Restoring the landscape of a valley in Almeria, Spain

Landscape and architecture firm Kauh recently completed the design of an urban park on a site with a long history.

La Hoya is a gorge located on the edge of the historic district of Alméria — a Spanish city located in the autonomous community of Andalusia —between the hills of the Alcazaba and San Cristóbal. This natural valley was occupied during the early Middle Ages by a neighborhood that was later abandoned, gradually transforming into an agricultural space that over the centuries evolved to its decline, becoming an empty and forgotten land. 

Landscape studio KAUH has developed a delicate landscape restoration project for the area, where environmental regeneration and spatial reinterpretation intertwine to define this proposal, which aims to rediscover a place that is already strongly characterized by the natural and anthropogenic boundaries that surround it. In fact, the park is bounded by the Alcazaba Hill to the southwest, the San Cristobal Hill to the northeast, the Jayrān Wall to the northwest, and the Calle Luna Dam to the southeast.

The unevenness of the natural depression is solved through a sequence of pre-existing terraces, restoring their dry stone walls with additional stones from, like all natural materials used in this project, the waste piles of nearby quarries. Stairs and ramps were implemented on these walls to define paths and provide access to the different levels. The paths are accompanied by a restored network of water channels that once provided irrigation to the various crops grown on the terraces, while the two pools that served as reservoirs for this system have been put back into use.

KAUH ARQUITECTURA Y PAISAJISMO, La Hoya Park, Alméria, Spain, 2024. Photo Fernando Alda

Mediterranean wildflower meadows were planted in the beds at the foot of the trees to protect the soil and contribute to animal biodiversity by attracting insects and serving as a refuge for chameleons. The terrace corresponding to the level where the former farm stood has become a vegetable and flower garden, while the one that intersects with the viewpoint above the dam is designed as an organic promenade reminiscent of the time when wild vegetation prevails blurring the linear order of cultivated terraces.

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