TOPIARIS Lda was selected from a final shortlist of six projects, which showcased the high calibre of entries into this year’s award. This year’s esteemed judging panel were: Andrew Taylor, Director at Patel Taylor, Rob Aspland, Board Director at LDA Design, Nigel Koch, Associate and Leader of London's Landscape Team at Populous and Tom Armour, Director and Leader of Global Landscape Architecture at Arup. After much debate the panel made the unanimous decision to name TAGUS LINEAR PARK as their winner.
The Tagus Linear Park is an area of 150 000 sq m that was conquered by the surrounding communities of the industrial private sector and was felt as a democratic intervention by those forever deprived of access to the River.
The objective was to rethink urban public space located in a complex, unexpected, almost improbable universe of urban, industrial, agricultural and natural landscape. Aiming to keep the ‘essence of the space’ the team designed a unique greenway, grounded in the landscape’s natural and cultural features, with a multitude of recreational and leisure options, safeguarding the existing natural systems and promoting the ecological regeneration of damaged areas.
Although the standard of projects within the Landscape Award was very high, the entire judging panel agreed that TOPIARIS Lda’s project was a stand-out winner. Nigel highlighted the longevity of the project: “You can see the evolution that’s going to take place, alongside keeping the structure of the industrial element.” Andrew was also immediately drawn to the project, commenting: “A superb project. It has real soul to it, a place I would love to visit.”
The scheme has allowed people of adjacent urban communities, for the first time, to be given recreation and leisure opportunity in direct contact with the riverside, which was until recently blocked by large industrial lots. People of all ages, from different walks of life and cultural backgrounds are now invited to come and enjoy a diverse palette of equipment and activities: from sports, fishing, walking and cycling to environmental education, or simply to get an eyeful of the landscape. This was an aspect that impressed Rob: “I think it’s superb, you could imagine that this transformation is a real benefit to the community.”
The Park combines two different typologies of spaces: A single multifunctional area named ‘PRAIA DOS PESCADORES’ (FISHERMEN’S BEACH), set by the riverside within a former sand deposit, and 6 km of PEDESTRIAN TRAILS associated with dirt roads, waterlines banks (streams and drainage ditches), which converge to Praia dos Pescadores, coming from urban and natural areas. The connection between the ‘beach’ and natural areas is made through a 700m long raised wooden path by which a Bird Observatory built from old pallets can be reached. Tom highlighted the fantastic sustainability aspects of the project: “A key positive for me, is how they have made a lot of the resources, recycling and using simple materials to put the whole thing together. I think as the years go by, it will do even more”
We’d like to take the opportunity to thank not only the jury, but all who entered their projects into this years’ WAN Landscape Award.