LILA 2016 Office of the Year Winner

EMF – Estudi Marti Franch

Office Profile All / Spain /

Marti Franch is in his projects not only successfully solving spatial, environmental and physical problems concerning the sites he works on but with very respectful interventions manages to nurture landscape architecture also as a cultural discipline. His landscapes offer educational and experiential richness, often in fragile environments.

EMF designed landscapes are a result of a curious design approach that emphasises the curiosity also in the visitor by leaving landscape features and stories hidden enough to be discovered rather than just put on display. The narrative in Cap de Creus projects awaits the user in suggestion and not in the direct message. This way the user interacts with the meaning, making the experience far more intense and memorable.

La Tancada Salt Fields and Cap de Creus, are blending ecology, natural and cultural memory into harmonious and at the same time very powerful experience. The grounds of Can Framis museum illustrate EMF’s ability to intervene in dense urban fabric. A green, almost forest like ambience in the middle of Barcelona, again with a direct connection to the site’s past and ecological measures for cooling down the site with dense planting.

With Les Echasses project Marti Franch is effectively using natural processes to create a lake for a nature like resort. Instead of just creating a lake the landscape is proposed that first creates natural conditions for a lake to take place as a consequence.

EMF is practicing excellent scientific and technical work, but most importantly also proves well manifested paradigm that visiting landscapes must mean a culturally fulfilling experience. In the times when ecosystems are constantly being challenged by the consequences of human activity preservation and restoration of nature are vital for the wellbeing of all species. Marti Franch is aware that promoting subtle change in order to emphasise overwhelming natural forces and features left ‘as they are’ in nature plays a very important role in establishing a bond between the user and the landscape – people and environment.

- from the award statements

winner of LILA 2016

office category, jury award


LILA award ceremony, January 20th, 2017, Ljubljana, Slovenia


At the turn of a century in which the perception, the habits and the ideals with respect to the territory, the city and public space evolve constantly, EMF landscape architecture, work with knowledge of the opportunities and limitations that it presupposes in working with living material, in this dynamic environment and ever more diverse public. EMF work world wide on projects and studies of Public Spaces, urban planning and the organization of territories in public and private areas.

EMF is a team of landscape architects, architects and agricultural technical engineers and collaborates with other institutions and professionals participating in all aspects of the projects, such as the planning and writing and technical assessments, to guarantee the quality of all projects carried out.

Working on projects of various scales and themes: public spaces within the city: parks, promenades, squares, spaces surrounding public and communal buildings, houses and gardens. In projects for preparing natural spaces for public use: projects of leisure areas, the Study of Integration and Impact on the Landscape (EIIL), vantage points or view points, a manual of urban furniture and signs and the Plans of areas of Public use. On the large scale EMF work with the infrastructures concerning the landscape, in the syntheses of visions for the structure of public areas in the city, in the study and creation of leisure zones and the writing of urban planning projects.

The EMF Team consists of professionals in all fields of Landscape Architecture, Architecture and Agricultural Technical Engineering and collaborates with other institutions and professionals to guarantee quality in all projects carried out. EMF participates in all aspects of the projects; the planning and writing as well technical advice from and for others in both public and private sectors.

Franch’s research focuses on the infrastructural potential of landscape by exploring the instrumental niches for ‘Time-grounded Design’. The research explores how the time dimension can be operationally introduced in the design process in order to choreograph journeys, harness ecological processes, design undoing, pre-empt versatile appropriation or design pro-forma skeletons.

The ultimate goal of this practice as research is to prefigure responsible landscapes which have the capacity to change and adapt at several spatial and temporal scales.

‘Girona-shores’ is a self-initiated research project, that has developed to become an ongoing public commission, serving as a real-life laboratory where procedures, representations and methods are evaluated and adjusted. In this EMF’s disciplinary boundaries are being expanded by exploring new roles beyond design: that of promoter, curator, the local or the double agent.


Can Framis garden is designed to contrast with the frenetic pace and the “techno-exhibitionism” of the 22@ neighbourhood. The garden is a defined and contained space, a timeless corner, an urban woodland, calm and serene. The garden is simple and ‘wild’ with a dense, irregularlyshaped woodland area upon a subtle sea of ground ivy. The dome of branches creates a unique atmosphere of light, coolness and shade which serves to fragment the view of the buildings. A choreographed display of bulbs bloom and ‘light up’ the various wooded areas at different times of the year.


‘El Bulli 1846’ Museum and research centre by Ferran Adrià, the world’s most influential contemporary chef, is a new concept of knowledge centre. Settled in the Cap de Creus coastal Natural Park, the landscape challenge is to put together the world’s most advanced exhibition concepts in an austere coastal rocky landscape. With buildings partially buried beneath the folds of new terraces, we were creative in finding the means to integrate a program of more than 4.000 m2.

The landscape approach is to play with & celebrate the site’s materiality in order to find an appropriate language. Sober and quiet enough to melt into the landscape, and yet playful and contemporary enough to cope with the ever-changing contents of the museum. In Ferran Adria’s creative methodology, each of the proposed elements has to be chosen among various alternatives, pre-elaborated with model, and finally tested with 1:1 mock-ups.


Site & precedents
‘La Tancada’ project sit at the southern tip of River Ebro Delta, Iberian’s Peninsula most important river. The Delta is a crucial step in the Western Europe bird migration route.
Over the last century the site has suffered numerous transformations. Originally was a salty intertidal lagoon. In the beginning of s.XX was transformed into a productive salt fields, and in the 80’s turned into a fish far. The business collapsed and site became property of Catalunya Caixa Bank.

In 2009 Catalunya Caixa Bank nature foundation + Spanish Minister of Environment + Delte de l’Ebre Natural Park + IRTA (Institute of Agricultural research) succeeded in getting a EU’s co-founded LIFE program to restore this site and other nearby natural areas.

Mission & data
This is a 2 in 1 project commissioned by Caixa Bank nature foundation:
– A LIFE Delta lagoon restoration project. 23 ha • 547.000 € • 2,38 €/m2
– And the creation of an Interpretation Centre on Delta Salty landscapes (culture + nature) 3 ha • 376.600 € • 12,5 €/m2, called Mon Natura Delta de l’Ebre

Project statement
Through necessarily unexpensive actions, the design skilfully construes a hybrid of nature and culture that celebrate the site’s peculiarities, both in terms of a manmade performative ecosystems for endangered species and an awarded landscape construct for tourism.
It proposes ways to choreograph on-site visitors into a narrative that invites them to explore what’s consubstantial to this peculiar landscape: intertidal lagoons, salt fields and crystallisations, flamingos, terns,…

‘les echasses’ golf & surf nature resort

‘Les Echasses’ Golf & Surf Nature Resort, in the French Landes attempts to embed luxury into the landscape.
From a former flat corn field next to an irrigation basin, the concept aims to create a new lake where each of the pavilions could find an intimate relation to water. A sandy soil and a negligible groundwater depth, 1m below the surface, made it affordable to create a brand new liquid landscape. We achieve this by re-profiling 23,000 m3 of sand, creating an undulating dune topography that builds up a dynamic landscape and opens up to the natural conditions for a lake.

This is a low-cost project, that acts on the potential on-site landscape opportunities and allies with natural processes for its construction. It is also a project of hybritization between sustainable tourism and nature restoration. Plantings consist of native species to diversify the experience of the micro-conditions designed and accentuated on site.

Tudela-Culip (Club Med) restoration project in ‘Cap de Creus’ Cape

This project is a showcase for landscape driven nature restoration projects. It turns a demolition order, a purely and strictly habitat reclamation, into a creative landscape restoration development. Through necessarily inexpensive actions, the design skilfully construes and orchestrates the deconstruction as a combination of destruction and construction to celebrate the site’s peculiarities, both natural and cultural. It proposes ways to choreograph on-site visitors into a narrative that stimulates the culture in nature in an innovative approach to finally question whether erasing and voiding is just as valid as filling in and adding.

Mission & intent. From nature reclamation to landscape restoration

The Natural Park’s Management Plan, Action 2.9 rules: ‘The total deconstruction and comprehensive elimination of all construction, building and installations in this area and the ecological restoration of the effected land, with the species and communities characteristic of the altered environment. The objective was to turn a ‘straight’ and strict restoration order into a ‘landscape’ narrative project in the intent to monumentalize it. The goal meant finding the means to absorb the growing pressure of visitors from the nearby Cape Lightower, which receives a quarter million visitors per year, while also exploring new ways of choreographing ‘on site’ visitors with the intent of submerging them in the landscape´s multilayered polyphony.


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