Urban park
@Larnaca international competition

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SALINA ARCHIPELAGO

Urban park

@Larnaca international competition

Larnaca,

2020

The proposal aims to work with and enhance the main characteristics of the plot, both physically and conceptually, to achieve a composition in the form of a large three dimensional mosaic or tapestry.

There are three main threads in which we researched and unpicked the site and its history: -A former tree/flower nursery for the municipality; -The infrastructural antiquities found hidden under or emerging from the ground which show Larnaca’s rich history and importance in the ancient world; -The inherent etymology “Salina” as a place to harvest and store salt in mount forms which are recorded in paintings and drawings until the 17th century.

It is along these threads that our proposal weaves and layers a variety of systems of gardens and public activities, sewn together in an interplay of colour, size and geometry, to celebrate the multi-cultural past and present of the city as a port: a place of import and export, a cultural hub of multiplicities and nationalities, gathering around the Mediterrenean coast.

The synthesis of the organisational system of the park uses a grid of watering infrastructures emanenting from the ancient aquaducts of the area and incorporates all the existing trees, embedding them into the backbone of our landscape whilst meeting the practical/ technical requirements. The system is a working motherboard or green lung which aims to give back to the city and its people.

Space syntax and compositional method. From notation to architectural plan: -The plot is a canvas. From its inception, the proposal attempts to incorporate the existing natural characteristics and planting which assume a primary role in the composition. These trees become preliminary nodes in the evolution of the drafting and compositional system of the proposal. -A bold continuous loop takes form around the park boundaries, weaving the entire site as one generous simple gesture that seeks to define the space. This becomes the main access route and the synthetic element along which our proposal evolves. -The circular motion creates two opposite diagonal subdivisions that we envision as a rock garden. These spaces offer a natural low maintenance setting. -A horizontal frame is applied to highlight the existing perimeter path and to restore the existing circulation route of the plot. -The horizontal bead or threads of the frame extend from west to east to add an element of rhythm, distance and scale. This becomes part of the system and practical logic for the design of the park that incorporates water systems and determines distances for its planting by adding structure and color. We connect this system to the existing trees to organise the core of our archipelago. -An archipelago of islands are therefore anchored along the horizontal grain of the tapestry and incorporate the existing geometries of the space, as well as trees, which we studied during our visit to the site. The goal is to tease out the concept of land management, ‘archeology’, of tree nursery and garden. The islands introduce varieties of field typologies, vegetation, colours and activities in the park, amalgamating in the composition.

The planting scheme establishes a natural design which includes and respects the native species and the existing vegetation. The proposed vegetation is resilient to Cyprus weather, in particular the drought of summer months. One of the main features of the proposal is its materiality, inspired by the geology and history of the city of Larnaca. Raw materials and materials from the earth, are managed with different techniques and energies to create a new topography with parallels to quarries, the Salina and the gardens.

In any form of artificial garden or partially landscaped garden there must be an underlying structure; a canvas or grid geometry to define and structure the systems. This is also similar to the natural weaving of a piece of wallpaper but also the creation of a multidimensional landscape composition that incorporates structure, depth and colour to make it understandable and beautiful. Visitors are free to roam and immerse themselves in this rich, thick tapestry of composition, with paths of experiences and scales that bring elements of Larnaca as a natural landscape into a miniature cartography, a physical archive to be mentally absorbed in its entirety and for one to dwell upon.

Designed by

Lemonot

with

Urban Radicals

Christophoros Kyriakides

Adam Harris

Images

Sonia Magdziarz