Competition 3 prize AB CHVOYA + Dreamers United + KARAVAN + John Loof Green with EDGE AB and Alexander Devyatkin
Tuchkov Buyan is a unique territory, a mystery in the very heart of St. Petersburg. Only a hundred years ago, it was dissected by a system of streams, and the whole surrounding area was a wet lowland known as Marshlands. In our project, we address both the history and mythology of the space and its landscape. The diverse natural landscape and abundant plant life become a frame for a new picture of St. Petersburg in its past, present, and future.
After a careful analysis of the site, we divided the park into three layers.
The Lower Park, Flowering Wetlands, is a landscape garden with a well-developed pond system. The native willow and alder trees stand next to exotic plant life: rhododendrons, palmate rhubarb, ferns, and primulas. The wetlands are full of colour, texture, and biodiversity. Our main inspiration here is the genius loci: it is a reminder of the well-known fact that St. Petersburg was founded on a marsh, an attempt to re-imagine what the place looked like then. The mood here makes one slow down and leave the city rush behind.
Urban Woodland, the Middle Park on the same level as the surrounding city district, is the layer of functional and visual communication, a dynamic urban space. A series of footbridges connect the Embankment and Dobrolyubov Avenue to the square in front of Boris Eifman Dance Palace. They create an intuitive pedestrian route and serve as scenic viewpoints for the stunning vistas of St. Petersburg now framed by an urban woodland of alder, rowan, birch, and larch trees.
The Upper Park, Meadow Hills, is a system of hilltop scenic viewpoints among dry warm meadows rich with air, colour, and light. The Upper Park is the top of the world: a place to lie on the grass and look at the sky above and St. Isaac’s Cathedral below, a place to have a picnic or a date, and see the city the way you’ve never seen it before.
All together, the three layers form a diverse and ergonomic landscape park facing the city.
The existing concrete structures pre-determine the new relief of the park. Most of the Lower Park lies on the submerged concrete foundation, stretches beyond it and covers the area around the parking structure and the Dance Palace site. The earth extracted during its construction can be further used to build the hills on the roof of the parking structure to plant full-sized trees.
The ponds in the lowest layer of the park play a crucial role in the park’s ecosystem as they collect, store, and cleanse rainwater, so that it can be used to water plants, maintain a comfortable microclimate, and supply the park’s needs.
There are two types of plant life: natural, or wild, and horticultural, more conventional for an urban environment. The horticultural plantings form the perimeter to provide a gradual transition from the nearby city district, while the natural species grow inside the park.
The new landscape park brings the city’s history and future together. The park fills a vacant spot in the city centre by simultaneously drawing on its genius loci and maximizing the contemporary potential of the site. It is a nudge to all of us to take a new look at the city with fresh eyes.