Mount of San Pedro Park

Authors of the project: Pedro Calaza, Javier Padín y Juan José López de Heredia.

Year of the project 1: 1999.

Restoration and adaptation of the old coastal battery located atMount of San Pedro.

Year of the project 2: 2000.

Restoration and adaption of the no built-up area in Mount of San Pedro Park.

Year of the project 3: 2006.

Design and execution of the green space of the surroundings restaurant in Mount of San Pedro Park.

Execution years: 1999-2007.

Project execution company: Malvecin, S.L.

Total amount: 3.000.000 euro.

 This large public park, real green lung of the city, is fruit of a series of projects and transformations that began at the end of the last century, originated by an increasing concern for the restoration of an old military space with important historical and cultural significance. We emphasize among its values, the archaeology, the historical and didactic contain, the astonishing sea view and its potential like an impressive viewpoint towards the city.

 Over the years, this project has been gradually completed in different stages and nowadays thanks to the investments, the ideas and the effort of many people, this park has become a green icon of the city.
Genesis and work description.

Genesis and work description.

 We know that the sea spaces emerge from the relation of various configurator elements such as climate and microclimate, proximity of the sea, and its thermostat effect, flora of the coast, the water, the landscape,apart from a wide number of anthropic factors. They are spaces that have a series of peculiar characteristics which are fundamental in any action in the landscape:

  • - Socials; they are characterized by a great impact in the population and/or in the economy.
  • - Legislative; restrictions due to the Coastal Law and of the proper administrations.
  • - Physiographic characteristics.
  • - Landscape features.

 Taking this premise as a starting point, we try to find the best solution to minimize the impact on any of these special features, devoting particular emphasis on the natural landscape morphology to achieve integrate completely our action in the surrounding environment and besides, helping to avoid the anthropic pressure.

Historical outline.

 From a military point of view, Mount of San Pedro had a perfect strategic position because from here, an absolute defence of the entry of enemy ships to the Ria de Ferrol was possible.

Planos de la Cupula Undoubtedly, its old military origin as positioning of a coast battery was its most distinctive because of two reasons; on one hand, its restricted access for civil people during this military period created a great interest for discovering the scenario and on the other hand, the military installations and, above all the two huge cannons Vickers 38.1 cm, were converted into sculptures and integrated into the park design.

 When we raised the work to order the different use zones in the park, we bore in mind two characteristics with a marvellous potential, first of all, its special location over the open sea, close of the Bay together with the Torre de Hercules, world heritage, and secondly, it was endowed by its high altitude, 142m above sea level, with a privileged view.

Design philosophy and aesthetics principles.

 Once we developed an alternative strategies analysis, and taking the adaptation to the existing morphology as premise, we achieve a solution where the visual softness was the dominant feature, combining the respect for the natural forms and using the artillery pieces, converted into sculptural elements, like main focal points in the framework design.

 These huge sculptures will be magnified so that the perceptions that are tried to transmit, the composition moods using design words, were a series of feelings that spring from the contrast amongst the historical memories, the army spirit and the winding and gentle route of the paths and the bushy compositions.

 Many "moods" could be cited such as peacefulness, magnificence, meditation, bigness of scale, prestige, impact... All of them acquire a very important added value given by the society curiosity because of the discovery of those installations for a long time restricted owing to its military use.

 The approach of curiosity and mystery has been fundamental when it comes to opening the door to a public eager for discovering all the beautiful places along the park. This attitude emphasizes the play where the visitor will discover, little by little, the different zones while walk in the park (this design criterion was described by D´ezallierDargenville as early as the Baroque period).

 Other feelings that we want to transmit are those of peace, rest or auditory and visual perception that are offered by the vastness of the open sea contrasting with the feeling of being overawed by its violent surf in days of storm.

 Context in design is a concept, an image, a metaphor that includes a lot of needs, impressions, materials and aesthetic principles that collectively make up an understanding of the inspiration of the place, its character and its role in the user´s life. From our point of view, the relaxation, the view, the rest, the nature, the peace, a large scale, sociability, conviviality... are positive words that, perhaps, we associate with a green space, and that form the context of the park.

 Many places have more than a defined character, have a presence, a particular atmosphere and even seem to draw people. That genius loci appears reflected in the inspiration of the restoration of a sculptural museum of historical-military elements in order to attain such purpose, these elements must be completely blended with the landscape in such a way as appear making a full part of the environment , but which at the same time clarify that they are landscape dominant milestones, the own purpose of the park because the design context derive from them.

 All the basic principles of landscape architecture projects have been taken into account; the balance, the link, the scale, the proportion and the colour defined in relation with the respect to the military elements, above mentioned as main design points, avoiding all type of aesthetics chromatic aberrations and scale jumps too sudden; the species selection, which involves the election of texture, colour, bearing or plant growth habit, was carried out taking into account the edaphoclimatological determinants, and to avoid the creation of plant focal points with excessive entity that played down importance of the sculptural elements.

 The asymmetry, the contrast and the winding forms of all the elements have been chosento attempt to compensate the stiffness of the military elements and to integrate into the surrounding landscape to the maximum. The zenith of these forms is achieved with the ways and paths routes which cross the park and take us indirectly to all the military hides that were preserved, to all that hidden hides cited above.
Another essential element in the whole of the park is the vegetal maze, the only concession to the symmetry, as representative of a part of the history, and as another focal point of mystery and curiosity. The maze is one of the oldest symbol of the mankind and means strength.

 For millenniums, it has been engraved on the wood, stone or clay, also placed on the ground using stones or even drawn in manuscripts. During the last six centuries, it has been created with shrubs and trees in the gardens with the purpose of dominating and bending the nature.

Characteristics of the park:

Perimeter: 2000m.
Landscape arranged area: 91107m
Main and secondary paths: 4000m.
Parking spaces: 150 cars and 6 buses.
Singular elements:
Vegetable maze: 2000m2
Presence of an endemic species: Angelica pachycarpa.
Pound with waterfall made in matrix rock.
Interpretation centre of the coast battery.
Annual visits: 300.000-350.000 persons.