Urban Refurbishment Palma de Mallorca Beach

The end of “Arenal Effect”.

OOIIO Architecture wins Special Mention in the “Europan 14″, the most important urban architecture competition for young architects at an international level. The project was presented as a comic, exploring new forms of architectural representation.

The proposed site for the Urban Refurbishment Contest is one of the axes marked by the current General Plan to become a pedestrian zone and its enhancement, improving the connection of the beach with the neighbourhood in which the people of El Arenal actually lives.
The town is currently a “tourist ghetto” known for its offer of sun + beach + party, attracting low quality tourism that shows no interest in local culture and is displacing the usual inhabitants.

In the environment there are a series of urban problems as a disused commercial centre that nevertheless presents a great potential as a container of future activities and is the link element between the tourist world and the local world.
Mass tourism is temporary (visitors arrive only in the months of good weather) and generates multiple challenges: urban, environmental, social, economic and cultural. How to continue attracting tourism and be, at the same time, sustainable and attractive for the local population? How to articulate the improvement of an urban axis with the capacity to relate tourism and the local world with the rest of the city?

How to get an Urban Refurbishment that end up with the bad touristic reputation of El Arenal Beach, that is affecting the rest of the international image of Mallorca as a vacation destiny? How to end up with the “Arenal Effect”?

OOIIO Architecture proposes to solve all those problems a battery of urban interventions that act on the different problematic city places with the target of regenerating El Arenal and transforming it from a conflictive destination of sun and beach tourism to an attractive place by its own socio-cultural offer.

Among others, these interventions are:
Some days a week there is a street market that attracts people from other places, we propose to praise the multiple social, cultural and economic virtues of such a market and generate infrastructures to encourage their development; in the city there are large vertical dividing walls due to an unequal urban growth with the appearance of blocks of hotel buildings next to single-family homes, we encourage working with art on them; demolish part of the commercial centre in disuse favouring the connectivity between the beach and the urban centre; we transform a parking lot into a square full of palm trees and shadows to attract users; etc.

The jury appreciated the work of OOIIO:
“The search for a way to communicate and explain the project in a different format is recognized positively, as a process from which a program and a final form will emerge. The main problems to be solved by the project are clearly explained and an open system based on the dialogue and participation of different agents is proposed giving, in a synthetic way and in a certain abstract way, proposed solutions. The most important thing is the proposal of a process “.


  • Status: Competition. Special Mention.
  • Project Year: 2017.
  • Location: El Arenal, Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
  • Area: 420.000,00 m2
  • Design: OOIIO Architecture.
  • Team: Joaquin Millán Villamuelas, Jesús Reyes García, Paolo Mercorillo, Marta Álvarez Cerviño, Kelly Guerim, Magali Chermette.
  • Client: Palma Beach Council. Europan 14.