The site chosen for the Walt Disney Company office and headquarters in Argentina is located 40 kilometers northwest of the City of Buenos Aires. Bordered on the south by the Pan-American Highway and surrounded by residential developments and a very established green environment, the architectural and landscape project benefits from an open area unusually large for office uses and the bonus of several existing, very old trees.
The landscape designer took advantage of this situation to create a woodland garden and a series of winding paths that surround the building. She proposed a simple but straightforward layout with a park-like area wrapping three sides of the building and an intimate-looking orchard, with fruit trees and edibles for local production.
The positive impact of views on employee wellbeing was the main reason to create extensive areas of flower beds on the rooftops. On the top floor, six large concrete planters offer a selection of eleven species of herbaceous perennials and grasses. The selected plants have great tolerance to wind conditions, sun exposure and drought. However, this roof is the only area of the site where an irrigation system has been installed. In order to meet the primary (drip) irrigation water requirements, rain water is collected from rooftops and ground run-off for storage in underground tanks with a total capacity of 8,000 liters.
At the main entrance, a semi-roofed area extends for 77 meters and houses a set of parking lots. This linear roof features two species of native grasses with near-zero water requirements. Their silver crests become light-attractors and generate a magical effect at certain times of the day, depending on the position of the sun.
In the main park, where the key idea was the creation of a relaxing woodland garden, the landscape proposal also negotiates the existing elevation change between the building and street levels. With elevation variations of up to 1.40 meters, the site was modeled as a combination of soft green slopes and planes reaching out towards the edges of the site.
As a counterpoint to these natural-looking borders, the lawn behind appears as bare planes; together, these two components make up a simple configuration which frames and highlights the modern lines of the architecture.
The orchard area, leaning against one of the lot‘s enclosing walls and behind the general parking area, combines a 370 square meters-plot of citrus trees and a kitchen garden, both organized in a geometrical layout and planted in ten different wooden eight meters-long boxes. Clara Billoch, who is also a specialist in gardens of production, has trained a small group of fifteen employees who volunteered to take care of the orchard. This team is now in charge of the management and maintenance of the plot, ensuring the life and continuation of such a noble feature within the landscape.
In 2017, the project achieved Gold certification, the second-highest of LEED’s four levels.
Location: Pilar, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Landscape Designer: Clara Billoch Estudio de Paisajismo
Design Team: Sol Casanovas, Damasia Julianes.
Master Plan and architecture: Rodolfo Recondo Arquitectos
Lot Area: 2.20 hectares.
Park: 1 hectare. Rooftop: 1,100 sq meters. Orchard and kitchen garden: 550 sq meters.
Date of completion: 2017, ongoing process.
Photography: Clara Billoch, Tomas Rossi, Jimena Martignoni