The winning team worked with landscape architect António Facco Viana Barreto in the competition.
This landscape architect told us that “he was invited by Ruy Athouguia to participate in the preliminary project of Gulbenkian, in particular concerning the preliminary definition of the plants to be maintained and, above all, regarding the treatment to be given to the green roof of the underground parking area, which was anticipated to be a surface of about 7,000 m2. At that time, it was not very common to build underground parking lots, particularly over such a vast area. However, the experience that I already had in this type of roofing facilitated our participation in the project” [i] (…).
Viana Barreto considers that his collaboration is due to the fact that in 1959, together with Álvaro Dentinho and Albano Castelo Branco, he developed a Root Fixation System for the terraces of the Hotel Ritz designed by the architect Pardal Monteiro. This knowledge and experience proved to be of the utmost importance for the underground parking roof of the Calouste de Gulbenkian Foundation. The winning team proposed that this roof be not just a break in the park, but part of it – a continuity. The challenge was now bigger for António Barreto because new variables emerged, namely the size and slope of the roof. To the problem of root fixation were added problems of drainage and accumulation of water, creating adverse conditions for the green roof.
António Facco Viana Barreto was called to respond to a specific problem that was at the same time a fundamental theme of the proposal presented. This fact announces the role that landscape architects would play in this whole process. In fact, they would develop the design of the park, but would also demonstrate their competence and innovation in solving specific technical issues.
[i] António Facco VIANA BARRETO, “ Os jardins da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian” in A Utopia e os Pés na Terra, pp.213-215, Ministério da Cultura, Lisboa, 2003. p. 214
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