Lea River Park

LEA RIVER PARK COMPETITION

The awareness of the key challenges led us quickly to adopt a strategy in which the territory would be worked in an egocentric manner, receiving inputs from its context only where really necessary. The goal was never to produce a new park unconnected with its context, but rather a park strong enough to bring new dynamism to a markedly peri-urban area.

The creation of the new park would entail successive levels of change, essential for a new appropriation of the territory, but the new inputs would have to be introduced in the constant, almost obsessive demand, for the homeostatic balance of the area. With the primary goals of ensuring continuity over the succession of spaces, which this linear park would comprise, and of promoting sufficient dynamism to guarantee a normal flow of people, some distinct spatial construction strategies were adopted: hierarchies of recreation areas met the demanding program of the park; an organized system of longitudinal pathways formalized according to the conditioning factors of the space assured the connection of the river mouth to the Games venue; and finally numerous transversal connections made effective links between the new park and its context.

The implementation of solutions was not always a peaceful one, even when lightweight structures were proposed, as the available space to ensure continuity was often covered by numerous contingencies. For the sake of continuity, a series of raised walkways over the river were proposed. A perhaps unusual but justifiable solution, which would result in the potential to understand the park from a unique point of view. In agreement with what we believe a park to be – a curious place of constant struggle between the landscape dynamics and the human desire for stability – our proposal sought to redefine the ecological functioning of the territory, with the river at the epicentre of all dynamizations. Added to the extremely heavy and accurate nature of the work of regulating the banks and rehabilitating the navigability of the river, were the strengthened role of the river as an ecological corridor and the compatibility of this sensitive ecosystem with the urban uses that would come to be made of it.

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