executed mobility infrastructures to transform a city and its region,” commented Jury Chair Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning at Harvard GSD. “The extent to which the project harnesses the deployment of new infrastructures as an opportunity to repair and regenerate the city through carefully articulated design interventions is particularly valuable within the context of contemporary urbanization globally.”

Mehrotra has directed the prize since 2011. Other 2015 jury members included Silvia Benedito, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, Harvard GSD; Jerold Kayden, Frank Backus Williams Professor of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard GSD; Toshiko Mori, Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture, Harvard GSD; and Mirko Zardini, Director of the Canadian Center for Architecture.

The Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design is the foremost award recognizing achievement in this field. It is unique among international urban design award programs in that its jury members travel to experience finalist projects firsthand. Awarded biennially, the prize recognizes exemplary urban design projects realized anywhere in the world in the past 10 years, with the understanding that such projects often require many years before they are able to demonstrate impacts. The Borneo Sporenburg Residential Waterfront in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, by Adriaan Geuze/West 8 also received the award in 2002.

An exhibition on the winning project will be on view at the GSD’s Gund Hall gallery from January 18 to March 6, 2016. The awards ceremony will be held at the Harvard GSD on February 2. 

To read the official release click here