New design for former Russian battlefront
Dutch firm West 8’s winning masterplan for Voronezh’s Central Park in Russia extends beyond restoring the historic landscape, aiming to create a beach, walking and cycling trails, with areas for family and cultural recreation year round.
The international urban design and landscape architecture office was announced as winner of an international restricted competition to redevelop the 170 year old park, a 100 hectare woodland site north of the city centre.
Voronezh, home to one million people, lies 500 km south of Moscow. During World War II the site of the park was a frontline and the scene of heavy fighting between the Red Army and the Germans. It was reconstructed in peace time, becoming a favourite recreation spot for locals before falling into disrepair in the mid eighties.
The city launched the Reconstruction of Voronezh Central Park project in 2014. Phase one had a budget of $7 million, and was designed by French landscape architect, Olivier Dame. Playgrounds, tennis courts and volleyball and football grounds were installed, staircases repaired, a pond, a creek with bridges and a fountain were built. The Green amphitheatre, which had lain in ruins, unused for 20 years, was restored.
For this next phase of reconstruction, officials invited landscape architects from around the globe to submit proposals, narrowing down 22 entries to three finalists, before choosing West 8.
Judges praised the originality of the way West 8 embedded the existing landscape in the new design. West 8 says its design “amplifies the site’s unique topographical condition to diversify the occupation of the park.”
The four key themes of the park design include:
The Urban Boulevard - for family leisure and culture. Extra pavilions will be added to those already in the park. New cafes, kiosks, shelters for children, shops, or educational spaces will also be added.
The Water Walk - for leisure. It will run on the lower part of the park, parallel to a stream of water that is punctuated by a collection of water features and ecological areas.
The Activity Loop - for sport activities in nature. It’ll be a 3km circular track for hiking, jogging, mountain biking and cross country. It’ll be punctuated by picnic spots.
Ecological Spine - for botany, farm, nature. The forest slopes of the park will reconnected with the Forestry University of Voronezh, through a series of garden terraces and a collection of pocket lawns that will be replanted with new species enhancing the biodiversity and seasonality. A farm and fruit tree orchards will stimulate direct contact of younger children with wildlife and nature.