Caja Badajoz

Badajoz, Spain



A local bank creates a roof garden based on the surrounding landscape

Fig.1 Forest, agriculture, and livestock farming come together in the dehesa landscape. (Image:
Fig.2 The garden across the roof of a new bank building. (Image:
Fig.3 The design creates a starting situation that will change over time, just like the rural landscape on which it is based. (Image:
Fig.4 The garden serves as an ecosystem with a variety of spaces and atmospheres. (Image:

In the west of Spain, on the border with Portugal, lies the province of Badajoz. The region is characterized by the dehesa landscape, where forest, agriculture and livestock farming are combined in a dry and hot climate. ( i ) It yields a landscape image of vast grasslands with herbaceous planting and mainly oaks.

In the capital of the province, the local bank Caja Badajoz built their new head office. The landscape architects of Cjcpaisaje made a design for the outdoor space and based this on the dehesa. The office investigated this ecosystem with the aim of simulating the workings of the system without making a literal copy. The locals in particular had to feel free to use this space as they do the landscape. “If people use this park as they do the natural landscape, for example to meet up with friends on a hill, sing and talk until late in the evening, then this space is apparently not seen as a urban garden but as the surrounding dehesa landscape”. ( ii )

The new bank building consists of a horizontal plinth with a sloping roof garden on top. It has a tower of sixteen floors high. The roof garden is open to the public at all times of the day. Subtle variations in height, shade and soil form a multitude of microclimates that will determine which plants will thrive where. Planting that shows ups naturally is tolerated. The design creates a starting situation, how exactly this space will develop and how it will be used is just as unpredictable as the rural landscape on which the design is based.

The design and the materialization show that this is a design. What appears to be a strongly designed botanical garden is, in fact, an ecosystem with a variety of spaces and atmospheres - for both plants and visitors and bank employees. The garden is not a literal copy of the dehesa, but a reference to the complexity and surprise of the dehesa. The formation process has been copied, not the image, with the intention of offering the population the freedom of the dehesa.

( i ), consulted March 8, 2019.
( ii ) mail conversation Christina Jorge van Cjcpaisaje, October 2016.