One of Spain’s crown jewels, Barcelona Botanical Garden is located on Montjuich´s mountainside between the Castle and the Olympic Stadium. Today, I’d like to bring you on a journey into a garden-mountain landscape that captures the perfect design balance between nature and the city of Barcelona.
This botanical garden specializes in flora characteristic of areas homoclimatic with the coveted Mediterranean climate, such as places like South Africa, Chile, southern California, and the Canary Islands. Because of this setup, visitors can take a tour “around the world” so-to-speak through the varied Mediterranean plant palettes. Many plants at risk of disappearance are also preserved on this site.
The design of the garden was inspired by the fractured and geometric form of the on-site architecture. The landscape is laid out as a triangulated grid that adapts to different formations of vegetation, giving the designers the opportunity to place plantings in mosaics and transepts, depending on their different growing conditions.
The Garden was designed by a multidisciplinary team comprising architects, Carles Ferrater and Josep Lluís Canosa; landscape architect Bet Figueras; horticulturalist Artur Bossy; and biologist Joan Pedrola. Two fundamental considerations were taken into account.
The first was landscaping. The plants are arranged geographically into the five Mediterranean regions of the world, and within each area, they are grouped by ecological affinity to represent natural landscapes.
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The second was to design the Garden in such a way that the mountain itself would provide the topographical layout for each group of plants. This meant taking advantage of the natural relief to design the network of pathways, avoiding major earthworks as much as possible.
To follow the terrain’s natural contours, a triangular-shaped network of paths was created. The pathways take visitors through 87 exhibition units known as phytoepisodes. The geometric layout of the garden is informed by botanical and ecological systems, as well as in the use of the concept of morphological convergence in vegetation, making the garden a tool of high scientific value.
The buildings that exist in the garden are placed strategically at the upper access on the highest part of the route through the garden to remain as conspicuous visual references observable from the city of Barcelona.
Since the Garden serves as a source of information about botany and nature, the space also provides educational activities designed for everyone from professionals and enthusiasts to students and amateurs. The inclusion of educational programming promotes public awareness of and fosters concern for nature.
Photographs © Sixto D. Lozano and Wikimedia
Sixto D. Lozano is a Landscape Architect in Valencia, Spain sutterlozano|studioPublished in