Atlantic Park, Santander (Spain)

European Garden Award 2016 – 2nd Prize


Architects: Batlle i Roig, Barcelona

The Atlantic Parks was created between 2006 and 2008 on a large open space on the outskirts of the city of Santander in the North of Spain. The architects “Batlle i Roig” from Barcelona had won the competition. Because of its location amidst a major growing urban centre that is vertical to El Sardinero Beach, its special river-bed topography and its long narrow shape (1100 x 300 m), the park is a highly peculiar urban element.

The main entrance provides access through a grove of trees that culminates in a lookout point and a green amphitheatre. Here the two levels of intensity can be seen: areas for large events and the more intimate level of going for a walk and enjoying the place for its own merits.

A large artificial lake occupies the whole central zone of the park. With an irregular perimeter evoking the outline of the Atlantic Ocean, the lake includes much the pre-existing reed-beds and added new marsh grasses and water-lilies. This provides a vegetal cover inhabited by a great variety of birds and amphibians.

Slopes structure the park into three topographical levels that organize the main layouts: one at the lowest level, alongside the reed-beds; the next halfway up the slope, with spaces to rest and play, and a third running parallel to the roads that delimit the park. At the bounds of the central plain are terraced banks with wooden garden plots displaying a wide variety of plant species from all latitudes of the Atlantic coast. Above the banks are fields, either open or planted with different kinds of trees, both indigenous or from other zones of the Atlantic.

The paths across the reed-beds comprise raised walkways with a low impact on the colony’s hydraulic and biological structure. The routes of these walkways trace out well-known voyages across the Atlantic: Christopher Columbus, the slave trading routes, commercial routes between Europe and the United States, etc.

Today the park is established as a green space for public use and as a key piece in the physical integration of different types of urban fabrics. The site has developed from being a barrier and dumping ground, to a civic axis, the backbone around which the structure of the future city is organised.

Link to the website of Batlle i Roig