Nicknamed "The Basque Toledo", the city of Oñati, Guizpuzcoa, on Spain's northern coast, is well known for its picturesque valley and buildings with architectural styles varying from Gothic to Renaissance and Baroque. However, the city council of Oñati felt that an urban space consisting of trees and a nearby road offered underutilized potential. They believed that the location could be transformed into leisure space for all of its citizens, while offering them the ability to celebrate the city's municipal heritage.
The council decided that, given the town's large population of young families, the site offered the potential to house an attraction that would appeal to this demographic. They wanted something unique and more impactful than a traditional playground. More precisely, they thought that some type of water attraction could be a great way for its citizens to enjoy an outdoor space while giving people the chance to cool off given that the weather in Basque Country is hot in the summer. The council also knew that it would be important for the location to offer a space accessible to all residents, regardless of age or ability.
The council sought the expertise of landscape architect, Íñigo Segurola, and his team at Lur Paisajistak to design a park with water as focus.
After Mr. Segurola designed the space to meet the city's various needs and specifications, he chose Vortex Aquatic Structures International to turn his design into a reality. Mr. Segurola knew that Vortex would be the perfect partner because of the company's experience, technical knowledge and expertise in installing Splashpads around the world. When he met with Vortex, he was convinced he made the right choice, as the company understood the requirements of the area, and demonstrated that they would be able to take Mr. Segurola's vision and turn it into an exciting, sustainable and urban aquatic play space that meets the needs of families.
And the Splashpad has indeed fulfilled all of these requirements, and then some. The Splashpad at Oñati is made up of three zones, each with its own water play experience, so that the park can be enjoyed by all the residents. At one end of the park is a zone perfect for the youngest family members, with water gently spraying out from the ground in soft textures. A second zone features water cannons for older children, with high-pressure water providing additional excitement. And a third zone includes features that can be enjoyed by the entire family, encouraging intergenerational play.
Concerns of the City over the water consumption and sustainability of the Splashpad were addressed by Vortex through its water management controller, Maestro that uses Smartflow™ technology. Maestro allows the Splashpad to be managed safely, intuitively, and remotely. Based on a programmed sequence, the controller offers real-time flow control which means that the exact right amount of water flows to each feature on the Splashpad. The technology incorporates on-demand activators, so that the water flows only when the Splashpad is in use. The high efficiency nozzles optimize water usage, so that Maestro provides an efficient, eco-sensitive solution.
The partnership between Íñigo Segurola and Vortex demonstrates that a currently-unused space, or an area that has lived past its usable age, can often be redesigned to meet various needs of the community. The Oñati Splashpad successfully and dynamically integrates the elements of play, pleasant aesthetics, and sustainability. The innovative attraction serves multiple uses at the same time – exciting architectural design and a play area for families to cool off in hot weather.