Tamarineira Public Civic Park


As a result of previous boundaries surrounding the main hospital buildings, this area was clearly defined on all fronts. However, the character and quality of the new limits of the park were not as clear. Here are the different ways of defining the limits: The road limits on the north and west sides were aligned with the tree lines adjacent to the streetscape. A melioration system on the south-east side (corresponding to the water line) was also concerned as a key element of the territory that proposes the recovery of the side. Finally on the north side of the rear part of the residential area a public promenade was proposed.

The new public promenade aims to reinforce the connection between the site and the urban design, promote the pedestrian and cycling routes and form an urban element within its own characteristics and uses. Its formalisation aims to communicate the idea of an urban frontier and a place for walks, socialising and relaxing, but also a highly afforested ‘tube’, with rest areas, areas of shade and sun, and reception areas for all paths which will pass through the park. Due to its importance in the context of the new park, the public promenade will end on the north side, in an urban square, with rest areas and a large urban art mural.

The concept of a limit introduced an idea for creating zoning spaces. This idea arose as a direct consequence of the structuring of the entire intervention area – the matrix of support and coherence of all the small dispersed structures – made by a network of well-articulated pathways which were strongly connected to the definition of full and empty spaces connected to the program of the competition. From this structure and all of its necessary variations, we arrived at the proposal for the new park with three distinct areas:

— The entrance of the park (west end), consists of a network of routes leading towards northwest and southeast direction composed in either a rigid or a more organic layout. This structure presents green pockets of different sizes filled with trees and shrubs, and also defines large central clearings as the voids of the park, places for rest and children’s playgrounds;

— The central area of the park is formally defined by the communication between the architecture elements of great predominance and the vegetation. The action of ‘sewing’ the existing buildings with their styles, uses and distinct proportions will take place in this space, highlighting the park in the remaining spaces between the buildings;

— For the area of the Matinha (east end), we propose a maximum preservation. This means celebrating the place of nature – a sacred forest. To make this possible it’s necessary to increase the amount of trees, as well as to construct the elevated paths in such a way that they protect the ‘natural’ ground, offering users an enormous richness of contact with different tree layers.

The area of the Matinha is considered the climax point, where all the paths will lead to. The sacred factor of this space is attached to the perception of gains obtained by its active protection: a place of exception in the park but also in the context of the city itself; a natural area with didactic and pedagogic value; a space for contemplation.

The concept of clearly defining the different areas of the project comes from the necessity to assign distinct uses to the new park, and in that sense to reward it with varied load bearing capacities. The solutions for the distinct types of materiality originate from this concept.

The large clearings in the entrance zone of the park are designated for rest and play because the proposed lawns bear a huge capacity comparing to the more sensitive shadowed shrub borders. The longitudinal and transversal concrete paths create special areas for resting and circulation, with their resistance and comfort. In the areas of a lower load bearing capacity, such as the Matinha, the elevated paths – more resistant structures – gained importance as delimiting contours of the spatial use.

Distinct load bearing capacities are added to the project proposal in order to increase the sense of comfort and well-being. This would be achieved, on one hand, by the introduction of natural matter – vegetation – and, on the other hand, by the introduction of artificial materials – the pergolas for protection from the sun and heavy rains.

Finally, the introduction of the time factor as a process catalyst and/or retarder for the living material encouraged us to introduce the idea of a patchwork, composed of numerous elements of different sizes and randomly placed. We would be able to arrive at structured and ranked crossings – paths, solids/voids, sun/shade, interior/exterior uses, topographic models and load bearing capacities. From a proposal originated from a spatial and relational definition between the built structures and vegetation, we arrived at a more complex solution than a simple planting plan – this solution would play the role of an integrating matrix of space, sometimes as a backcloth or setting, at others, playing a main role. The matrix is capable of building a coherent space from fragmented elements.

This project is formed as a set of tools that operates on highly mutable elements. A different degree of unpredictability in landscape is established, which is strongly opposed to the winning proposal that centered a tightly controlled spatial formalization governed by strong aesthetic principles and implying highly specialized control mechanisms.

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