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Patillas Waterfront 
Patillas, Puerto Rico




El Malecón de Patillas, is located in the Patillas Public Beach or balneario. As such, a paradox is present in this project: How do we create an urban boardwalk by the sea (pasive recreation), while preserving the beach for the proper activities of this active public recreational space? A second question was also evident from the start: How could we create a new sense of place in this areas already ocupied by buildings that were not allowed to be demolished, and where new construction of buidings was to be kept to a minimum?


We approached the problem by developing two main ideas:  a urban boardwalk running parallel to the beach front, but removed from the beach itself and a main plaza where the cultural and commercial activities would take place.


The plaza is located paralel to the access road, but with its own identity. It is defined by the main entrance to the Malecón on the west (with palm trees along the path and a focal point on an existing observation tower), three existing structures for food kiosks on the south, two new kiosk on the east and the cultural stage and artisan’s shelters on the north. The plaza is articulated with palm trees, plants, and a paver floor. The cultural stage is raised above the plaza, and provided with a scultured backdrop wall with the PATILLAS name on it (it can be read from both sides). The artisan’s shelters, located at both sides of the stage, have an opaque yellow transluscent canopy.


As a focal point on the main entrance, the observation tower, is covered with the transluscent yellow panels to change its appearance, while providing visual control and security. A new beverage kiosk is develop on the second level, and panoramic views from the second and third levels are preserved. 





Four new transluscent canopies are located at the sides of and between the existing kiosks, and between the two new ones, to protect the new seats and tables specially designed for the project. New toilet facilities are provided for the kiosks.


The boardwalk is constructed with pavers, and equiped with specially designed benches. Lighting is provided by bollards with lamps oriented away from the beach. All lighting in the project is LED and wildlife safe. Several existing gazebos and the general toilets for the beach area have been improved and articulated to create the new image of the Malecón.


On the southeastern portion of the site there is an wetland area. There, the paver boardwalk reduces its width,  to reduce its impact. A plastic wood boardwalk extend southward toward the beach where a platform or balcony allows a complete view of the water edge along the bay.

Reforms to Punta Las Marías Ward Sidewalks (Preliminary Design Phase)
San Juan, Puerto Rico



This project addreses the improvements to the urban sidewalks on the western entrance to San Juan, from Carolina, along route PR#37. The existing conditions require that the total environment of this space be considered and that a new coherent image for this sector be developed. 


The essence of the two existing different scales and conditions, one commercial and the other residential, is recognized in the design, and used as a guide for the design of the urban reforestation effort, using palm trees in the commercial zone to mantain the views into the commercial stablishments, while using trees to increase privacy in the residential area. Similarily, public lighting is provided by urban poles in the commercial area while turning to lighting bollards on the residential sidewalks.


Both environments are provided with new curb and sidewalk pavements, having a unifying theme of leaves in as a pattern and a common design of urban furniture components. All pedestrian crossings along north and east sidewalks are provided with the  same sidewalk pattern, at the street level, marking the continuity of the pedestrian route and recognizing the vehicles. 


New street markings indicating the common travel or sharing of the street by cars and cyclists, to help increase traffic awareness.



To mark the entrance to San Juan, a small plaza is developed on the interseccion of Laurel and Loíza streets, where an urban monument is provided. Rock gabions create seating benches and bicycle parking areas provided in both ends of the islet. Plants selected for this area are easy to maintain; while trinitarians bring color and protection, palms bring a sence of oppeness to this area. Two raised pedestrian crossings (at sidewalk level) make the statement for the vehicles passing along.



•  Further south,  an open green,  for informal activities and “concerts on the grass”, is landscapped with palm trees, stablishing the spatial relationship with Casa Franceschi formal gardens, that    becomes emphasized by a special paving surface, this time at street level,  to recognize its lower   hierarchy with the City Hall.


A line of existing mature trees,  define the western part of the park                                        

• To the east of these trees and at the lower end of the linear steps,  a  specially commisioned sculptured playground is provided,  with seating for the parents and a drinking fountain.  An open paved surface is provided to develope a series of sculptures distinguished local citizens (by others).


Lluberas Park
Yauco, Puerto Rico




The project, as part of the implementation of the strategies to revitalize Yauco’s central district, is the second most important public space of Yauco.  The City Hall is located to the north side of the park, and Casa Franceschi, a historial monument, used as a cultural center is located to the east,  on the entrance secuence to the Town Plaza,  along Betances Street.


The new design removes all the physical and visual pollution in the park,  saves all the mature trees,  and use their location to generate the internal zonification of areas:


•   A periferal ring, with trees that define the borders of the park, and selectively open the views to specific buildings views in the perifery;  benches are provided along this path for relaxation.


As part of this peripheral ring,  a larger linear plaza is developed in front of the City Hall. A raised pedestrian crossing, with special paving,  reinforces the strong relationship between the public building and the public space.


•  A linear display of steps, to the south of the City Hall plaza, creates a statement of hierachy, while resolving the diference in elevation in the site.


•  To the south of the steps, a flower garden, with flowers of diferent colors, pathways and trees,  create the framework for contemplation and intimate conversation.





Between the inner and the peripheral routes,  several pedestrian paths are developed. Most sites are accessed thru these,  for privacy.  Several camping sites configurations have been developed,  some for one and two tents and others for groups of campers.  Sites for one and two tents are located closer to the ocean and the views for a closer experience with nature,  while groups are located closer to the beach to isolate their noise and shorten their circulation thru the campsite.  


Single tent sites have a circular pad with a table and grill located closer to the entrance and the tent located further,  on a higher level, whenever possible,  for security and territoriality.  


Distance between campsites was considered, while providing the same amount of campsites (on phase one), as previously existing.  A dense landscaping of bushes and new trees segregate each camping site from the adjacent to provide additional privacy.  Group sites provide several camping pads around a common area for social gathering, while surrounding the group from other sites with vegetation.  


Common facilities include exterior showers, toilet and showers buildings,  and a children’s playground. 


Construction cost is estimated in $1,000,000 for the first phase.


Cerro Gordo Camping 
Yauco, Puerto Rico




This project was commissioned by the Compañía de Fomento Recreativo to improve the existing camping facilities in Cerro Gordo Beach.  Our initial assessment found that although camping sites were “marked” by a camping pad, the general perception of the camping grounds was disorganized and cluttered.  Furthermore, the sites were so “developed” that each site had a water and a power connection, allowing campers to bring radios and tv’s to the grounds.   Cars were allowed to park anywhere, adjacent to the camping sites.  This all resulted in a camping ground bared of undergrowth vegetation, damaged trees, where all the tents could be seen together with the cars,  at once, in the most dense occupation and the most “unnatural”  experience. 


Program requirements called for an increased number of camping sites, new toilet and shower facilities, and administration building, a meeting room and a trailer camp area.  Our design developed a master plan for the area, to be developed in several phases.  


The plan displaced the existing access road to the south, to open new areas for the camping sites, located to the west and north-west of the road.  As a new policy, no cars are allowed in the camping grounds. The Administration Building, with a drop-off marquee, serves as the entrance portal the grounds and provides administrative, registration, security, maintenance and meeting facilities.  This building will be constructed in the second phase. The access to the camping sites  is provided thru this building.  Sites to the west (closer to the beach) are to be developed in the first phase and to the northeast on the second.  The area to the south of the administration building, currently without trees, is allocated for the trailer sites.


The camping areas are protected by fences to prevent children wandering outside the pedestrian zone,  or falling from the cliffs down to the ocean.  A peripheral route provided with observation decks, surround the camping areas, and provide for jogging,  thru circulation,  service access and security surveillance.  An interior circulation loop provides for rapid access to/from the camping sites to the common facilities and easy access for service and maintenance. 

Coamo Main Plaza
Coamo, Puerto Rico




This project is part of the implementation of the strategies to revitalize Coamo’s central district.  The town plaza is the main public space of Coamo. It is peculiar for being one of the largest in the island, and for its’ “U” shape surrounding the Catholic Church, a historical monument, a focal icon in the entrance sequence from the west, along Baldorioty Street.  The church is raised in a promontory, so that it dominates and is visible from all points of the plaza, but interrupts the visual connection between the north and south wings. Although the plaza had been developed in levels to adapt to the sloping topography, still the street on the north is higher than the plaza level and the street to the south is lower.


Our new design maintains those characteristics, but actively removes all the physical and visual barriers previously existing in the plaza periphery, creating a sequence of steps and planting areas that open and filter the views to and from the surrounding streets integrating both public spaces.


The scheme reinforces the traditional character, uses and activities of the plaza, enhancing the livability and the intensity of use. The new plan defines seven distinct spaces, three on each wing, and incorporates a significant amount of trees to define and articulate the different spaces and activities. 


The area in front of the church, the traditional plaza, remains for passive use. The area on the center, in axis with the church and the town entrance, remains a “ceremonial path” and for passive recreation.  Existing mature trees define this area from the north and south sections that open to the street, and incorporate two kiosks to attract the commercial uses into the plaza and promote a more intensive use of the space.  These kiosks act as pivots to the two wings of the plaza that project to the east on both sides of the church. 


The north wing has four distinctive areas: 


  • The kiosk on the west, with trees and the seating area, and accessibility to the street;  



  • An open area able for concerts and popular activities on the center, with a set of steps and   platform that can be used as a performer stage;

  • A linear pathway with palm trees on the north, with a massive wall that mediates the difference in elevation to the street and, special lighting of the wall and the palm trees;

  • A specially commissioned sculptured playground (yet to be built) on the east, closer to the residential areas, with seating for the parents and a drinking fountain for the children. 

  • A new ramp access to the church was provided on this wing.


The south wing has three distinctive areas: 


  • The kiosk area on the west;  

  • An open area able for arts and crafts fairs and informal meeting of the youth;

  • An interactive water fountain on the east, that opens to the Quintón street, point of entrance

       from Aibonito.


Special care has been put to the coordination of paving materials, to reinforce the definition of areas and activities.


Muelle Coral 
Culebra, Puerto Rico


The project will provide improvements to the existing pier, located within walking distance to Dewey urban center, and dedicated to local tourism and recreational fishing. While improving the capacity and conditions of the pier, we also aim to enhace its visual exposition and reinforce its image as a destination point, and celebrate the recreational character, using iluminated tensile structures.


A new elevated terrace is provided with benches and shade. The poles for the tensile structures will represent the horn coral (Acropora cervicornis), and the educational panels will comunícate the efforts being made to cultivate it in Culebra. 


Some facilities will be provided for administration, toilets and sales of staples.

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