The garden is located on the southwest coast of Portugal, in Herdade da Comporta, Alentejo, which is an outstanding and diverse landscape mosaic with high ecological and cultural value. It is worth mentioning the dune system with psammophilous pioneer vegetation, as well as maritime and umbrella pine woods. This mosaic is complemented by agricultural areas in the lower alluvial soils with large ranges of rice fields. The plot area is 3000m2, and the morphology of the land is very smooth and low sloped.
The key concept is to regenerate the terrain – severely damaged by the construction works of the house, following a specific design – inspired on the natural patterns of the surrounding landscape.
The plantation of native species was carried out through clusters with small elevations, which are expected to gradually expand to lower adjacent areas fostering an evolutionary dynamics. This ecological evolution has a positive impact in terms of landscape aesthetics, translated into changeable and transitory scenarios, which at some point will merge with the surrounding woodland.
The Client asked for mainly three things – visual privacy, a small tank of water and cool shades for the summer – all present into the design proposed. The house is rather unpretentious in its architecture, guiding the orthogonal lines of the paths, which assure the liaisons, safeguarding the soil and clusters.
Under the main porch there’s a small scented garden, with aromatic species structured by a wooden grid. From here, a path leads towards the chill-out. In the northwest and southwest limits wooded beams panels were built to create privacy in the initial period – while vegetation is still growing, having an important role on this garden’s identity.
The garden maintenance was intended – and by now confirmed – to be low, including few cuts spaced in time to ensure its natural regeneration. The strategy pointed that the drip irrigation system will be gradually shut down, becoming only available for regeneration purposes.
The project was only the beginning of a story that continues through time, in its own dynamics, giving us the opportunity to follow it, taking conclusions on the ecological and sustainable principals underlying our strategy.
Location: Herdade da Comporta, Alcácer do Sal, Portugal
Plot Area: 3000m2
Architects: Gonçalo Salazar de Sousa, Architects – www.gssarquitectos.com
Landscape Architects: Topiaris, Landscape architecture
Photos: João Morgado – Architecture Photography