Nearby the northern sea coast of S. Miguel Island, Azores, the uniqueness of the site is determined by the telluric volcanic landform abruptly suspended upon the Atlantic Ocean. The landform was smooth and gently sculptured in soft platforms by the hands of the communities that established here since the 15th century, first for agriculture, later for community recreation and contemplation. In the upper platform a little old Chapel of Our Lady of Rosário blesses all that enjoy and contemplates this beauty. A small square enables a controlled car access to the park. This sequence of 6 platforms allows views towards Southeast of the island coastal cliffs along the Atlantic Ocean and are breathtaking. This character, together with the protection of the prevailing winds and the distance from the village – not too long, not too close – make this a very much special and desirable place for the community and visitor’s recreation, festivities and contemplation.
The initial situation the attraction of the site for human use could be immediately understood by the presence of several equipment and structures like barbecues, gazebos, playground, random paths, and recent stone walls among others, but with little coherence didn’t translate the amazing genius loci of the site. The design challenge was to prepare the site to receive all the activities that the community desired, resolving pedestrian access, arranging the layout of paths, shading structures, playgrounds, viewing platforms, among others, fully integrating and adding value to the existing genius loci of this quintessential place.
The proposed design uses the existing platforms. Together with vegetation, an undulating stone wall gives the main structure to the site without overlaying its character. The recreational equipment was nested near the vegetation buffers, taking advantage of the amazing views towards the ocean, providing to people a relaxing place to stay and socialize. The center of each platform was kept as a free lawn, enabling temporary events to take place, respecting and borrowing the outstanding views. The little Chapple squared was renovated with native materials and vegetation – huge basalt slabs, and little blooming trees, create a pre-place that welcomes and embraces all visitors.