This gorgeous plaza near the wharf of Santa Cruz de Tenerife represents the connection between the nearby ocean and the various ecosystems of the Canary islands. Designed by Herzog + de Meuron, Plaza de España introduces a beautiful green space that builds upon the past of the site and the future of the city. Many years ago the plaza was the site of a “Castillo,” and the graphic motif in the basin of water represents the foundation of the old castle. Around the basin, many architectural landscape elements — including the two structures with green roofs — represent the Islands’ diverse ecosystems and topography.

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Spanning almost 9 1/2 acres of open public space, Plaza de España consists of a large shallow basin that serves as a wading pool and has a geyser-like fountain in the center. Surrounding the basin are various forms of landscape design elements – sparse islands of trees, four pavilions containing tourist information, retail space, a café, and access to below-ground parking. Each structure was designed to resemble natural forms from the Canary Islands, but not replicate them exactly.

Two of the pavilions feature sloping, lush green roofs bursting with vegetation. These structures seem almost volcanic in their texture and color and are complimented well by the bright vegetation. The Plaza is well-suited as a public gathering space and event venue. And when the basin is full of water, it is surely a favorite among neighboring children as a place to splash around in. Herzog + de Meuron, who are responsible for many impressive sustainably designed structures, finished Plaza de España in 2008.

+ Plaza de España

Via Space Invading

Photos courtesy of Iwan Baan