Imagining & Re-Envisioning the Urban Setting

an interactive program takes you off the beaten path to explore the intersection of history, culture, and the principles of design.

🗓️ May 2019 - August 2019

This program begins in Guardamar del Segura, a small resort town with a rich medieval heritage that is ripe with complexity and contradiction. Students will examine architecture through the eyes of tourists, immigrants, and locals, documenting the city’s architectural identity in a course journal. In addition to Guardamar, students will visit other Spanish cities like Alicante and Granada, researching the common architectural ground between them.


Our proposal aims to reconnect Guardamar del Segura to the rest of the world. We want to show the world the unique origins of Guardamar and the dualism between the Islamic and Phoenician settlements that make the city what it is today. El Faro introduces an immersive experience that connects people from the city and visitors from abroad to this shared history of the world. We want to help people remember a part of their past, specifically the origins and history of Guardamar. The site is especially unique since it is home to archeological ruins from 2 different civilizations that are within close proximity of each other.

Our proposal is centered around the existing archeological sites that are surrounded by the expanding dunes and dying pine forest, the Rabita and the Fonteta. The main focus is a multi-layered observation tower that allows visitors to observe and learn about the site from different vantage points while experiencing the site through an underground, hologram experience that uncovers the ruins that were once covered by sand and may still be covered.

timelapse final.mp4

The first underground floor would feature public workshop spaces where one can learn about and experiment with pottery and other Phoenician craftsmanship skills used in this site. The second underground floor is a research center where visiting scholars from around the world can study the intersection of two unique civilizations. The last floor is a contained holographic experience that uses high-speed fans equipped with LEDs to create the illusion of holograms on a larger scale.

Within the existing Phoenician and Islamic ruins, holographic projections would bring the site to life, displaying fragments of daily life. These projections would outline and recreate facades, show the destruction of buildings through natural elements, and even the movement of people through these sites. Visitors will walk through a more immersive experience surrounded by the history of the ruins and while being able to witness the ruins come to life around them.

El Faro

The HYPERVSN wall consists of multiple projection units, where each unit looks like a four-blade propeller with LEDs fitted down each of the blades. The projector attaches to the wall and then displays video content using the rotating blades of the LEDs that create a stunning 3D holographic effect giving viewers the impression that the animated object is suspended in midair. The LEDs on the blades spin fast enough so that the human eye cannot detect the movement. This new technology is also able to display full RGB color video, which can be viewed from different angles and heights.

The site would be accessible during both the day and the night. During the day, visitors will be able to access the observation tower, while also being able to explore the ruins. The night experience would also include the observation tower but would feature a special route that would take visitors through the ruins, as it comes to life. These projections would create an immersive experience that would illustrate life in these civilizations. However, this would require more research and excavation to form accurate imagery for both the Islamic and Phoenician settlements. Although existing technology such as satellite imagery allows us to see where future excavation will happen, research is still necessary to formalize the site. For this reason, our proposal purposefully leaves the site unscathed for the hopes of further excavation.

Our annual event that draws in visitors to Guardamar is a film festival, which makes use of the many blank walls across the city. Each year there will be a theme for films that are submitted from schools and universities in and around Guardamar. Potential themes include Guardamar, the civilizations themselves, the dunes, or the ocean. Fragments of these films will be projected on these walls to draw people’s attention to the upcoming festival.

As one walks through the site, the tower is the center point of intervention in the landscape. From there, glass panels with information on them transition into glass pillars that shine lights to guide one towards the main holographic attraction. The glass floor also transitions into a wooden walkway that allows sand to seep through and over, such that part of the pathway becomes hidden by sand. When the path becomes somewhat hidden by sand at times, we hope to demonstrate the idea of transitioning towards minimal intervention.

Our proposal includes allowing the pine trees to die naturally, and then replacing them with native, drought resistant plants, such as the Ziziphus, Sideritis, and many other shrub-like plants. Shrubbery would help stabilize the dunes a bit, it would not be enough. In addition to natural methods, many beach towns around the globe are adopting man-made dune stabilization methods, such as sand forks/fences, that help trap the dunes in certain areas. There are a few existing fences along the wooden boardwalk but certainly not enough for the entire park.