Transforming Space through Architecture
Iñaki Alday’s optimism about architecture is rooted in his experience of history. Spanish architects like Alday played a major role in rebuilding and reenergizing their country as it transitioned to democracy from the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. One reason why their work is so striking and successful is their willingness to incorporate the complexity, richness, and fluidity of human experience in their designs for public spaces.
With his partner, Margarita Jover, Alday has placed their firm, aldayjover architecture and landscape, at the center of this movement. The International Association for Public Transportation recently recognized the firm for its successful efforts to integrate Line 1 of the Zaragoza Tramway into the urban fabric. “The line had originally been designed solely with the logic of transportation in mind,” he said. “Our goal is to incorporate other logics—social, economic, environmental, political, cultural, historic—into our plan, creating a more welcoming and habitable space.”
Alday is particularly drawn to the possibilities of design to unify communities. Many of his projects, like the Tramway, involve realizing the potential of rivers and railroad lines that circulate through urban areas. “In these neglected or forgotten spaces, there’s an opportunity to make a high-quality experience—one that involves the natural world—available to all of a city’s inhabitants,” he said. In addition to Phase 2 of the Tramway, aldayjover is part of the team designing the Sagrera Linear Park in Barcelona, a four-kilometer greenway over the tracks of a railway.
Alday has taught at a number of universities. In 2011, he was named the Elwood R. Quesada Professor and chair of the Department of Architecture. His goal, he said, is to convey to students his experience, that “architecture has the capacity to be relevant, doing big and important things,” and his belief, that “it is their responsibility, as architects, to do them.”