SUNLIGHT: Landscape architecture, ecology and urban design

Founded in 2007, SUNLIGHT is an international landscape architecture, urban design and urban ecology studio with base in Madrid. It operates in the landscape to create, value and maintain the natural, social and built environment.
We combine design, ecology and landscape to create outstanding environments that connect people with nature.

We approach the challenges of climate change with the creation of multifunctional spaces that pursue environmental comfort and promote biodiversity and ecological connectivity.

We are an interdisciplinary and collaborative study. We dedicate our time and commitment to projects and work closely with our clients and their teams.
At the same time, we collaborate with architecture and engineering firms, research centres and universities. In this way we can incorporate all the capabilities that are necessary to address the complexity of current projects.
We combine applied research work with design (research by design) and project construction.

We are interested in the disciplinary crossings between ecology and landscape architecture and planning.
Our team of professionals combines academia with professional practice.
What we do:
• Landscape planning
• Green infrastructure strategies and policies
• Landscape Atlas and Catalogues
• Landscape Character Assessments
• Visual Impact Assessments
• Landscape restoration projects
• Open Space Strategies
• Tree Management Plans
• Masterplanning (residential, commercial, tourism, infrastructure)
• Urban renaturation and biodiversity
• Parks and public space projects
• Cultural landscapes
• Views Assessments
• Gardens
• Urban Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS)
• Nature-based Solutions (NBS)

Office location and contact:
c/Puerto Rico 8, 28016 Madrid

Sponge square

The concept is based on the creation of a square that functions as a “sponge”. It serves as a collection point for rainwater.
The rainwater will be used for the maintenance of the green areas and the remanent water will be directed to the Guadarrama river. In addition, the project promotes an idea of polycentric and flexible public space that reflects the needs of the constituencies. Each area welcomes a different function, so each constituency can find his/her own personal space or share it with others. The three areas are:
• sport area, with a skate park
• events area, a flat amphitheatre that also can be used for sports
• rest area
The design is sensitive to water management. The rainwater is captured through rain gardens and permeable pavements. In cases of flooding, the water is directed to the flat amphitheatre keeping the rest of the square in operation. During periods of high temperatures and drought, Sunlight proposes strategies such as water jets, water mirrors and shadows areas using trees in order to increase the feeling of warmth and to optimize the environmental comfort of the square. All these strategies improve the aesthetic quality of the space.

Bilbao BGI

The Bilbao Green Infrastructure (BGI) is the interconnected network of natural resources that link urban areas while maintaining ecological functions and offering social and economic benefits. It includes the green and blue infrastructure ensuring ecological connectivity and ecosystem functionality. In addition, it also serves as a framework to define urban growth.
Sunlight defined 5 BGI elements at the local scale:
• Core areas, such as preserved spaces, Natura protected areas
• Ecological corridors, such as green belts, rivers
• Buffer areas, such as biosphere reserve
• Other multifunctional elements, such as agricultural areas and restored landfill sites
• Urban elements, such as parks, streets and playground areas
For a successful implementation of the BGI, Sunlight defined 4 objectives:
1. Identification of social and environmental needs
2. Evaluation of the BGI elements
3. Preservation of the components considered essential as well as renovation of the existing ones
4. Creation of new elements that complete the existing network
Six strategic actions were introduced:
1. Flood management: reduce run-off water using SUDS
2. Adaptation to climate change: increase the amount of green spaces
3. Planning of new green areas: parks, green corridors
4. Improve the quality of the urban landscape: improve accessibility
5. Enhancement of the image of the city: sustainable management of natural resources
6. Urban restoration: new pedestrian streets, bike lanes

Bilbao Master Plan

The Bilbao Green Spaces Master Plan purpose is to define a series of guidelines to offer high quality spaces through the following actions:
• Complete the green infrastructure network, increase forest parks and recover abandoned spaces
• Improve the connection with the outskirts parks through pedestrian and bicycle paths
• Strengthen the estuary by giving continuity to its banks and creating points of attraction
• Improve the accessibility to existing parks and create new ones
• Recover abandoned spaces
• Improve the quality of open spaces
• Create a network of urban paths
• Create healthy, accessible open spaces with a gender approach
• Promote citizen participation in the design and management of open spaces
After a diagnosis, Sunlight has proposed a series of actions to improve the quality and complexity of the open spaces:
• Improve environmental comfort
• Increase biodiversity
• Reduce lawn areas
• Create a greater diversity of open spaces: wetlands, meadows
• Introduce SUDS
• Introduce sport areas
• Improve accessibility
• Introduce permeable pavement
Climate change will also have an impact in the city of Bilbao with the increase of torrential rains, heat waves and droughts. The Master Plan proposes different actions to mitigate this impact, such as reduce lawn areas, reduce impermeable surfaces, create rain gardens, use waste water for irrigation or design shaded areas with pergolas and vegetation.

Private garden Mojacar

This is a small residential private garden in Mojacar, a small village in the South of Spain. Sunlight was approached by the current owner to develop a gardenscape to compliment the andalusi-architecture house. The garden is divided in three areas: the lawn, the swimming pool-patio area and the elevated terrace.
Regarding the planting palette, it is adapted to the desert climate of the region. The tree selection is a mix of palms and colourful trees, such as the Jacaranda and the Bauhinia. In addition to the higher strata, there is also a lower strata that separates the garden from the public space. In this strata dominates the lilac colours and perennials are mixed with succulents. A pergola with a bougainvillea links the house with the elevated terrace.

Private garden Trujillo

The landscape project for the Casa Fuerte de los Escobar evokes the memory of the historic building. The concept pays homages to María Escobar, the first woman to bring wheat and barley from America and the owner of the houses in the 16th century. The design is based on the Hispano-Islamic garden of small gardens and fenced patios. The main element to consider in the design is the natural light. This way the areas have been distributed according with the amount of light received and the planting palette are selected based on the effect of sun/shade on them.
The garden is divided in seven areas:
• The outdoor dinning room
• The pool garden
• The pergola garden
• The courtyard
• The shaded patio
• The kitchen garden
• The grotto
The planting palette of the outdoor dinning room with use of grasses honours María Escobar, it pays homage to her person and her merits.


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