Spain’s Got Talent – 10 Examples of Spanish Landscape Architecture

Spanish Landscape Architecture

Article by Radenka Kolarov – Following on in our world series we have selected 10 awesome projects that perfectly represents Spanish landscape architecture today. Spain is one of the world’s oldest cultures with a rich heritage that has influenced entire continents. Spain has tons to offer, from chorizos and matadors to flamenco dancing and Spanish guitars. It is the birthplace of the Spanish language, Pablo Picasso and Miguel Cervantes, and attracts millions of visitors every year because of its fantastic architecture and Spanish landscape architecture too. From the innovative playgrounds and multifunctional parks to the amazing solutions for public squares, either you enjoy the blending with nature, or perhaps the very contrast with the environment, but there is no doubt that you will love these projects. So, let’s take a look at some known (and some not-so-known) things about Spanish landscape architecture.

10 Awesome Examples Spanish Landscape Architecture

10. The Playground at Parque Gulliver, architect Rafael Rivera, artist Manolo Martin and designer Josep Vicent “Sento” Llobell Bisbal, in Valencia

WATCH >>> Tilt-Shift | Parque Gulliver | Valencia

Entertainment, fantasy and charm all come together in this amazing park. This children’s kingdom absorbs inspiration directly from sources in literature and combines it with nets, ropes, stairs, passageways, ramps, and much more, providing a perfect entertainment center for children. This scene has been immortalized by the Parque Gulliver, where children can feel like true Lilliputians, climbing and sliding down the colossal figure which is no less than 70 meters in length. Also, it has many other attractions, such as mini golf, skating parks, bicycle lanes, and a giant chess board. No doubt that the Parque Gulliver is a great tourist attraction.

9. The Jellyfish House, by Wiel Arets Architects, in Marbella

In the year 2013, European architecture firm Wiel Arets Architects completed their work on a pool project that will soon become known for its use that reaches beyond conventionalities. Located in the south of Spain, in the Los Monteros, Marbella region, near the Mediterranean Sea, this project has drawn inspiration directly from its environment. With the pool on a rooftop and selected materials like glass panels and concrete joists, it was named “Jellyfish House” by its creators, for it blurs the line between construction and nature. An impression of lightness is also present, while the glass panels act as a pool bottom, making it even more transparent. To complete its integration into the surrounding white surface, the furniture was made in concrete too.

The Jellyfish House. Photo credit: Jan Bitter

The Jellyfish House. Photo credit: Jan Bitter

8. Torico Square, by b720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos, in Torico

Great solutions might come from the minds of architects when it comes to redeveloping and reviving beautiful historical sites. Such is the story with refreshing the historical town center of Torico with an innovative lighting scheme design. Being surrounded by great architectural heritage and with a complex underground water system, the town center of Torico needed to be lighted up by more than 1,200 light sections. Informatics software helped the programmers use different ways of controlling the lights, making them even more attractive. The LED luminaires embedded in the basaltic paving were exclusively designed for this project. The vertical lights were also added to illuminate the surrounding buildings.

Lighting Design and Application

Photo Credit: Torico Square by b720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos, Teruel, Spain

7. Project Banyoles Old Town Remodeling, by Miàs Architects, in Banyoles

Completed in 2011, this remodeling of the Old Town received numerous awards, including the Premis D’Arquitectura Comarques de Girona. When the project was in progress, it was decided that almost all the available space was going to be pedestrianized and that the old sidewalks were going to be removed. The elements of stone and water took a central role in this project. The Old Town’s water canals become part of the sewer system, but the role of water was regained in the end result – restoring the old water canals as they appear intermittently between the recently pedestrianized spaces. The urban planning for this project was a great success, for it took into consideration the fact of many old buildings that were all from medieval times.

Banyoles Old Town Remodeling.

Banyoles Old Town Remodeling. Photo credit: Adrià Goula

6. Atlantic Park by Battle I Roig Arquitectes, in Santander Located on Spain’s northern coast, Atlantic Park combines elements of ecological restoration and urban community parks. This beautiful example of Spanish landscape architecture bloomed in a riverbed area. As the city of Santander spread, it cut the river off, leaving that area unsuitable for development. This extremely neglected and polluted sight had to be dealt with – and the idea for Atlantic Park was born. Dividing the park into three sections, architects successfully brought about the solution for the park’s topography and the protection of its unique ecology. By transforming an unused dumping ground into a vibrant public space, preserving and emphasizing plant species native to the Atlantic coast, and combining this area with community and public needs, Atlantic Park is a perfect example of a sustainable development solution.
Atlantic Park. Photo credit: Jorge Póo

Atlantic Park. Photo credit: Jorge Póo

5. Casa Sardinera, by RAMON ESTEVE ESTUDIO, in Jávea, in Alicante

Between EI Portixol and Cala Blanca, surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, sits Sardinera House. The garden design for this project combines both ecological and economical solutions, reflecting the cultural landscape of cultivation and the consideration of providing habitats for endangered species and diverse plant communities. Considering this, the project offered truly great design that entwines two human activities; constructing the house and protecting the environment. As for the building itself, the concrete walls are repeatedly placed in “ladder” patterns, which condense and enlarge the views. The concrete walls allow the cantilevers to fit in between each other to form a strong connection. Strongly influenced by Mediterranean landscape, this house connects both multi-interior space and outdoor space creatively through the use of landscape. Glass panels also provide the sense of openness that adds to a calm and relaxing atmosphere.

Sardinera House. Photo credit: Mariela Apollonio

4. Plaza de la Luna, by Brut Deluxe, Ben Busche Architects, in Madrid

The famous Plaza de la Luna had problems that needed to be solved. Beside the square, which hadno coherent space, the solution needed to focus on the worst part of the site – the area beneath the arcades. That solution came with the re-formation and creation of a perfect public space, framed with trees, ramps, stairs, and ventilation towers. The center does not determine fixed places for activities but provides the opportunity for diverse uses, such as street markets, musical performances, or sports. In order to make sure that the arcades aren’t too dark – and therefore, attractive to vandals — a new false ceiling is covered with white tiles that reflect the light and give a safer feeling at night. When it comes to the paving of the square, it focuses on texture, with granite blocks of different, highly contrasting colors – white, green, black, and grey.

A landscape acting as an example in our article about designing crime our of landscape architecture. Plaza de la Luna by Brut Deluxe and Ben Busche Architects.

3. Plaza Euskadi, by Balmori Associates and Lantec, in Bilbao Besides the famous “curvy building”, there is also the beautiful Plaza Euskadi, with its oval center and the large green traffic island. Its design is not a typically urban one, because of its unique position and purpose. The large area of planting on the plaza provides an inner-city green habitat, integrating the natural environment into the city. The whole place was divided into three smaller spaces, each with a function of its own, defined off the fluid main pathway; the reflecting puddle space, the ottoman seating space, and the “garden” space. This was a solution that acknowledges the vast scale of the surrounding context, while creating intimate and people-friendly spaces. In the garden space, an organic concrete pathway is raised above flowering shrubs while acknowledging a 100-year-old Laegostremia tree.

Plaza Euskadi by Balmori Associates in Bilbao, Spain

2. Indautxu Square, by JAAM sociedad de arquitectura, in Biscay Risen from an under-utilized and closed-off area, Indautxu Square represents a great solution for neglected and ignored spaces. Mostly vehicular in use, it was turned into pedestrian zone. Glass prisms were used to house various facilities of the underground infrastructure that needed to be adopted into the new design. In order to support the needs of the community, two spaces were made – a main space for social events such as markets, fairs, and exhibits, and a quieter space surrounding this for walking, reading, and relaxing. A large, circular central canopy of glass and wood, 40 meters in diameter, defined the main space. The luminaires are unique to the site, with an upper structure shaped like a leaf and illuminated by LED lights.
Indautxu Square. Photo Credit: Elker Azqueta

Indautxu Square. Photo Credit: Elker Azqueta

1. Campa de los Ingleses Park, by Balmori Associates, in Bilbao

In the northern part of Spain, close to the famous Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, sits a park known as the “Lung for the City”. Being an array of park spaces and plantings, the topography of the Park was bridged and mediated by ramps, terraces and walls. The paths widen to shape public spaces designed for relaxation and views of the river, the mountains, and the Guggenheim itself. The paving of the Campa de los Ingleses contains an additive called GeoSilex, which absorbs carbon dioxide. Rock gardens reside in ellipse-shaped areas, and single trees are surrounded by circular sitting elements – most of the trees being fruit, broad-leaved trees, and evergreens. Planting grass on different heights emphasizes the topographic differences and shapes. The floodlighting elements are linear and long seating elements are good points for watching the landscape while resting.

Campa de los Ingleses Park

Campa de los Ingleses Park. Photo courtesy Bilboa Ria

Sunny Spain, Much Inspiration to Gain From Spanish Landscape Architecture

The landscapes – from the lush green north, to the mighty Pyrenees, the deserts of Almeria, the Alpujarras, the Rias in Galicia, the wilds of Extremadura… Does it make you wanna go straight to Spain and see all that? Just imagine that adventure! So is the Spanish landscape architecture inspired by its natural environment? Through this list of 10 projects, you can see the diversity of variations in design, and how all the components makes each project special in its own kind of way. Which of these Spanish landscape architecture projects do you prefer and like the most? Let us know in the comment section below!


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