A landscaped public plaza in the financial centre of Buenos Aires has become the ‘lid’ that caps an underground carpark, proving clever landscape design is a great response to utilitarian urban infrastructure.
Argentinian studio Adamo Faiden has designed a stepped public plaza to cover an underground carpark in Catalinas Norte, the financial centre of Buenos Aires. The urban landscape, named Plaza Catalinas, is made up of triangular segments of planting and sits at the foot of a glass tower in the business district.
Designed to defy the rigidity of its metropolitan surroundings, architects Sebastián Adamo and Marcelo Faiden introduced a haphazard layout, with variations in surface heights and finishes.
"The irregular geometry of the plot contrasts with the orthogonal footprint of the tower, which liberates the surrounding area with undefined identity," claims Adamo Faiden.
"The design process consisted of compressing and dilating this pattern, both horizontally and vertically," they continued. "In this way, vehicular accesses, fire escapes, lighting racks, all types of ventilation, pedestrian circuits and vegetation, could be integrated into the project."
The plaza's undulations and spatial organisation makes space for three levels of underground parking, which serves the densely built area. Additionally, Plaza Catalinas' layout forms an unconventional walkway, creating a new pedestrian route through the financial centre.
This walkway is finished in paving positioned at a variety of angles, which prevents the dictation of a specific direction walkers should follow, adding to its ambiguity and irregular aesthetic.
It was a requirement that at least half of Plaza Catalinas integrated vegetation, which Adamo Faiden used as another opportunity to challenge the uniformity of its surroundings.
The architects introduced a variety plants into each segment of the plaza, selecting breeds that can withstand the hot and rainy climate of Buenos Aires with little maintenance.