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. The city lacks a good quality outdoor space for its inhabitants. Cotonou is rapidly developing, and a challenge is to reserve a space for green and outdoor activities. With climate change, West-African countries are especially at risk of flooding and heat stress. Any piece of green added to the city helps to overcome the negative consequences of climate change and improve the life quality of its inhabitants.
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 into 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 a pleasant place to stay for the people of Cotonou, where the temperature is always around 32 degrees. The density of the planting is high. This creates a true oasis and provides shade.
Concrete benches have been placed along the garden’s winding paths. They descend to ground level. The furnishings are of a timeless shape and monochrome colour. 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 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 so with heavy rainfalls the walkways remain accessible. Most drainage takes place through the flower beds.
Other landscape architecture offices involved in the design of landscape: SMA Sarl, Rod’or
Location: 9C2H+QW3, Cotonou, Benin
Design year: 2020
Year Completed: 2022