Martín Cerreda and Natalia Lorenzo: The area of intervention of the proposal is very vast, 10,200 m2 approximately, including the Park-Garden and the oak forest (Carballeira) of Caldas de Reis. The Park-Garden was created in the 19th Century as a private sector development. In 1883, the council bought the property and transformed it into a place of recreation open to the public. In 1962, it was declared National Scenic Site and it became the starting point of the Water Trail, which follows upstream to the Segade waterfall. There are around 150 botanical species from several continents. In this sense, the park has a great didactic value, following the tradition of the great botanic gardens. Next to the Park-Garden there is a large Carballeira, which beyond its natural content, has the value of serving as a gathering place, where several events take place during the year, such as the Cultura Quente music festival and Kaldarte, a project of artistic experimentation on Caldas de Reis public space.
The Carballeira and the Park-Garden are Assets of Cultural Interest (BIC).
The Project has involved the improvement of the relationship between the area of intervention and the adjacent urban fabric, facilitating a better interaction between them and contributing to an increasing level of activity towards the optimum use of the potential this area has to offer. Due to its origin as a classical garden, the park structure is very well defined and contrasts sharply with the second part of the park, the Carballeira. Care was taken to find a solution for the transition between the two parts, creating links that allow us to understand the park as an entity, respecting each part’s structure at the same time. The main challenges identified when carrying out the project were related to the access to the upper part of the Carballeira, to the vehicular access and to parking areas. The need to provide service to the school was a constraint for the access of both private and school transport. It has been crucial to reorganize circulations and parking areas to avoid deterioration of the park image.
In accordance to their different structures and issues, intervention has been divided into two parts. On one hand, the Park-Garden. Actions were aimed at reorganizing some existing elements and replacing others which due to its conservation or integration state were not adequate for the environment, respecting the area of intervention and reusing every element with historic importance. The second part of the project consisted on the intervention in the Carballeira. The main objective was to create, within the grid formed by oaks, a new itinerary facilitating circulation requirements, both pedestrian and for vehicles, integrated in the superb natural landscape. In order to achieve this, several paths of various widths were introduced between the oaks and following the contour lines. Due to the difference in levels between the upper part of the park and the esplanade of the Carballeira and also to the need for it to be passable in all areas, it was decided to create a series of terraces following the contour lines, which act as seating stands for performances, or simply as a place to rest. Circular blocks of prefabricated concrete with open plantable joint were chosen to improve the road network. Bedding growth will eventually cover them and offer visual continuity. Corten steel was selected as the finish for walls retaining terraces, compacted earth was used for paths. Stairs and benches are made of prefabricated concrete.
The Carballeira has moved from being a degraded natural space to being an urban park which brings together a large number of sport, leisure and cultural activities for everyone, regardless of age. This project extends the open space for pedestrians at the expense of vehicles, prioritizing leisure and walking. Linear routes without obstacles, encouraging citizens to walk across the public space, are promoted, recovering the continuity lost between the inner city and the surrounding natural spaces. The redevelopment of the Park has allowed for areas where sports and leisure coexist with special events such as outdoor concerts or theatre. Finally, the education and cultural work, carrying out activities to promote the awareness of the natural environment, providing the public with training and information, make the Park an instrument for teaching and learning.
Landscape Architecture: Martín Cerreda and Natalia Lorenzo
Location: Caldas de Reis, Pontevedra, Spain
Budget: 580.000 €