Barrocal Natural Park, designed by the Portuguese landscape architecture firm Topiaris, gets gold award in the Urban Landscape category of WAN World Architecture
The Barrocal Natural Park, designed by the Portuguese landscape architecture firm Topiaris, was awarded the gold award in the Urban Landscape category of the internationally acclaimed WAN World Architecture News Awards. Eight projects from around the world were nominated in this category. The project also won the Architecture Master Prize in the Public Ladscape Architecture category.
Barrocal Park is an 11ha site within the 40ha of the defined Barrocal area, in Castelo Branco. It holds a great wealth of geological, archaeological and natural elements, and its landscape is determined by – and named after – the presence of large granitic natural blocks with very particular shapes.
The roughness of these blocks allowed for the preservation of their natural character over time, allowing it to become a sanctuary for fauna and flora. Its landscape and associated values, as well as its location in the city, presented an opportunity to provide outstanding spaces for Castelo Branco’s urban population, while creating a scientific, geological and archaeological interpretation site, a nature conservation site and a nature tourism destination, as defined by the Castelo Branco Municipality.
The design of essential infrastructure aimed to have a minimum impact on the landscape. The network of wooden and metal suspended paths and viewpoints allows the public to access exceptional perspectives over a vast and varied landscape, guiding visitors while safeguarding natural sensitive areas at minimal maintenance costs.
A shaded tunnel, a bird-watching observatory and a dome circle are reference points along this network, and where different activities are made available to visitors. Phase 1 was concluded in 2020, just after the current global pandemic called for new thinking of public and recreation spaces. Barrocal Park is a clear example of how a low-density nature landscape may be preserved in an urban context, providing freedom for individual or collective use, while complying with public health safety measures.
Barrocal is a unique natural space within the city of Castelo Branco, integrated in the UNESCO Naturtejo Global Geopark and in the International Tejo/Tajo Biosphere Reserve. Its fascinating geological landscape, shaped over 310 million of years of tectonic movements and climate change holds unexpected biodiversity. The paths, trails, viewpoints and reference structures were designed on-site, enabling their adjustment to the topography and landscape features, becoming singular observation platforms, to soak up and experience a true nature park within the city. The new natural attraction of the Castelo Branco distric just opened its doors to the public this past November.
For more information please visit https://apap.pt/topiaris-vence-o-world-architecture-news-awards/