Feroviarilor Park Design Competition
The site has historically fulfilled a specific need for an unprogrammed large area capable of absorbing such unusual activities for the city as cattle market, circus, caravan camp, skating rink or train theme park. The new park builds upon its legacy, emerging as a new open field for the city, a new common.
This identity fills a gap in the current offer of the city regarding parks, complementing the specificities of the Central Park (promenade, meeting place and events), the Cetătuie Park (panorama, history), the Botanical Garden and Ethnographic Park (didactic, bucolic, idyllic), the Rozelor Park, Iuliu Hatieganu Park and Gheorgheni Sports Park (sport), the USAMV campus (agriculture, horticulture), the future East Park (broad nature, biodiversity). Moreover, by embracing and opening up to the Somes river, hand in hand with the Armătura Park and the future north-eastward greening of the river bank, it exceeds its relatively modest scale of neighbourhood garden, growing into a new significant natural area for the city: Somes North Park (Parcul Somes Nord).
We envisage a privileged and intimate relation with the Someș river by softening existing boundaries and creating new connections in order to augment its presence, and thus creating a larger water oriented park system, Feroviarilor-Armătura.
*common (ˈkɒmən) noun . An area of grass that everyone is allowed to use, usually in or near a town. (Cambridge Dictionary)
Centered around a generous open space, the park becomes a platform for everyone, in the spirit of the English common and the German Volkspark. This lush clearing, gently descending to the river, is framed by consistent and diverse tree planting (up to 200% new ones) providing an array of different atmospheres in a compact format. The central field is bordered on both sides by two different park areas: the wild and the urban.
On the riverside, the park builds upon its current wild aspect as a result of lack of maintenance by converting it into a conscious designed wilderness. Towards the heart of the park, it becomes a real woodland with indigenous trees and perennials species. Combining existing vegetation and new planting, the wild park is designed with regard to its spontaneous character and will attract various wildlife.
The urban park acts as a filter between the fast developing city and the protected area of the river. Numerous flowering trees make up a light and colourful atmosphere enhanced by inviting soft topography for a surprising urban garden.
& THE LOOP
The loop is to be interpreted as an exploratory device, that binds together all these different atmospheres of the park, and that connects the river with the city, as a symbolic gesture bringing together past and future. Landscape wise, it stages for the succession of foliage colour variation all through the year. As urban conector it provides for a stable, simple, yet iconic, framework, one that facilitates multiple scenarios, acting as a key chain for different functions and future park development.
The design builds on the qualities and elements already on site, amplifying, reframing and enriching them. A set of simple but strategic interventions are put in place for maximum impact:
OPENING UP THE SITE
- no fences or hedges
- creating simple multi-use surfaces both in the clearing and under the trees
- using the newly acquired land along the river in the South as a linear park access while waiting for the possible future road
- widening the deck of the Northern bridge on the existing structure for an affordable broad connection with Armătura and the station
TRANSFORMING THE ‘NO-MAN’S-LAND’ INTO A CLEARING
The current barren land in the middle of the park is framed by new trees and thus emerges the clearing – the common.
OPENING THE NEW COMMON TO THE RIVER
A small part of the dike is softened in the North making the river visible in the park
Two strategic pathways cover the park and connect it to the larger context, while the loop explores the diversity of atmospheres and anchors all key areas of the park.
ADAPTABLE VISION, RESILIENT FUTURES
The park structure is strong but also resilient, able to absorb today’s uncertainties and a diversity of possible futures.
NEW SOUTH-WESTERN PEDESTRIAN / CYCLE BRIDGE
Option 1: Following the direction of the planned road bridge. Creates from day one a crossing for the Somes cycle route, using the recently acquired land in the South, on the right bank.
Option 2: Following the direction of Iuliu Coroianu street, leading to the railway station. Links to a hypothetical Somes bike route that stays on the left bank only, but which depends on the land acquisition possibilities.
PAVILION IN THE ‘URBAN’ PART OF THE PARK
Two key locations have been identified for the main equipment of the park, depending on the main access correlated with the real estate investment south of the site. One, on the existing sports field, ensuring minimal ecological impact on the park, as well as activation point for the South-West corner awaiting broader urban connections. The second one, at the confluence of all main flows, in its most urban space, giving a chance for the rest of the park to profit on larger natural, unbuilt area.
AN OPEN ENDED PLATFORM FOR CITIZENS’ INITIATIVES
A key feature of the open park is that it can absorb a variety of future unprogrammed bottom-up citizens’ initiatives, with no narrow group becoming dominant. The structure of the park guides such initiatives according to their character to the ‘urban’ or the ‘wild’ part, while they all remain connected by the loop.
PROGRAM: “FEROVIARILOR PARK” DESIGN COMPETITION
LOCATION: Parcul Feroviarilor, Cluj-Napoca (RO)
CO-AUTHORS: Ana Horhat (landscape architecture), Metapolis Architects