The town of Banyoles, in the Spanish region of Girona, has one of the area's most emblematic heritage architectural and urban centres. The monks of Sant Esteve Monastery, who established the first settlement there in the ninth century, also built a system of drainage canals, or recs, excavated from the lacustrine travertine plate beneath the town, to provide water from Banyoles's lake and to avoid the frequent localised flooding. These canals were later covered.
The refurbishment of Banyoles Old Town modernises the public space and its systems, and builds a new sense of public landscape by exposing the historical substrate of the town, uncovering in the process the remains of buildings, tombs, objects and old canals. By reincorporating the newly revealed canals back into squares and pedestrian streets, these vestiges are rendered visible within the redevelopment project.
Because of the project's overall size, regeneration of the different areas has been phased. Recent awards include: Finalist, 5th Urban Public Spaces European Prize (2008); Finalist, Landscape European Prize, Rosa Barba (2008); Winner, Catalonia Construction Award (2009); Finalist, FAD Awards (2010); Selected Project, Obra del Año Plataforma Arquitectura (2011); Winner, International Stone Awards (2013).