RABAT / Dar Essalam domain
The historical royal orchards of Dar Essalam have been transformed into a garden park for the public, as the centerpiece of a new urban neighbourhood.
The design principles of the garden preserve the existing landscape structure: conservation of the orthogonal grid of the original orchard windbreakers, tree alignments and, where possible, existing fruit trees (mandarin and avocado trees). The grid of lilac hedges and cypress trees extends from the gardens into the urban tissue; it becomes the frame for the infrastructure and the residential spaces. New natural zones and new public uses extend the themes and the atmospheres of the garden, augmenting its biodiversity. Above all, the new garden park sustains and valorizes traditional agricultural heritage, by maintaining centrally in the park about 4 hectares of productive orchards.
A forest composed of tall trees along the dike-road becomes the high layer of the landscape, a canopy that is visible from afar and that creates a new horizon and depth in the park. A diversity of plant species are combined to create rich and unique atmospheres. An intensively planted edge surrounds the park and creates the appropriate distance and separation from facades of the surrounding buildings. This edge, densely planted with trees and shrubs –the intermediate landscape layer – becomes a fresh and shaded natural zone, hosting running tracks and other sport activities as well as a planted swale to capture any rainwater runoff.
A wooden deck, punctuated by certain remarkable trees (Erythrina caffra, Chorisia speciose) is an elevated promenade crossing the orchards, allowing the visitor to appreciate the traditional agricultural knowledge, and an exceptional panorama on the rest of the domain. A colored ribbon is edging the promenades and pedestrian pathways throughout the garden, guiding circulation around the protected historical heart.
The garden park draws on many atmospheres and landscapes from the past, artfully combined and enhanced with the new form the green centre of the future domain.