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


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 is going to 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 an adequate topography for this type of facility and better weather conditions even 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 area for banana trees, industrial, roads, visitor and volcanological 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 in 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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