This project, by Spanish architects Longo + Roldán, turned out to be a great solution for an unused space that was unexpectedly getting a lot of attention in the interior of a quarry.
Instead of building new buildings or remodeling existing cabins they designed an intricate metal lattice structure that forms a web of planters of different depths, containing various species of plants. This solution not only revitalizes the space but also protects existing buildings from the sun, improving their thermal conditions.
From the architects: The construction is located in the industrial complex of Caleras de San Cucao, in Llanera, an industrial area dominated by the presence of buildings connected to the project.
After constructing a staircase that connects the two levels of the quarry, a previously unused area, visible from both levels, housing several small structures forms part of the new walkway. This was the reason why it was necessary to create something that is visually attractive to visitors.
Instead of setting up a new building to house the tasks currently associated with booths, it was decided to opt for a more economical and sustainable solution. Keeping each of them without altering their shape or appearance but hiding their presence beneath a raised garden, covering them visually and at the same time protecting them from the sun, would improve their thermal conditions.
A complex structure of metal strips forms a weaved pattern where planters of different depths are distributed randomly, creating a composition when viewed from both in front and above. When it rains, the planters, which are like a kind of flowerpot made of geotextiles and perforated bottoms, filter the water.
The choice of the different plant species, in collaboration with the gardener responsible for the maintenance of the industrial complex, was firstly made keeping in mind the ability to adapt to a hostile environment, with strong thermal fluctuations, frequent fog and solid particles in suspension. Secondly, it was chosen to take advantage of different flowering periods and shades of the leaves to generate some colorful contrasts.
We couldn’t use plants on the pillars to support the new staircase due to the lack of sun, so we’ve made a dry garden comprised of a sample of the minerals used in one of the companies located in the enclosure.
Architects: Longo + Roldán Architects (Víctor Longo Valdés + Ester Roldán Calvo)
Location: San Cucao, Llanera, Asturias, Spain
Project Date: 2012
Construction Date: 2013
Client: Caleras de San Cucao, S.L.
Construction company: Estructuras Metálicas El Rubio, S.A.
Photographs: Marcos Morilla