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Jardín de Cactus

Lanzarote (Spain)

Jardín de Cactus is situated on the edge of the village of Guatiza while also looking beyond its limits to the many cultivated quarries and craters embodying the fertile equilibrium between nature and culture existing on the island. Surrounded by a patchwork of prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) plantations, the garden, which was inaugurated on 17th March 1990, is situated in a disused picón quarry formerly providing local farmers with volcanic ash to scatter on their fields that was later turned into a rubbish tip. Inside, a concentric system of terraces and settings nestles in the walls of the quarry, which other geographic and cultural environments, and with the American continent in particular. Taking on unexpected fantastical forms, the project continues the process of transformation of the folds and hollows of the surface of the island, using the age-old techniques: raising terraces, spreading volcanic ash on the soil, and inventing forms of windbreak. In the 20th century, César Manrique explored this seemingly sterile material and taught people to recognize its beauty, creating real projects revealing new ways of living and strategies to defend the island from overdevelopment caused by tourism. The contribution of this militant artist who fought against the exploitation of the island for tourism from the 1960s onwards by proposing an alternative model brings us face to face with a series of unresolved issues in the relationship between conservation and transformation in landscape.

Here Manrique´s aesthetic awareness emerges above all in the teamwork, collective transmission of knowledge, and the use and promotion of practices and manual skills motivated less by ideological or nostalgic yearnings for traditional landscapes than by the wish to leave a mark typical of this time, including a love of games and an amused gaze on the world. The cactus garden concentrates into its small space all the features of a history (that of Lanzarote´s landscape culture), extending an invitation to continue and renew its key aspects and characteristics. This reason, result in dedicate the 28th edition of the International Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens to the Jardín the Cactus on Lanzarote due to is a place embodying the values of a cultivated landscape and representing a significant moment in the history of an island that has , on numerous occasions, come back from reversals and situations of fragility, discovering the economic means and cultural instruments required to construct innovative forms of settlement, outstanding agronomic practices, and aesthetic concepts linked to far-sighted policies, and developing them starting with its own soil.

Jardín de Cactus de Lanzarote
Av. Garafía, 35544 Guatiza, Las Palmas


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