The Design of Cubryna Garden starts from the identification of its important role as part of a superior landscape system, including several parks and Vistula River. It seems useful to the project to resize the strategic site to a larger area, in order to understand the major natural systems.
RESIZING THE STRATEGIC AREA
The city and the river
The district of Powisle already has a rich naturalistic environment and public spaces asset, counting on a considerable arrangement of green areas. A great number of parks, gardens and roof gardens matches the prevailing cultural function of the district, being linked to its contemporary and historical buildings. On the other side, Vistula River, crossing the whole Poland for 1047 km, represents the main naturalistic organism in the city of Warsaw. The Vistula Riverside Boulevards, already in progress, recognizes the river and its banks as one of the most promising opportunities to increase the quality of public spaces in town.
Despite these favorable conditions, it can be noticed a significant problem related to the inadequate connection between these important systems and, above all, between the city itself and its river.
Even considering the incoming configuration of the Vistula banks, the river seems to remain stranger to the city. If on the one hand it is true that it attracts an increasing number of people, on the other hand this attraction is restricted to a limited kind of people and uses and to a short time within the year.
The proposal considers the project area as the keystone of a larger scale ambition: the reconnection of this part of the city to the river.
Nowadays the area suffers the inheritance of the construction of the express way Wislostrada in 1975, now hidden inside a tunnel. The result is a large uninhabited zone, strongly affected by its indefiniteness.
On the other side, the area counts on a very favorable position and a special relationship with the main public buildings of the district. Thus, it has a huge potential and a key role in the achievement of continuity and permeability towards the river.
The goal of the whole operation is the grafting of the new park to the existent system of public open spaces. How to make the graft?
1. Extending the wooded organisms that identify the parks nearby and creating a unique figure with them. An important mass of trees along the limit of the area strongly defines the character of the new park, in opposition to the current indefiniteness.
2. Structuring the park area considering the axes that structure the surrounding district. Instead of interrupting the visual axes and the flows with the limit of the park, the project proposes visual and functional continuity from the embankment to the Vistula Boulevards.
The park receives the main axes coming from the city, encouraging the crossing towards the river. It is possible to enter the park all along its limit, but the main passages are created at the intersections between the park system and the principal axes (Kazimierzowski and Saxon). There, the major activities are located as final points for the axes.
3. Expanding the park area to the bordering street. As required, the section of the street is intended to limit the vehicular traffic. The soil is designed to confuse the frontier between the park and the city, merging the two areas.
APPORT + SUPPORT AS methodology
Making use of the idea of the French landscape architect Bernard Lassus Apport + Support = Nouveau Paysage, the design process acts together with the pre-existing elements. It is in the interaction among the elements, both new and old, that lies the most interesting part of a spatial intervention. According to Lassus, common objects can gain expressive force if juxtaposed. The attention shifts from the objects to the relation among them, making the scene interesting and liberating new energy.
This is why, aiming to respond to all the different competition requirements, the project uses simple elements, organized by few, clear actions. Instead of just design a new asset for Cubryna Gardens, the proposal offers a rule, a norm able to guide present and future transformations of the park’s layout, without deceiving the project’s original sense and functionality.
A regular grid of new trees is juxtaposed to the pre-existing trees, thickening the wooded limit of the park and working as a counterpoint of the current irregular configuration. It organizes all the other operations, as a structural grid. As an additional quality, the new vegetal mass will help to muffle the noise coming from the park and the Riverside Boulevards.
The distance between the tree trunks allows the disposal of several activities, organized in modular strips.
The program of activities required to animate the park is set within a series of modular strips under the tree crowns, parallel to the Kazmierosky Axis. This act allows the permeability of the park, intercepting the flows from the street.
A range of possible activities fitting the 3,60 meters wide strips is provided (see Sheet 4), considering different configurations of the soil and the possibility of transforming some of the strips into closed volumes.
Certain strips can contain closed volumes in order to provide the correct protection of the Vistula’s Treasures. The proposal focused on the use of glass to grant complete transparency and visual continuity.
This would allow both to protect the Treasures and show them permanently, as well as living the park during the winter, possibly giving space to different activities (see Sheet 4). As a crystal palace of the 19th century, the glass pavilions could serve to offer a privileged condition to live the park even during the coldest months (see Sheet 6).
4.Esplanade for free uses
Coming from the city, after going under the trees, you find a large esplanade, left as an open space for free uses.
It is the space for possibilities, that everyone can colonize and inhabit according to his wills. It is also the mediation with the Boulevard’s system, creating a sort of terrace that looks directly to the river.
PRECISE RULES AND FLEXIBILITY OF THE SYSTEM
The arrangement proposed by the plan is just one of the possible layouts of the system. As a rule, the strips are able to organize different activities according to the needs, without losing the sense of the original project. The interaction among the elements, that is the project value, is always preserved.
The project is intended as a growing organism. A basic layout can be built at the beginning, according to the starting resources. More activities can be accommodated within the strips in the future for a rising use of Cubryna Garden and its facilities.
The number of crystal pavilions, especially, can be easily increased following the structure predisposed by the project. It will be possible using the simplest element of the park as a guide: the benches along the strips can be used as a base for new crystal boxes, built according to the executive details of the first-phase pavilions. The project already satisfies the elementary needs for the correct use of the new pavilions, like the presence of a dry floor around the area. The same benches can be used as pre-existing infrastructure, limiting the costs of excavation and foundation.
flexibility of the unit
New crystal pavilions would be an interesting occasion to expand the exposition in the future and to place other activities. A generic closed space with a minimal equipment nowadays is suitable to accommodate a large amount of uses. Electric power provision + wireless internet + projector predisposition will provide all the structure needed for:
– individual and collective study
– individual and collective work
– small parties
All these activities could be implemented within the park, integrating this space to the district life. The advantage would be both for young people and elders.
Students could enjoy a studying location inside the park. Young professionals could be interested in the possibility of using this spaces to help starting their own business (co-working, renting for meetings…). Universities and other cultural institutions could want to use these spaces for seminaries, workshops and other events. Workshops and other activities for the citizens of the district could be organized (children, old people…). Even private citizens could use the pavilions for private events like children parties.
The overlap of users would be desirable to improve the peaceful coexistence of the inhabitants within the district.
Pavilions could be managed by the public administration or outsourced, given for free use or rented for short and very short period and single events.
The number of pavilions can be increased along the time according to the desired functions and the available resources. Eventually, the strip system can achieve the complete saturation, using all the strips with benches to accommodate new pavilions.
Following the same logic, even the expositive pavilions could be converted to other uses if some day a proper museum is build for the Vistula’s Treasures.
How to live a park during the winter in Warsaw? The mind goes to the crystal houses built during the 19th century. This kind of structures seems to be the most logical way to enjoy the park qualities even when the weather doesn’t help. They offer a protected condition and the greatest relation possible with the surrounding landscape. So do the glass pavilions of Cubryna Garden.
As glass boxes they have solar greenhouse qualities, creating better climatic conditions indoor. The possibility of providing heating system can be studied.
As essence of the new trees, the project proposes the birch.
Apart from being an endemic essence, it is really eligible for such a park. Its seasonal evolution responds to several needs.
BIRCHES IN SUMMER
During the summer, it produces a slight shadow, that will prevent the undergrowth from an excessive insolation. A a dense shadow would probably be unnecessary and even counterproductive for the polish weather. With 24 °C as average high temperature in July, birch seems to offer an excellent condition to sit beneath its crown.
BIRCHES IN WINTER
Being deciduous, the birch matches the need of not hindering the sunshine in winter.
With the falling of leaves, the park change its image. While during the summer the pavilions are hidden under the tree crowns, in winter they emerge creating an interesting relation with the snow and being able to catch all the natural light from outside.
The proposal considers the gardens and the exposition as part of the same project. This is why the Treasures are located inside glass pavilions in different points of the wood. Like a widespread museum, the proposal unifies the expositive function and the park itself.
The choice of setting the exposition inside glass pavilions involves several advantages. It could be possible to visit the exposition from the inside during established hours of the day, while the transparency of the walls would allow the visitors of the park to admire the Treasures permanently. It is easy to imagine how these transparent volumes, enlightened from the inside, would improve the park’s atmosphere at night, even from the security point of view. This goes in the direction of a more extended use of the park along the day, especially considering the winter sunset time in Warsaw.
For the beginning, the project proposes the building of 3 pavilions to locate the Treasures. Others can be built in order to expand the exposition.
APPORT PLUS SUPPORT
EUROPAN 13 WARSAW (PL)
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