When a cluster of palm trees in Daya Vieja, Spain fell down recently, it sparked action from the town. To protect a different cluster of palms, the city brought in architect Joaquín Alvado Bañón, who designed the designed “El Mirador de la Palmera” (known alternately as "Variation Guggenheim 3"), a three-story, spiraling metal ramp and lookout tower that serves as a support structure for the palm trees. The new structure brings visitors closer to the trees while providing unique views of the small town.
Spiraling towers that reference the curved ramps of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum in New York have been a running theme for Alvado Bañón, who also designed a large lookout tower for Dubai that shares some architectural vocabulary with the Daya Vieja project.
As Bañón explains in his project description, the tower is much larger than a typical support structure for the palm trees would need to be. “While the Mirador certainly uses more materials, and takes up more space, than a traditional support system would, it deserves credit for bringing visitors closer to the trees and creating a pleasant experience, while performing a valuable function as well,” writes the architect. “In addition to the nice views and fun structure, the idea of making the tree a focal point and working with them is an example of the sustainable thinking that infiltrates much of today’s architecture.”
As he points out, the shape and materials used in the structure resemble a roller coaster, which helps to make the tower (and, by extension, the trees) an inviting and fun place to visit. The structure is also meant to connect the town with nearby orchards, and to give visitors a different perspective of the town.
Photos © David Frutos