On the sea before the Parque Natural de las Sierras de Tejeda, near Málaga, Spain, is a gentle barren slope which will soon be bursting with greenery. This is the home to Nerja Botanical Gardens, designed by Isabel Amores and Modesto Garcia of ISMO Arquitectura.
The starting point was a walkway along the slope which was already used as a pedestrian path. Maintaining continuity with the path, the Spanish architects decided to develop a number of structures sprinkled over the land like true items of street furniture. Each item of infrastructure hosts a number of functions, such as reception, the shop, the administrative offices or the herb garden. Some of these little buildings are also panoramic viewpoints, and they will be linked by underground and overhead walkways.
The appearance of the structures, and of the pedestrian walkways, is inspired by the colours of the soil and the nearby mountains, making the whole hill on which the garden stands look the same. To create a stronger connection, ISMO Arquitectura uses wood, a natural element connected with the trees growing at the site which makes the structures look like street furnishings. Thinking of the future, ISMO Arquitectura also used iron, aware that with time and rust it will act as a link between the natural and artificial elements in the garden.
In addition to the main structures, the garden is sprinkled with little open-air classrooms with desks and chairs, framed by structures and grids that will with time provide support for climbing plants.
Everything is ready to receive the plants: the first true inhabitants of the park. After this, everything will be up to time and to the gardeners who take care of the park. Nerja Botanical Gardens will become a luxuriant green place for visitors.
Location: Cueva de Nerja, Málaga, Andalusia, Spain
Project team: ISMO (Isabel Amores, Modesto García); Silvia Renaud
Assistants: Ignacio Morón, Alejandro Cabanas, Laura Fernández, Jorge Ayala
Photos: Fernando Alda