Grupo Aranea, is a multidisciplinary office with focus on architecture and landscaping, located in the city of Alicante. It recently awarded a new international prize, which reaffirms its leading position in the European design sector.On this occasion, the office led by Francisco Leiva, received the European Price for Urban Public Space, thanks to its project El valle trenzado (The braided valley), developed in the city of Elche. Aranea is joint winner with Sir Norman Foster, a worldwide leader in architecture and the French landscape architect Michel Desvigne, who were in charge of reforming the Vieux-Port of Marseille.

The Award for Urban Public Space is a biannual competition organised by the Centro de Cultura Contemporánea de Barcelona, in which seven European institutions take part. In 2014, the competition took place for the 8th time. El valle trenzado is an architectural and landscaping Project, about the bed of the Vinalopó River that flows through the town of Elche and has recently completed its first phase. In the past, this riverbed, a 40m deep ravine, radically divided the city, by separating the historic centre from the famous El Palmeral area (Palm grove) and thus impeding the crossing of the neighbours of Elche. The project by Aranea sees the regeneration of this riverbed into a passage connecting both areas and the creation of the ideal place for sporting activities, upon popular demand by the inhabitants of Elche. One of the most obvious parts of the regeneration of El valle trenzado, will be the recovery of the native vegetation, as well as the criss-cross concrete footbridges, which allow inhabitants to pass over.

Images courtesy of Jesús Granada.