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Branching Out

Part 2 Project 2014
Tom Hayes
University of Portsmouth | UK
Branching Out seeks to explore the role of Botanic Gardens in society. The project’s location is an abandoned housing development in Estepona at the western end of the Costa del Sol, Andalucia, Spain. Similar sites litter the region, left from the 2007 economic crash.

Andalucia is the most bio-diverse place in Europe due to its location between Africa and Europe and its proximity to both the Mediterranean and Atlantic ocean. It’s climate, combining plentiful sunshine with warm wet winters provides ideal growing conditions, helping to make the area the ‘Garden of Europe’, producing over half the fruit and vegetables we eat in the UK.

Since the 1960s the Costa del Sol has become a popular tourist destination, due to its climate and beaches. My project, Branching Out, sits within a masterplan that is designed is to integrate the existing economies of agriculture and tourism together.

The masterplan was developed within our studio as a prototype that would set to redress the balance of economy with the seasonal fluctuations of tourism. Developing a linear strip that provides a physical connection between the mountains (agriculture) and coast (tourism). It is hoped that the prototype can instigate the reuse of the numerous other abandoned sites in the region.

Branching Out is a laboratory for plant botany supporting existing and proposed agriculture as well as the native ecology of Andalucia.

The building seeks to reuse the existing structures for plant propagation and germination. One is glazed with large voids punched through the slab to allow maximum light penetration, and the other clad in wire mesh planted with climbing specimens, creating a dark room for seed germination.

A new building, located on waste land to the north of the existing structures sets to bring the three core functions (science, education and pleasure) of botanic gardens together. Providing a building that not only will support the local economy and educate the local and visiting population, but provide a place of pleasure and relaxation.

Tom Hayes

Ms Kate Baker
Paula Craft-Pegg
Nicholas Timms
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