Parks and gardens

Cadaqués (Girona)

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Project for the restoration of the ‘Tudela-Culip site’ (Club Med) in the Natural Park of Cap de Creus

(EMF Arquitectura del paisatge) Martí Franch, arquitecto del paisaje y (J/T Ardévols) Ton Ardèvol, arquitecto

FAD Awards finalist 2012  City and landscape
Description Technical file

Situated a short distance away from the French border on the Mediterranean Sea, the Cap de Creus (Cape Creus) is for many reasons a unique spot in the Catalan coastal landscape. This is the easternmost tip of the Iberian peninsula, a continuation of the geological fold of the Pyrenees and the place where they submerge entirely. However, here the landscape is very different owing to, among other reasons, the ever-present north wind that the locals call the Tramuntana. The farming flatlands are patterned by hedgerows that single out the farmland of this place.
Endless examples could be given of how the wind constitutes an element that has generated the landscapes of the Ampurdán, but it is undoubtedly in the north coastline of the Cap de Creus where the Tramuntana attains its most spectacular transforming power: here it becomes a surprising sculptor.
These peculiarities explain why in the early 21st century the state administration decided to make the effort to acquire the only settlement on the northern half of the cape with the intention of dismantling it. This was a tourist enclave of around 90 ha that had been built in the early 1960s. It is true that even then the construction had attempted to remain respectful to the surroundings: the more than 400 rooms of the Resort adapted to the varied topography of the so-called Pla de Tudela plain, seeking a good orientation but respecting the unique features of the rocks and using local materials insofar as possible. The service buildings and car park were contained in their dimensions, though it is also true that in practice their location managed to close off access to what was surely the most spectacular section of the coastline. Here, visitors could isolate themselves from the host country and enjoy in suitable comfort the splendours of the place above and below water.
Initially the strategy drawn up by the public competition was simply that of purchasing the property, removing the constructions and invading flora in order to re-establish, with the coordination of a group of more than 50 experts, the natural dynamic of this place. This was a task to be undertaken with a maximum of diligence, working to remove the exotic species planted by the Club Med gardeners and deconstruct virtually all of the installations, leaving 95% of the waste generated for reuse in order to prevent emissions and an unnecessary generation of waste. A technical job that advanced stone by stone, removing street by street and that was exemplary and even surprising, as it turned back in time the image of so many points of the Catalan coastline. The built landscape was followed by an empty place in which we have look closely to detect traces of human action: an exemplary job, but if it was only limited to this clean-up task, it would not make sense for us to deal with it here.
It only makes sense to speak of landscape architecture if we consider the operation that culminates the job, incorporating the diligent emptying and restoration operation by giving it a new dimension. Though not covered by the conditions of the commission, the EMF team understood the absolute necessity of building a new perception of the place as a basis for creating a new relationship with the people who will visit this place in future. This was not a minor issue, as it was calculated that they would be as many as a quarter of a million per year.

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Emplazamiento: Paratge de Tudela-Culip, Cap de Creus, Cadaqués,Catalunya Autores: Arquitectos del paisaje: EMF Arquitectura del paisatge: Martí Franch. Arquitectos: J/T Ardévols. Ton Ardèvol Colaboradores: EMF: M. Batalla, M. Bianchi, A. Lopez, G. Batllori, L. Majer, C. Gomes M. Solé, L. Ochoa, J.L Campoy. Ardèvols: Raul Lopez, Cristina Carmona. Maria Guirado (Flora Exótica Invasora) Promotor: Ministerio de Medio Ambiente (MMAMRM), Departament de Medi Ambient de Catalunya, Parc Natural de Cap de Creus, Gestora de runes de la construcción Dirección del proyecto: Martí Franch (EMF), Ton Ardèvol (Ardèvols) Dirección de la obra: Martí Franch (EMF), Ton Ardèvol y Raul Alvarez (Ardèvols) Dirección obra deconstrucción: José Luis Tostado (MMAMRM) Empresas colaboradoras:TRAGSA (Deconstrucción, edificaciones i ZMT) CONTROL&DEMETER con MASSACHS SLU. y JARDINERIA SANT NARCÍS (Deconstrucción urbanización, Gestión Runa, Restauración, Extracción Flora Exótica invasora y Reurbanización), Serralleria Ferran Cullell (Miradores, y mobiliario) Fotografía: Martí Franch, Pau Ardèvol, Esteve Bosch