Cornes is a residential complex located near the center of Santiago de Compostela. It consists of three buildings and 125 dwellings, and benefits from its proximity to the important ecological corridor of the Sar River.

However, the plot presents challenges as it is adjacent to a busy nine-lane ring road and railway tracks with four platforms, separating it from the green corridor of the Sar River. Additionally, due to the lack of ground, the landscaping project had to be developed entirely on slabs.


In Cornes there is a close contact with nature, so the green has been taken to first floor housing, community areas (gastronomic and social club, gym, children’s club, bicycle storage, garages, storage areas, portals) and public areas.

All these places have outdoor vegetation, lush and wild. To achieve this, the green areas are configured at different levels of the building with courtyards, so that light can reach the lower levels. The trees planted in the courtyards overlook the upper level, which creates different perspectives of the canopy that, among other things, generate a sense of height and intimacy to ground floor dwellings.
The public area, which has the largest surface area, is made up of large green masses, longitudinal and transversal pedestrian routes, squares, and rooms with furniture. This distribution allows for adequate communication and neighborhood relations; the connection between buildings; and between the neighborhood and the city.


Cornes expands, at the same time, the green corridor of the Sar River, now wider, as birds and pollinators use this new space, which helps to connect the city with the surrounding nature. This project works as a vertebra for the ecological connection of the two green corridors that the city has, with its two rivers to the east and west,through the University Campus. In this space Cornes is a new oasis that facilitates the ecological connection.

The green areas are conceived in this project as service providers, directly related to the quality of life. The birdsong, the smells, the views of nature…improve the health of the neighbors and relax their minds. Vegetation mitigates noise and improves air quality, an important amenity due to the proximity of traffic routes. In addition, to reinforce these services and integration, the existing retaining wall facing the roads is covered with climbing plants. Moreover, the garden regulates temperature and humidity; the courtyard configuration favors air circulation; the diversity of species ensures better adaptation and resilience to climate change.


The predominant vegetation is of a wild nature, we want to connect this urban space with the surrounding nature. In many cases, these are plants and trees that would have appeared in the garden spontaneously, if we had given them time and compatible maintenance. By planting, we have accelerated the process of naturalization of the space.

Many of the species used were found in the green corridor of the Sar River, which we want to extend to the residential area, so we have invited them to the garden. They are unusual species in landscaping projects in urban environments in Galicia.

In the plant selection, special attention has been paid to diversity, not only of species, but also to the use of different ages within a species, and the creation of different strata and heights that occupy the ground with high densities emulating a mature plant formation, a balanced ecosystem. All this generates synergies between plants and favors a rapid plant development, but also relations between fauna and flora, and between people and nature. In addition, plants adapted to local conditions and of local production are sought.


The project emphasizes sustainability through the use of slabs for planting and a substrate mix made of local, low energy incorporated, and recycled materials. Recycled aggregates from construction waste and nearby organic waste compost were used, and stabilized sand pavements with hydraulic lime were chosen for natural areas, while concrete was used for larger spaces. The project also includes efficient installations such as automatic irrigation and maximum lighting efficiency, using drip irrigation, pressure regulation, internet connectivity, and high-efficiency luminaires.
Overall, the project demonstrates a commitment to sustainability and the efficient use of resources in the design and realization of a green space that brings nature closer to people and enhances their daily lives in an urbanized environment.

RESIDENTIAL HOUSING Collective housing, questioning the design of the semi-private open spaces for communities.

Architecture offices involved in the design: Carbajo y Barrios Arquitectos Asociados S.L.

Location: Santiago de Compostela, Galicia. Spain

Design year: 2019

Year Completed: 2021


LILA 2024 Sponsor