Jardin de Mathieu, Cotonou, Benin
By : Atelier LOOSvanVLIET, Rodo'r, SMA SARL,MCDDV
GRANDS PRIX DU DESIGN – 16th edition
Discipline : Landscape & Territories
Categories : Landscape Architecture / Landscape Architecture - Public Space : Silver Certification
Les Jardins de Mathieu, Cotonou, Benin
The park ‘Les Jardins de Mathieu’ in Cotonou, Benin, is a quiet, one-hectare, publicly accessible urban park. The park is one of the first public parks in Cotonou.
A transparent, decorative fence, with entrances on each side, surrounds the park. At the west and east side there are parking places. The park itself consists of three parts: a formal square in the middle – with partly paved and partly green flowerbeds in a formal design- and two parts with flowers, shrubs and trees which form a true oasis. The paved square has a memorial in the shape of an obelisk, the ‘Monument aux Dévoués’. The monument is a tribute to the dead who fought for the integrity and prosperity of the nation.
Towards the edges, the park transforms into a green oasis with flowing walkways and lush planting. Beautiful Benin textile patterns have inspired the design. Existing trees are integrated in the new plan as much as possible. They are supplemented with new native species, such as Spathodea, Delonix and Erythrea. The undergrowth mostly consists of green plants with red accents at the sunny spots. All plants were locally grown. The trees provide shadow, which makes the green park areas pleasant place to stay for the people of Cotonou, where temperature is always around 32 degrees. The density of the planting is high. This creates a true oasis within a few years.
Concrete benches have been placed along the garden’s winding paths. They descend to ground level. The furnishings are of timeless shape and monochrome color. The lighting is solar powered and thus sustainable. The trees in the formal part of the garden are lit from ground level.
The formal square is paved with a geometric pattern using two shades of a natural stone. Two trench gutters line the square: subtle ridges that are beautifully integrated into the decorative pattern. The paths within the green spaces are paved with natural stone. The paving is slightly elevated. Most drainage takes place through the flower beds.