East Park International Design Competition
The shifting ecosystems on site must sit at the core of its future protection and regeneration.
Unveiled landscape, expanded ecology
The starting point of the project is the mapping over time of the various habitats forming this fragile ecosystem (marsh, swamp, upland, wet meadow, dry meadows, riparian forest corridors along the river, tree clumps and tiny forests, all with their fauna), in order to create the best conditions for each of them, but also to reveal the real nature of each habitat to the public in a non-invasive manner.
In the next step, the goal is to allow nature to further take over the site. This is done by enriching the biodiversity of certain habitats within their boundaries, such as the local amplification of the water edge, or by creating new areas of expansion into large buffer zones between the biotope reserve and the most active parts of the park. Similar ecologies can develop here as in the protected areas, but with a slightly more permissive human presence. Finally, the nature reclamation can be realised through the renaturation of degraded landscapes, such as the re-expansion of the Becas valley. These strategies take specific form in each spot, in accordance with the local topography, geology and biology.
A park for both an intimate connection to nature and for human interaction
The key to the success of the project is its appropriation by the inhabitants. The context in which the idea of the project emerged provides a solid foundation for the proposal, as this places the non-invasive experiencing of the various local natures at its centre.
A series of thematic circuits will raise awareness and allow for educational-recreational experiences for all types of public, understanding the local habitats, while placing them in the bigger contexts on different scales. The park thus becomes also a window into the bigger dynamics of the city, its surrounding landscapes, the region. Furthermore, the diversity of spaces in the park, big and small, allow for a wide spectrum of experiences from the individual to the shared and communal.
While the protected areas are excluded from the circuits of the park, by doubling these zones with a similar natural buffer, the visitors can experience the richness of the wetland without having to reach the protected secluded area.
Last but not least, the park becomes a green-blue infrastructure for the inhabitants, a backbone for the soft mobility connections of the surrounding neighbourhoods, following the future inter-connected planted corridors with no car-traffic and hosting the collector system of harvested rainwater. The park thus becomes the spine for the future green transition of these areas.
An ever-evolving landscape in time
Continuous change and transformation of both organic and mineral worlds is the defining dynamic of a landscape. During these continuous transformation processes there are moments when the ecosystem is rich and diverse but also moments of decay characterized by a decreasing variety of species. These moments of low and high variety of species seem to be regulated by the presence of water and the absence of human intervention.
Our design proposes different island environments linked in one park as a unifying landscape. These islands are bordered by water which regulates the perfect life conditions for flora and fauna and protects them from intrusion.
Water links the islands offering a variety of habitats from marshland to dry meadows and river landscape.
This initial configuration of islands and situations proposed by our design is not static, some islands will be occasionally submerged while others will dry out offering a surprising new evolution of the landscape and inviting new species during the coming years.
The proposed water network works as communicating vessels between the different habitats. Regulated by water these habitats will balance themselves offering resilience and guaranteeing a good dynamic for the whole landscape ecosystem.
In order to prevent the visitors from disturbing the wildlife we provide hidden passages soundproofed by dense structures of vegetation or light structures like pavilions. Elevated paths are protecting the regeneration of flora and fauna. The wet ditches and water bodies are strong ecological corridors.
PROGRAM: “EAST PARK” INTERNATIONAL DESIGN COMPETITION
STATUS: competition 1st prize
LOCATION: Parcul Est, Cluj-Napoca (RO)
CO-AUTHORS: Studio de Peisaj Ana Horhat (landscape architecture), Metapolis Architects