Sokolniki Park/ Nature’s Embassy

Sokolniki Park/ Nature’s Embassy

Groundlab as Architects

Developed by an international consortium between Groundlab, a British bureau specializing in architecture, landscaping and urban development, and WOWHAUS, a Russian bureau that is renowned for its cooperation with the Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure and a project to rebuild the Crimean embankment, and has certain experience developing the Sokolniki park; and finally, the Saint-Petersburg-based Institute of Spatial Planning “Urbanica”, which was part of the developer team of one of the Moscow metropolitan area overhaul projects in 2012.


1 NATURE GATEWAY+8 WAYS TO NATURE+3 PRINCIPLES+10 MECHANISMS= NATURE’S EMBASSY


1 NATURE GATEWAY seeks to identify Sokolniki as the Gateway for Nature into the city of Moscow and as a way for people to enter nature by linking the Elk’s island natural reserve through Sokolniki’s ecological corridor.


This new image of Sokolniki park is emphasized by revamping the historical radial structure to become the 8 WAYS TO NATURE. Bringing and linking nature into Moscow city’s heart and bringing closer its inhabitants and visitors to nature in a diverse variety of ways are the main goals of this proposal.


The project is based on 3 PRINCIPLES that enhance the existing potentials of the park: its proximity to a natural reserve, the historical axial structure, its forest areas as well as the popular urban park next to the main entrance. Thus, the principles are based on creating a strong IDENTITY to the park as an embassy of nature, on enhancing its HERITAGE of existing radial structure to access and to navigate the park and its historical architectural elements together with the introduction of a DIVERSE range of characters and activities in the forest as well as its historical structure. These principles respond to the existing challenges of the park: the lack of activities in the northern areas, monotony of the forest areas and the difficult way-finding as well as the creation of an international image/brand for Sokolniki Park as demanded by the competition brief.


In order to apply the above mentioned 3 principles as well as to implement the 8 ways to nature to create a successful Nature’s embassy the proposal is organized along 10 MECHANISMS to ensure its feasibility and viability in time. These mechanisms will implement gradually the proposal while maintaining its natural character. They will also enhance the 8 axis of the park by making those easily identifiable by their specific features and facilitating the way-finding throughout the whole of the park.


The way-finding strategy will be highlighted by an elevated entrance/viewpoint to the Nature’s Embassy which will contribute to the perception and understanding of the park structure. The new proposed entrance together with art installations will become the eventful landmarks of Sokolniki. A new circulation strategy which encompasses alternative modes of transport within the park, new parking strategies and crossings that give priority to pedestrian will increase the accessibility of the northern areas of the park for all visitors. Minimizing the number of necessary fences and making accessible some of the third party ownerships and facilities of the park will result in greater benefits for the currently closed areas and for the extension of the park and introduction of activities related to them, such as educational visits to nurseries and greenhouses.


These new relations will fabricate an ecology of programmes that will be choreographed through a phasing strategy in time, resulting in a sustainable economic model for the park management and renovation.


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