Preservation + UNESCO Study

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August – December 2009 + August – December 2010 / on going

Last July 2009, STAR won the competition for the Mirador del Palmeral, located next to a UNESCO World Heritage Site – or maybe inside it… nobody is entirely sure yet as different maps display different boundaries.
This is just the first of many confusions we encountered in the rules for preservation. These large gaps within the rules and the enormous political and social demagogy around the concept of World Heritage made it urgently necessary for our office to start an uncompromising study of preservation: from the way new interventions can take place at World Heritage Sites (WHS) to the way the UNESCO listing is used as a branding tool for a city.

This research analyzes many current and past interventions on World Heritage Sites; the process under a property becomes a World Heritage Site itself, as in the case of Elche’s Palm Grove, the site of the STAR Mirador proposal.
The study analyzes the rationale behind the chosen site, its height, and even the need for the existence of the Mirador in Elche.

↑ Image above: The Expulsion from Paradise 1508-1512, Michelangelo

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Ambiguity of the Selection Criteria


890 listed World Heritage Sites (2009)

Properties in the Red List

2 Properties deleted from the list since 1972


Intervention in WHS Toledo by Lapeña&Torres


Intervention in WHS Zeche Zollverein by OMA


Piazza dei Miracol if UNESCO had existed in 1063

Piazza dei Miracoli: Battistero, Duomo, and Campanile


WHS area in London – Elche –Santiago


Huerto Torre de Vahillos in Elche


Elche: protected area in green; buffer zone in yellow


Wheel Shadow study


Current status of the protected huertos in Elche


Las Vegas: potential WHS under criteria I, II  and IV

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Title: Preservation + UNESCO Study
Project Name: Mirador del Palmeral Preservation Study
Date: August 2009 – March 2010
Type: Commission after Self-Initiated Study
Location: World Heritage Sites + WHS: Elche’s Palm Grove (Palmeral del Elche)
Site: Avenida del Paseo de la Estación + Roundabout with Avenida del Ferrocarril
Program: Study about preservation and intervention in UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Status: On going
Client: Self-initiated + Ajuntament d’Elx – City of Elche
Budget: N/A
Publications: (Parts of it) MONU magazine on urbanism #14, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, April 2011
STAR Team: Beatriz Ramo, Jean-Vianney Deleersnyder, Guadalupe Hernández
Collaborators: Maarten Doude van Troostwijk (text editing)
Consulting: Lina Gracia Toro, Jerónimo Guilabert Requena
Extra: In July 2009, STAR won the competition for Mirador del Palmeral located next to a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The difficulty of intervening in a protected area, the large gaps within the preservation rules and the enormous political and social interest around the concept of World Heritage made it urgently necessary for the office to start a study of preservation. Afterwards the Municipality commissioned the office a development of the study focusing on the case of Mirador del Palmeral.