MAIO designs a pavilion wrapped in 1,306 plants in Timisoara

In the European Capital of Culture 2023, the Spanish firm designed in collaboration with Studio Peisaj an ephemeral structure inhabited by a nursery of trees and flowering plants.

On the occasion of Timisoara European Capital of Culture 2023, MAIO Architects has completed the urban project NURSERY: 1,306 Plants for Timisoara. It is an ephemeral steel structure developed vertically, housing a tree nursery and open spaces for public activities now occupying Victory Square – a landmark of the city set against the backdrop of the 1989 revolution.

Designed to be experienced more as a promenade than an actual square, the ornamental greenery divides the available area while structuring its circulation. The project thus serves as an urban activator and design experiment in public space, opening up new perspectives on the roles and temporalities of the city, and its engagement with various communities and institutions.

Once its one-year cycle is complete, the nursery pavilion will provide its 1,306 trees and plants to Timisoara, following a logic of 100 percent reuse.

MAIO, NURSERY. 1,306 Plants for Timisoara, Timisoara, Romania, 2023. Photo Laurian Ghinitoiu

It was important to the city that after the tower is dismantled, the plants will be placed in the city, sparking a debate about its urban future. Program-wise, the nursery pavilion functions primarily as an event center, an alternative outdoor cultural facility for small-scale activities such as gardening workshops, micro-exhibitions, and guided tours.

In addition, in a context where all roofs are private, a vertical installation offers a unique view of the city and provides information about Timisoara’s heritage, both built and botanical.

Landscape firm Studio Peisaj added botanical advice to the architectural proposal, ranging from local species to the cultural tradition of horticulture in the area. The nursery integrates different layers of greenery, from perennial species of trees, shrubs and flowering plants to annual species (productive and ornamental) – produced in Timisoara’s community gardens or at horticultural research and higher education institutions in the city.

In addition to biodiversity, the pavilion also highlights care with a pedagogical and social dimension. Gardens are also used among other things as educational spaces and meeting places.

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