Paseo Marítimo de la Playa Poniente, Spain

City shorelines tend to be a problem when it comes to the design and maintenance of public spaces. With all that water and sand to contend with theses areas are often left as concrete slabs cut through by periodic access stairs. Take this beach, the one and a half kilometer long promenade originally ran side by side with a four lane thoroughfare and a series of ground-level parking lots. An attempt to improve the strip in the 1970’s led to the years of degrading paving and a concrete sea wall which obstructed both views of the beach and physical access. The infrastructure made the beach hard to use, yet another example of public space being ruined by too little consideration.  When the city of Benidorm, in the south of Spain, held a design competition to spruce up the promenade after committing ten million Euros to the project, this eye-catching beauty was the result. 

The city wanted a potent solution to reinvigorate the space, improve the public use of the beach and create a visual relationship between the beach and the juxtaposed office high rises.   Amazingly, thats just what they got. The new promenade uses a rainbow of colors and curves reminiscent of the surf itself to bind the two spaces together. Colors add visual prominence to the walk way when seen from the neighboring sidewalks and store fronts inviting pedestrians  to cross the street and enjoy the view. The diagrams and models shown above illustrate how the serpentine from reflects and thus eases the transition between the urban space and the natural one. 

If you want to know more or see other public spaces that have been similarly improved through  the use of color and architectural intervention visit Public Space, the European Prize for innovation in public space architecture. 
Credits:
DEVELOPER:
Generalitat Valenciana – Ayuntament de Benidorm
AUTHORS:
Office of Architecture in Barcelona
COLLABORATORS:
Luca Cerullo – Dirección de Obra Juan Calvo – Estructura

– Emily Eifler, Writer, Colour Studio
– Jill Pilaroscia, Principal, Colour Studio

Publicolor

When did the play, color and creativity of kindergarden get bleached from the educational environment?   In primary schools for young children teachers typically decorate their rooms with student art and visuals that relate to the curriculum.    The thought is  lively images  are fun and help children create positive associations with learning. But what about high schools? Some  high school have let the color drain away and schools have become an institutitional shadow of their former selves. Its definitely a problem, and Publicolor is here to help.

The before
Publicolor is a not-for-profit  organization using color and design based programs to help under-performing schools reinvigorate their campuses.   The kids experiencing these enhanced environments increase college and job preparedness. They  believe, and they have the numbers to back this up, that the colorful revitalizations done in collaboration with the students gives students a feeling of ownership of the school. Students involved in these projects are twice as likely as their fellow students to successfully graduate from high school: 94% of Publicolor’s students, 97% of whom are minorities, graduated on time last year. This compared to 58% at their schools.”
and after of  Publicolor school painting project
When people like and care about their spaces it not only cuts down on more minor negligences of graffiti and litter, but also gives the students and community members a feeling of civic pride. In this way Publicolor aims to help interrupt the cycle of poverty that plages many of these schools students, their families  and the neighborhoods they live in. 
Publicolor  reminds us of something we all know inherently, the environments we are surrounded by, whether by our own design or by circumstance, change how we think and feel about ourselves, others, and our work.   Environments  can influence how creative, how engaged or rewarded we feel. Color alone cannot give concentration, passion or excitement to the students in these schools, no more than it  can overhaul a poorly operating office or hospital. Color instead is a visual marker of the social reform, acting as a reminder of the communities goals, needs and abilities to come together to create something meaningful. Color encourages and supports us, but ultimately acts as a banner of commitment, past and present, to our places and the people we share them with. 
– Emily Eifler, Writer, Colour Studio
– Jill Pilaroscia, Principal, Colour Studio