In order to celebrate the upcoming warm season here, we decided to post a charming landscape architecture project, recently received via e-mail from Topiaris Arquitectura Paisagista. The garden in the photos below is located on the southwest coast of Portugal, in Herdade da Comporta, Alentejo, which is an outstanding and diverse landscape mosaic with high ecological and cultural value. It is worth mentioning the dune system with psammophilous pioneer vegetation, as well as the maritime and umbrella pine woods. This mosaic is complemented by agricultural areas in the lower alluvial soils with large ranges of rice fields. The plot area is 3000m2, and the morphology of the land is very smooth and low sloped.
The key concept is to regenerate the terrain – severely damaged by the construction works of the house, following a specific design – inspired on the natural patterns of the surrounding landscape. The plantation of native species was carried out through clusters with small elevations, which are expected to gradually expand to lower adjacent areas fostering an evolutionary dynamics. This ecological evolution has a positive impact in terms of landscape aesthetics, translated into changeable and transitory scenarios, which at some point will merge with the surrounding woodland.
The Client asked for mainly three things – visual privacy, a small tank of water and cool shades for the summer – all present into the design proposed. Under the main porch there’s a small scented garden, with aromatic species structured by a wooden grid. From here, a path leads towards the chill-out. In the northwest and southwest limits wooded beams panels were built to create privacy in the initial period – while vegetation is still growing, having an important role on this garden’s identity. The project was only the beginning of a story that continues through time, in its own dynamics, giving us the opportunity to follow it, taking conclusions on the ecological and sustainable principals underlying our strategy. [Photos and information provided by Joao Morgado from Topiaris Arquitectura Paisagista]
Value for money is not, and never was, the same as being cheap. Value for money means making the most of whatever budget is available. A good example of this is Hayes Primary School in London, by Hayhurst and Co. Having to contend with a tightly controlled 3 million local authority budget, they worked with the existing structure of the primary school to give it a much needed update. A striking polished stainless steel brise-soleil facade installed at the school’s entrance, gives the school’s many different buildings a sense of identity, while new classrooms have been created in a range of shapes and sizes, and are often flooded with natural light
Inside the school, a wall made of cross-laminated timber separates classrooms from the main corridor, providing a space for storage and study. With very little to work with, the architects have managed to create a building that is much more than just the sum of all of its parts