The picturesque Spanish fishing village of Santa Pola sits on one side of a small coral promontory extending out into the Mediterranean Sea. On the other side of this rise is the newer town of Gran Alacant. Between the two lies the Sierra De Santa Pola, an expanse of parkland dotted with old military bunkers and abandoned buildings dating back to the Spanish Civil War.
An inventive landscape design by Spanish firm RAS Arquitectos is quickly transforming this slice of coastline into a thriving public space. RAS’s Atoll Masterplan calls for a new network of more than 32 miles of trails and paths, weaving together the area’s villages and affording more than a dozen new scenic views of the countryside.
Phase one of the plan is already complete, with the construction of a remarkable curvilinear viewing bridge that juts out beyond the park’s coral cliffs. The winding metal footbridge provides unparalleled views of the Mediterranean and surrounding countryside.
New benches, tables, and playgrounds have also been installed in the park. The project was a finalist for the 2016 European Prize for Urban Public Space.
The next phase of the project will add more trails and a runway for paragliding.