Zubiri, Esteríbar, Navarra (Lot 3)

Zubiri, a municipality in the Esteríbar valley in Navarra, was selected by the competition jury for its proposal for the restoration and extension of a currently derelict building with a highly significant siting in this urban ensemble, by the Way of St James as it comes down from Roncesvalles and the bridge that gave the village its name. Historically this building has had various uses, including as an inn or a school, and is now to be turned into a cultural centre.

The Place

Esteríbar is a municipality in the north of the region of Navarra. It has a population of 2868 (according to the 2020 census) and is made up of 10 districts, 18 populated villages and 4 uninhabited ones. The municipality has a north-south orientation through a long, narrow Pyrenean valley, following the course of the river Arga from the massif of Quinto Real to the Pamplona basin.

The chief town of the valley is Zubiri, in roughly its geographic centre. Zubiri in Basque means ‘village of the bridge’, which indicates the long history of this river crossing. Other notable villages are Eugi, in the upper valley, Urdániz and Larrasoaña in the middle part, and Olloki in the south. Of these, Olloki is the village that has gained most inhabitants in recent years due to its proximity to Pamplona, and today its population accounts for 40% of the valley’s total.


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The Proposal

Revitalisation of the surroundings of the la Rabia Bridge (Lot 3)

The chosen setting is in the historic part of Zubiri, on the bank of the river Arga opposite the village centre and by the Puente de la Rabia bridge, the historic river crossing to which Zubiri owes its name.

Near the site are various outlying traditional buildings and a few boarding houses, as the Way of St James comes through here.

Proposals would seek to meet the need for a cultural venue to serve the whole valley, for which there is much demand. Its benefits for civil society, social cohesion and cultural programming would amply justify the investment involved. Currently, in summer, cultural events are organised only in the village’s main square and are often contingent on the weather even in the more propitious months. Given its strategic location, activities such as exhibitions, concerts or guided tours may also be geared towards tourism.

Moreover, the current premises of the local council are tiny, and so relocating the council to a new repurposed venue would be of great public interest.


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