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The Oval Park

Competition entry, 2020
Location: Cosiness Valley Park, Murmansk, Russia
Team:  I-MA Studio & Urban Plunger

The goal of the project is to emphasize nature and make it convenient for people to experience it through all seasons. It is crucial to design an inclusive space, where a variety of activities will take place and create natural, sports, cultural and commercial attractors.

A set of trails and oval promenade with pavilions become a ‘circulatory system’ of the park. Multiple entrances were placed on every side of the plot to increase accessibility and link paths with the existing pedestrian and transport infrastructures. Trails are divided by different activities like Nature, Leisure, Sport and Kids to create a playful atmosphere and lead toward the oval promenade around the lake. The relief of the territory resembles a bowl, lowering from all four sides to the lake in the centre. To construct gentle slopes maximizing accessibility, main trails are raised above the ground. This also serves to preserve the wetland ecosystem and works well in winter with the snow cover.

Sustainability strategy aims to purify water in the lake to improve the existing ecosystem and construct a wetland that will evolve over time. A set of purifying ponds is proposed to clean the water in Varnichny stream. The starting form of the ponds will be transformed with the water flow. Simulating water streams in a landscape evolution model helped to anticipate how the ponds will change over time which results in the final design proposal.

Furthermore, people in rainy and cold climates struggle from weather conditions and lack of sun. Life without bright light and greenery during the long winter season makes people depressed and those issues can be addressed with design to improve quality of life.

The pavilion design was inspired by local nature and cold climate landscapes. They include viewing towers, a variety of activities, interior green areas and a set of ‘reflectors’. Two viewing towers are designed to create a ‘true nature’ view with hiding surrounding buildings and focusing on the perspective diagonal.

As a part of the circular vision, all interior spaces have a minimum 30% of greenery and hydroponics farms which help to create warm green public spaces. Besides, it will help to produce sustainable food that can be used by park cafes and visitors. It could also help to engage the local community to participate in growing food. The design proposal aims to maximise the usage of local sustainable materials including timber.

‘Reflectors’ designed as a part of the pavilions to create functional space with unique aesthetics. Reflectors will perform differently depending on the daytime, summer (long days) and winter season (long nights), helping to balance weather conditions and lack of light during the long polar nights. Furthermore, reflectors have LED segments and the surface composed from mirror, transparent and frosted glass to generate unique functions based on the orientation.  

Even in a northern place like Murmansk, people can use solar panels to reduce energy consumption from the grid and cut down on pollution from a local power plant. There is a park area under the power lines that is not recommended for human activities and has a slope oriented towards the south. It’s a logical strategy to place solar panels in this area and take advantage of it.

This proposal aims to address nature, sustainability, culture and weather conditions to provide meaningful design and aesthetics integrated into existing landscape and infrastructure.

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