Walking through the Estufa gardens, among dense vegetation and huge palm trees there’s an unfulfilled expectation: getting lost. A precise layout organizes the plants in bordered flowerbeds and the circulation in pathways, in an appropriation of another lexicon. 

Indeed, we haven’t left the city. Avenue, intersection, street, block. An urbanistic vocabulary wovens the garden’s fabric in an uncanny contrast between its condition of built nature and the nature innate to its constituent parts. 

Natural Construído is an exercise in the exploration of this dichotomy, latent in this place. Located in an old mining site, the Estufa gardens now fill with roots and living organisms the voids left in the soil by the mining extraction. Nowadays the balance point between the human-made mass and the totality of living mass has long been surpassed. 

Inside this structure this unbalance is clear and we can sense the weight of what is built. Laid upon the pathway, this object disrupts the leafy scenery, inviting one to go inside and break away from the designed path. Pinewood pillars and fabric walls build a rigorous geometry that superimposes itself to the surrounding organicity. 

The rock seat (how did it get there?) offers a resting spot and invites a moment of contemplation. Seating, it is possible to find a new horizon, natural through the construction, making clear what the Estufa itself hints at: that nature can be built.   

The structure rises from a dodecahedron and is composed of 12 modules that are repeatedly assembled together with a 30º rotation, closing the prism and enveloping the space. This effect is deconstructed by the elevation of the walls away from the ground. This movement allows one to see through and beyond the object and also inside outwards the space, integrating and becoming a landscape.

Each wall is composed of a wooden frame made out of untreated pine wood which stretches a piece of fabric. The fabric is raw cotton, dyed with Curcuma. The uneven saturation of pigment on the several pieces results from the uniqueness of the manual process and the impossibility of the exact replication of circumstances at each dye: temperature, solar exposure, homogeneity, and density of the fabric mesh. 

A temporary specimen planted in these constructed gardens, Natural Construído interacted with the garden’s ecosystem as an organism, its wood slowly expanding with the high levels of humidity and the bright yellow color of the fabric gradually fading from the continuous sunlight exposure.

Team: Colectivo Warehouse

Client: Jardins Abertos

With: Monica Di Eugenio, Raquel Santos e Rúben Teodoro