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Monday, October 08, 2007

Barcelona Botanical Institute

Barcelona Botanical Institute in Barcelona, Spain by Carlos Ferrater

Situated on 35 acres (14 hectares) of Montjuic Mountain -- adjacent to the Olympic Stadium -- is the Botanical Garden of Barcelona. designed by an interdisciplinary team comprising the architects Carlos Ferrater and Josep LluĂ­s Canosa, the landscape architect Bet Figueras, the horticulturalist Artur Bossy and the biologist Joan Pedrola, the garden is a geometric response to the sloping site and its views over the city to the sea.

An integral component of the garden is the Barcelona Botanical Institute designed by Carlos Ferrater. Where the architect's contribution to the garden used triangles to group plantings, create paths, and work with the contours of the mountain, the Institute sits in opposition, a linear bar at a corner of the garden. The architect calls it "a horizontal line that crosses the sloping natural terrain like a hinge between two topographical datums."

The siting of the building at the high point of the garden gives the users not only the most generous views of the city and beyond, but a full view of the vegetation at the building's feet, something aided by the long orientation and transparency of the plan. In addition to the generous glazing, the building is composed simply of concrete and wood, the former for the ground floor and structure and the latter for the projecting second floor which hangs from the concrete beams that give a rhythm to the extra-long elevation.

The way the architect purposefully set the Institute building in direct opposition to the garden design illustrates that the architect based the building design on what was appropriate for the program, rather than trying to match or extend something done previously, something with its own intent and purpose. This strategy is common but deserves clarification and praise, as it denies strategies like the branding of an architect's style, while searching for ideal solutions to various problems.

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