Garden of The Senses

VAM10 architecture and landscape: The project developed a compositional idea which, as well as constructing the central axis of the Riu Sec Campus, aimed to define a teaching space that turns sensory pleasure into a vehicle for knowledge. These were the stated objectives, so the central axis would not only be the articulating element but would also become an attractive meeting place for the students, with places for walking, meeting up and taking a break, but as in any other part of the University, without forgetting its rôle in the acquisition of knowledge. It is based on a system of a certain complexity, laid out along a directional course and composed of alternating, differentiated beds, together with a system of planes and volumes that combines this directionality of lines with the search for a final perspective where large-scale masses of vegetation will converge and be particularly prominent in due time. The perspective and depth of the axis is structured by using botanical species that rise from the beginning to the end in a steady crescendo, aided by the slope, finishing with the tallest, most voluminous species, placed in a balanced way on either side but without lapsing into formal symmetry.

One argument, learning through the senses, guided the decisions and gave its name to the project. It shaped the garden as a sequence that changes with each section, where the species employed follow a logic which is recognizable in the botanical world and is not unconnected with sensory enjoyment. Sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch are represented by schemes which are independent but botanically and formally connected with the adjoining sections. The presence of water is a constant that appears in different forms, depending on whether the intention is to hear, see, touch, smell or taste, and disappears when passing through certain places. Sound effects, different textures and a wide range of flavours and aromas appear successively over the entire surface of the boulevard, culminating in the section opposite the Agora with the plants that have the most striking and contrasting colours. At the end of the axis, before entering the central Agora of the campus, there is a built meeting point, an identifiable place for waiting for friends, arranging to meet, waiting for the bus, etc. This is a big steel and glass and wood canopy that can both be seen as the end of the central axis and be pierced visually, giving the central axis of the University an added depth and complexity.

Landscape Architecture: VAM10 architecture and landscape (Miguel del Rey, Antonio Gallud, María Teresa Santamaría)
Location: Castellón, Spain
Design: 2001
Construction: 2002-2004
Budget: 1.727.046 €
Area: 13.090 m2
Technical architect: Rafael Pastor.
Sculptors: Miclos Palfy Josep ginestar
Image credits: A Gallud, M T Santamaría, Joan Roig

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