Escalera de la Granja / J. Antonio Martínez Lapeña & Elias Torres

Toledo, Spain, 2000. Toledo City Council. Historic City of Toledo UNESCO World Heritage(1986)

The historical centers of many cities face the problem of making compatible the traffic of vehicles with that of pedestrians.

In Toledo, the first great steps taken to solve the difficulties of accessibility to the historical center has been the construction of a large parking garage for 400 cars in the Paseo de Recaredo and a contiguous mechanical escalator that transfer the pedestrians to the high part of the city.

The mechanical stairways begin their ascent after crossing a short passage placed under the foundations of the medieval wall. This passage is a new gate to the city, alternative to those of the Bisagra and the Cambrón.

The realization of the project presented considerable difficulties that forced to work with the maximum care and wisdom. The hillside of the Rodadero, on which the stairways are situated, is a land formed by the continuous accumulation of brashes along the centuries. The new foundations had to be descended 30 metres until reaching the firm rock. The medieval ramparts have been respected in their entirety by having the staircase enter at a level below their foundations. In order to diminish the visual and environmental impact, the voluminous construction that harbors the stairways has been incrusted in the hillside. The whole work has been built using a ochre concrete, in the tone of the typical architecture of Toledo.

The six tracts of stairways, in order to save the difference of 36 metres, form a zigzag figure that allows them to adapt to the topography and avoids the rider’s feeling of vertigo that may be caused by the sight of a single tract staircase.

The mechanical stairways lean on on a concrete foundation and they are limited in one of their faces by a retaining wall, folded over to shelter passengers and to give continuity to the landscaped slope of the hillside. This roof doesn't follow exactly the natural inclination of the land, it is raised up slightly to make appear a long and continuous opening that accompanies the ride of the stairways, from which the Vega of the Tajo and the new Toledo are sighted. This opening, observed from a distance, becomes the most characteristic element of this work: a breach, a fissure of light, a light wound healed on the façade of the city.

[texto. por José Antonio Martínez Lapeña, Elías Torres] [sitio. martinez lapeña torres]