The Cordoaria Garden establishes itself as a manifesto of profound social changes through the elegant appropriation of a site with popular characteristics.
The design approach stems from the proposal to replace a former market space in the city of Porto with a new leisure area for social interaction. The garden ceases to be a disconnected closed off space yet through the implementation of surrounding natural boundaries it can become part of people’s daily lives.
The high walls were replaced by soft sloping levels that establish the transition between varying spot heights. The high hedges were replaced with low trimmed hedges whilst the trees had their canopies raised.
The intervention assumes the fluidity of the previously mentioned borders and incorporates them in a site lacking an obvious transition between soft and hard landscape elements. This approach steers the design of the entire intervention (from the triangular area formed by the Palácio da Justiça, the Tower of the Clérigos and the Guarda Republicana) to become a single space. One that is continuously subject to a fundamental uniformity giving new emphasis to existing elements: the dense vegetation; the lake area; the paths and the seating areas. The rhythmic pattern in the Garden area arises from the initial platform design and defines the frontier of this space. It establishes the transition between the different levels and is constructed with diverse materials. Strong geometric lines of sand, gravel, grass and hedges create a subtle garden space that moulds with the existing hard landscape.
The path design and the seating area locations are organized in accordance with new pedestrian flow and destinations which outweigh the general geometric design rule where paths are drawn as voids that interrupt the continuity of successive strips.