Garden of the senses, campus of Jaume I. University, Castellón
“Here the margins of the fields
are not bare; the sight, the smell and the taste experience delicious sensations; the pomegranate, pear, quince and other trees serve as pillars, where the vines take hold to form walls of branches and grapes… it looks like a collection of delicious gardens.”
– Cavanilles. Observations.
The project seeks to shape the central boulevard of the Campus, inserted in an axial structure, in a pleasant, diverse, lively and educational space, a place for the enjoyment of the senses; within a particular interpretation of the existing geometry and the Mediterra- nean botanical species typical of the area. It is conceived as a linear park or a succession of gardens, where there are places for walking, leisure and recreation, without losing –as it should be with any element of the University– its role of approaching knowledge.
Its directional and ascending layout is structured in six bodies articulated by differentiated and alternative platforms that are intended to provide a certain complexity; a planimetric and volume system, proposing differentiated spaces, promenades and alternative platforms, places to be in groups or isolated. The idea is not unrelated to the search for a final perspective where large-scale plant masses converge and have a special role, generating a crescendo from beginning to end.
Learning through the senses leads us through the project decisions and gives the project its name. It defines a changing path in each of the sections where the species used follow a logical law recognized in the botanical world and that is no stranger to sensual enjoyment.
Each of the senses is represented in a series of gardens connected by form and botany, where the vegetable and mineral matter will have special significance; thus, trees, shrubs, fruits, leaves, bark, but also water, stones in their various natures and presentation, are the material at our disposal. The gardens take different forms and different botanical collections get chosen, in order to hear, see, touch, smell or taste. Sound elements, different textures and a wide range of flavors and aromas follow one after the other to finish, in the section in front of the agora, with the tallest plants of contrasting and striking colors.
Targeting each of the senses in each part of the boulevard has been achieved by paying special attention to the choice of species, following the principle that different habitats of the landscape of the province of Castellón are represented, but without losing the necessary unity and coherence required by the place in the campus as a whole. Thus, sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch, will be represented in independent outlines but botanically and formally connected with the contiguous sections.
This is the area of the most common aromatic and medicinal plants in the territory; collections representative of the flora of the nearby mountains. The planting pattern is based on a grid where they are properly cataloged, alternating with small ornamental orange trees that give consistency to the whole and provide the scent of orange blossom. In parallel and separated by the main walkway, a rose garden is designed and gives us, in addition to its scent, a chromatic variety that will compen- sate for the modesty of the aromatic flowers.
Pines, populus, bambusas, bird nests and water in its various configurations: ditches, ponds with batrachians, etc., incite the sound.
As a tribute to the sight, a splendid plant world of conifers in their different varieties and colors is offered, along with trees with leaves or intense flowering.