Xerophytic plants nursery and associated uses
Desert City is a complex devoted to xerophytic plants defending “dry” or “waterless” landscaping as a necessary step to take in a semi-desert climate like the one in Southern Europe.
Situated in an artificial/natural transition location between the A-1 highway and the Cuenca Alta del Manzanares Regional Park, Desert City isolates and connects both realities at the same time, and may be understood as the establishment of an oasis in this transitory situation. The project opens outdoors in a large garden-nursery, which is covered in the greenhouse, protected by a “tensegrity” roof lined by an air mattress with a double layer of “Etfe”.
Organizational invariants are used (courtyard, cloister, bridge, isotropic space...) and the formal grammar arises from the systematization of an industrialized structure and construction. The introduction of these resources is produced according to environmental criteria, so that the complex works by coordinating devices such as double facades, Trombe walls, courtyards, cross ventilation, evaporative cooling, geothermal energy, solar panels, etc., which are evident in use, but not in form.
The plot – originally a wasteland with rubble fillings, has been returned to nature in a regenerative process. The project presents a possible waterless landscape model for a semi-desert climate like that of much of Spain. In the transformation from open ground to garden, not only does a new green public space is achieved (free access), where previously there was only asphalt, but also aspirations of “resistance” against the unstoppable urbanisation of the West. Aspirations that bet on, through the paradoxical “artificialisation of nature”, bringing life to wasteland places, giving them a second chance: frameworks that pretend to be possible models of how we can live together.