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2013 Award of Merit - Mar Menor
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Project Category: Residential

Project Name: Mar Menor

Project Location: Murcia, Spain

Date of Completion: 2009

Landscape Architect: Jose A. Jaguan, PLA, ASLA, EDSA, Inc.

(www.edsaplan.com)

Owner: Polaris World Development, S.L., Jose Hernandez de Arce

 

Amidst the Murcia countryside, between orange manors, olive groves and flower fields, old little towns and vernacular agrarian villages, nestled between a fertile valley, an imposing mountain range and the magnificent Mediterranean Sea, lies the Mar Menor community. At 7 km from Los Alcázares by sea and only 4 km from Torre Pacheco, a traditional Murcia town, this community was conceived from inception as a sustainable place to live.  Immersed in the richness of southern Spain, Mar Menor offers 750 villas inspired by the local vernacular and, geared towards Northern Europeans seeking the warmth of the southern sun and the flavor of Spanish culture.

Connecting a diverse community, strengthening an appreciation for belonging, celebrating authenticity and establishing a collective identity are essential to creating a sense of place. This residential community responded to these needs by defining a community heart and soul – a town center – where all can gather, socialize and reconnect. The town center responds to the concept of a sensitive lifestyle and pedestrian intimacy through its different program elements, which include a convenience store, hair salon, wellness center, gym and community center with pools for all ages, tennis courts and a golf clubhouse that opens up views to the first phase 9-hole golf course.

The siting of plazas, open green spaces, fountains and pathways create a network of pedestrian-oriented streets that unify the neighborhood. The local architecture is depicted through the styling of buildings and villas while the use of regional colors, patterns and forms reinforce the community’s rhythm and character.   

Sustainability, not only from a physical point-of view but a psychological perspective, was the catalyst that defined Mar Menor.  Each quarter of the community is organized around a common public space with well-defined plazas and linear parks. All vehicular and pedestrian streets and paths connect to the central town center. The overarching design concept was to create a walkable, pedestrian-friendly community where green spaces and winding pathways serve as links between the man-made, the natural and the social tapestry elements of the project. There was an added emphasis on being kinder and gentler to the surrounding ecological and cultural attributes of the site in creating a greater place of interest and dynamic environment that fosters exploration.  

Only locally produced materials as well as native plants were used in the construction and creation of gardens, parks, streetscapes and buildings. It was the strong will of the developer to become the first comprehensive residential community in the area by bringing an improved quality of life for everybody to enjoy. Over the years the presence of the Mar Menor community has helped local businesses and industries thrive by contributing to the creation of new employment opportunities for locals and improving the tourism attraction through the Intercontinental Hotel located on its premises. 

Today, Mar Menor is a consolidated community that offers its inhabitants a healthy lifestyle through its intimate scale, invigorating pedestrian-oriented streets, strong offerings of green spaces and recreation areas, cohesively connected by harmonious urban proportions, authentic style patterns and recognizable landmarks emphasizing a renewed neighborhood oriented approach and incorporation of social and economic stewardship.

Credits: 

Landscape Architects: Astrid Hoffmann, Ryota Iwai, Carola Fiore, EDSA, Inc.

Chairman/Managing Director: Paul Thomas, Dave Thomas Limited

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MISSION STATEMENT Leading, educating, and participating in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments.
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