World Building of the Week

Vigo Rises with Halo

Antonio La Gioia
13. May 2024
Photo: Attilio Fiumarella

Vigo's rugged topography, a distinctive feature of Galicia's most populous city, is a challenge. In response to this complexity, the Vigo City Council gave life almost a decade ago to the Sustainable and Integrated Urban Development Strategy “Vigo Vertical.” This ambitious program aims to address the problems arising from the irregular terrain of the municipality through a series of strategic interventions. The Halo project is part of this strategy, being the largest and most ambitious intervention in the program. This imposing structure not only facilitates the pedestrian connection between two neighborhoods in the city, but it has also become an architectural landmark, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the city and attracting the attention of residents and visitors alike.

Photo: Attilio Fiumarella

The new structure resolves a vertical level difference of more than 40 meters (131 feet), connecting the Vialia Vigo Intermodal Station, designed by Morphosis, with the García Barbón area. It consists of an elevator tower and a circular pedestrian bridge with a diameter of more than 80 m (262 ft) that rises above a busy six-lane highway. All of this is supported at only three points: One corresponds to the elevator tower itself, the other two supports include two vertical wind turbines of 3.1 m (10 ft) in diameter, which serve to generate electrical power for the elevators.

Photo: Joao Morgado

The architects state that the circular form is a reaction to Thom Mayne's design for the intermodal complex. The station's facade features a dominant central axis with the large glazed entrance atrium. A straight pedestrian bridge aligned with this axis would have obstructed views from the atrium. The bridge then moves away from the central axis, minimizing its visual impact on the views, but without sacrificing centrality in relation to the station. The architects speak of a “praise to the horizon,” indirectly quoting — it is not known if voluntarily or not — the work of Eduardo Chillida in the evocative form of Halo.

Photo: Attilio Fiumarella

The circular bridge, with a width of 4.5 m (14-1/2 ft), allows for a panoramic walkway that opens onto the landscape of the Vigo estuaries. One side of the bridge is equipped with a roof that offers protection against inclement weather, while the opposite side remains open, allowing unobstructed views. The structure is composed of a spatial truss clad with white solid surface panels and glass. The external faces of the pedestrian bridges and the elevator tower are covered with laminated tempered structural glass supported on only two edges, without intermediate joinery or supports. The glass has a subtle white ceramic silkscreen that allows views from the interior but conveys the structure with its milky color and allows nighttime lighting to illuminate the glass facade like a beacon over the city.

Photo: Attilio Fiumarella

The construction process that allowed the realization of such an imposing structure in a very complex physical context is certainly noteworthy. The structure was divided into nine modules, using temporary towers every 25 m (82 ft) to support them. Each module was fabricated in the steel workshop and divided into four parts that were welded on site. The nine modules were then lifted by a large crane located near the center of the circular bridge. The work lasted 18 months.

Photo courtesy of AM2 Architects
Project: Halo, 2024
Location: Rúa Serafín Avendaño, Vigo, Spain
Client: Concello de Vigo
Miguel Sacristán Montesinos - Civil Engineer
AM2 Arquitectos
Alexandre Mouriño Fernández - Architect
Jose Carlos Nunes de Oliveira - Architect

HALO VIGO Ferrovial - Oreco Balgon Joint Venture
Construction Manager: Alejandro Martin Velasco (Ferrovial)
Production Manager: Diego Prado Dopeso (Oreco Balgón)
UTE Manager: Guillermo Fernández Pellín (Ferrovial)
Site foremen: Manuel Gómez Dantas (Foreman), Adolfo López Díaz (Foreman), Luis González Rodríguez (Official), Alejandra Fernández Vázquez (PRL Technician), David García Ariza (Surveyor), Raúl Cadenas Acebes (Administrative), Jesús Valea Deben (Administrative)

Health and Safety Coordination: Gianfranco Paolo Olivieri Guadalupi, Jaime Carlos Martinez Losada (deputy), Julio Millara (deputy), Julio Millara (deputy)

Manufacturers/Products: Vidrios PONTEVEDRESA Industrial, Solid Surface BUTECH Porcelanosa Group, HORTA COSLADA metal workshop, Facades KLADDIA, ATESVI concrete works, SCHINDLER elevators, SCHREDER lighting, LEDSCONTROL lighting control, KLIUX wind turbines.
Photo courtesy of AM2 Architects
Photo: Joao Morgado
Photo: Attilio Fiumarella
Photo: Attilio Fiumarella
Photo: Attilio Fiumarella
Photo: Attilio Fiumarella

This review was first published as “Vigo se eleva con Halo: un hito arquitectónico que conecta la ciudad” on Spanish-Architects. Translated via Deepl and edited by John Hill.

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