Cumbre Nueva, an urbanization of 543 homes, the first reconstruction project for those affected by the La Palma volcano


When the emergency caused by the eruption of the Tajogaite volcano, a first reconstruction project already proposes the works of a new town that will consist of 543 homes, and that will be located to the south of the lava flows that devastated the Todoque neighborhood. Led by the architect Sergio González-Jaraba, the New Summit project 2021 proposes the construction of a highway that crosses the lava flows from the volcano to be able to give access to the new residential area. In that place, the creation of a tourist complex was planned that was never developed as it was included within the Tamanca Protected Area. The promoter architect appealed yesterday to change the soil protection standards to enable the construction of these homes. “It is not trying to destroy the land,” González-Jaraba stressed. The initiative was born with the sole purpose of “recovering what nature has taken from us”, he stressed.

Regarding the choice of the location, located further south of the huge scar generated by the volcanic lava flows, González-Jaraba pointed out that the affected residents “do not have to go north” of the Island, nor do they “emigrate to the Peninsula.” , and made it clear that the entire territory of La Palma is volcanic.

The person in charge of the Cumbre Nueva 2021 project said that it is an area that “could be affected tomorrow” by another volcano, “but the same thing happens in all the Canary Islands.” That is why he stressed that it is necessary “not to transmit a message of negativity” and, instead, of “hope.” “Hopefully we can say that nothing will happen there, but we have to continue fighting with optimism and firmness to live with nature,” said González-Jaraba.

Regarding the financing of the project, which the architect described as «a partial solution, hopeful, real and tangible ”, he stressed that first it is necessary to resolve the compensation that each affected person receives, and from there study two options. Both have as a common point the requalification of the land by the Government of the Canary Islands. One of these financing options aims to be through European funds, while González-Jaraba indicates that “there are no projects for these funds to arrive.” The other possibility is that each affected person who receives the aid contributes to the urbanization, executing it with private financing, for which economic studies will be carried out, according to the urban planner.

González-Jaraba defended that the project tries to “create something to give an opportunity” by generating not only houses, but also schools, health centers and sports centers, so that residents of the affected areas “can recover their lives.” Thus, the construction with a single-family housing typology is proposed, although they also propose shared horizontal property.

The plot where Cumbre Nueva 2021 will be developed is located four kilometers south of Todoque and one from the Plaza de La Glorieta de Las Manchas.

«It is a land with a suitable topography for this type of facility and even better weather conditions than in the old summit area “, he pointed out. To do this, we work on four project scales. The first is territorial planning, where the recovery zone for banana trees, industrial, roads, visitor and vulcanological centers and residential areas is planned; the second comprises the development of the urbanization itself; the third is the analysis of the buildings and houses to be installed; and finally, the development of materials for this urbanization by recycling part of the ashes expelled by the volcano.

A multidisciplinary team, which also includes architecture students to the well-known architect Joaquín Torres, from the A-Cero studio, will carry out these works. Torres, through a video, pointed out that “in less than six months we can build quality Premium category homes.”

These homes would also be prefabricated, installed by modules, and in which recycled materials and coatings from the volcano’s ash will be used, “creating a new city with all services that is sustainable and ecological,” explained González-Jaraba. «It has to be different and that it seeks social and civic cohesion. They are not the 2,000 meter plots they had before, but it is an intermediate solution». In his opinion, “quality homes with better living conditions than traditional homes” would be guaranteed.

Sergio González-Jaraba mentioned that one of the keys to this project is to activate the economy and create jobs. This would be achieved through the construction of these modular homes on the island, the promoters believe. For this, La Palma workers would be trained, also making it possible to save transport and production. The architect also contributed, as a conclusion, that the project is carried out with “the illusion” that the neighbors “see it as an opportunity, an open window, a light in which hope is reflected.”

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