Transfer Global Architecture Platform, is a new digital editorial project based on the production and transmission of architectural knowledge with the aim of connecting contemporary ideas and practices to build a global architectural culture.

Learn more

Transfer is a nonprofit organization which welcomes private or institutional donations to support the production and distribution of original, independent and high-quality architectural knowledge, addressed to a creative global audience.

Learn more

Global Architecture Platform

Cantarell Garden

Púbol, Girona

Cantarell Garden is an experimental garden based on the concept of learning from the place without imposing any ideas on it, allowing the potential of the site to manifest.

This garden combines on-site interventions with the spontaneous evolution of the vegetation. Each of the interventions was interspersed with time periods of variable duration during which the garden evolved freely. The type of intervention and the moment at which it was carried out were determined only by the stimuli of what was happening in an unpredictable way, with no specific formal objective.

The garden was started in winter. Earthworks left the ground completely uncovered, and the garden was bare earth. The soil comprised large clumps, not dispersed, and accumulated moisture in varying ways in the bottom of each furrow. We spent a couple of months like this. Each clod of earth was a small landscape in itself. We broke up the clumps to create a more uniform surface and discovered that the soil was not very permeable. We added organic matter to change its texture and aerate it, and change the degree of infiltration and accumulation of water. We raked it, drawing lines, as the soil itself marked us. And so we spent the winter months.

For two or three months nothing germinated. When spring came, the first seedlings appeared. In a few days, our winter garden, the earth garden, disappeared beneath a layer of grass. Lots of plants appeared, but few varieties. Fast-growing, broad-leaved species. We decided to plant.

We broadcast grass and legume seeds. And we observed. As the days went by, some began to dominate. And we waited. One day we reached the point where the whole garden was invaded by just two species. So we weeded—that is, we selectively eliminated the broad-leaved invasive plants. Beneath the dominant grasses, other seedlings had germinated. A few days later, many more sprouted. New, slower plants appeared, including the ones we had sown. Much more variety! The end of spring saw the appearance of a bubble in the form of a circle of white flowers—totally, strictly circular. This was the first appearance of the unpredictable. We mowed the edges. The circle made its presence felt even more. The garden was a white patch for a while, until it blurred with the emergence of new grasses. A new blend remained stable throughout the summer. The legumes flourished, the grasses were gathered. It remained green until the heat of summer arrived. In September, there was a sudden change in colour. The meadow turned two-coloured, the yellow grasses contrasting with the reddish docks and sorrels. This new garden lasted until mid-autumn. We mowed again, this time leaving a sample of what the garden had been up to then.

Autumn passed, and the garden turned brown. Practically all the annual plants dried up. As they dried, the perennials became visible. A new garden appeared: a scattering of evergreens on a brown background. We cut out this brown background; it became a geometric background for the evergreens, and so on until today.


Project author: Arquitectura Agronomia
Photographs: Nicola Browne, Arquitectura Agronomia

11.Sep.2020 2645 views
Teresa Galí Teresa Galí-Izard

Teresa Galí-Izard is Professor of Landscape Architecture and Program director of the new Master of Sciences in Landscape Architecture at ETH Zurich. Previously, she was Associate Professor at Harvard GSD and Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at University of Virginia. She is principal of ARQUITECTURA AGRONOMIA, a landscape architecture firm that explores new languages and forms while working with living materials and using a contemporary approach involving dynamics and management. In the last twenty years she has been involved in important projects including Primeros Pasos Park in Caracas, the new urbanization of Passeig de Sant Joan in Barcelona, Felipe VI Park in Logroño, Giner de los Ríos Garden in Madrid and the Sant Joan Landfill restoration. Galí-Izard is the author of The Same Landscapes. Ideas and interpretations (Gustavo Gili, 2005). She trained as an Agronomist at Polytechnic University of Catalonia.

Would you like to support the production of original, independent architectural content?

We are very grateful for your support!