LOCATION: Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Arch. León Carpman
M. Arch. Agustina González Cid
M. Arch. Matías Imbern
M. Arch. Pablo Roquero
PARK(S) OF THE CITY: [Versatile reconfiguration for a new active park system]
In the context of the progressive urban consolidation of Commune 8 as a new centrality in the metropolitan territory, our project proposes to develop a new park that articulates multiple scales. Park (s) of the City aims to connect and develop a broader ecological corridor, incorporating a series of parks that will constitute a metropolitan infrastructure. The project deploys a series of strategies aimed at sustainable environmental, social and economic development, maintaining the cultural heritage of the current park and its existing structures: 1. a system of articulated park(s) that as a whole manage to integrate a wide spectrum of users; 2. a multiplicity of experiences, providing a unique offer at the metropolitan level; 3. a clear, legible and systematic structure that allows progressive and incremental development; 4. the increase of the native natural heritage of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires through the preservation of existing forestation and the incorporation of species that encourage the development of local ecologies.
The existing City Park constitutes a key piece in the urban consolidation of Commune 8 as a new centrality in the metropolitan territory. In an urban context defined by the articulation of large pieces with infrastructures of regional scope, the new park has the challenge of reconciling the macro-scale with the neighborhood and local scale. This reconfiguration is expressed in Park(s) of the City through a series of interventions in the perimeter of the project. The proposed design configures a series of perimeter squares connected by a linear park, a green ring, open 24 hours, which will function as an interface between the immediate context and the scale of metropolitan ambition. This perimeter of public space is successively defined by the specificity of the relationships it intends to foster, on the one hand it builds both the continuity of large urban gaps and metropolitan connectivity on the NS axis, and together, structures the connection of new programs provided by the park with the adjacent local developments.
EXISTING PARK CONDITION
Originally thought to function as a theme park, the City Park was designed from a centralized circulatory structure with a unified access. It had a single control point associated with a main axis and a distribution plaza that functioned as a central point of reference for the visitor. Understanding that a contemporary park must present different options for different users, the Park is divided and multiplied. The plurality offered by the project empowers each user who can choose their own way of inhabiting it. The project "Park [s] of the City" achieves maximum changes with minimal interventions, revaluing the historical, architectural and cultural heritage of the park, taking it to the 21st century.
The new project radically changes the old circulation structure with the incorporation of a 'loop' as a new circuit. Thus, the park goes from an original structure closed and concentric (unidirectional) to an open strategy of green center and active perimeter, using existing roads as access and sewing elements. The new design of the park is built from a polydirectional circulatory structure that reinforces the multidimensional notion that the experience of a metropolitan park should bring.
The 'loop' fulfills the double function of decongesting the circulation of the park and, in turn, function as a focus of activity congestion. This double situation transforms it into a key piece of the project, crossing through the most iconic places within the park. In this way, the 'loop' allows the visitor to take a quick tour of the biggest attractions.
This loop is materialized from a permeable metal platform, so as not to affect the absorbing surface of natural soil. When crossing the educational area, the 'loop' rises avoiding security problems and giving functional independence to it. This balcony allows park users to observe the activities carried out by groups of students from controlled points and without coming into direct contact with them. The visibility of these activities adds a plus to the diffusion of the educational program.
On the other hand, the reuse of existing floors for the consolidation of a renewed axis highlights one of the most significant elements of the park: the tower, returning to the collective imagination the importance of this perspective, framed from the entrance. However, this axis is transformed to imprve its role in a contemporary park by adding trees that provide shade and equipment that supports transition programs, helping to reduce the temperature of the path during summer and inviting visitors to inhabit it for longer periods of time. In addition, the axis perforates the reserve, enabling a point from where to observe the changes produced by the emancipated wild nature, far from the effects that man exerts on the place.
RECONFIGURATION OF EXISTING ROADS
The project reuses the existing floors. Within this criterion, the 'loop' comes to impose a new circulatory logic, reconfiguring the road system by removing the straight paths outside the loop and the curved paths inside it. This operation allows to increase the absorbent surface of the park and breaks the old prevailing centrality. At the same time, the remaining paved roads are 'cut' allowing the growth of plants and herbs, suggesting a rhythmic condition that helps to give a unitary and renewed reading to the place.
RECOVERY AND ACTIVATION OF NEW PROGRAMS: THE ISLANDS
The project recovers and reinvents the architectural 'ruins' of the old park. Among them, the project places special emphasis on the recovery and activation of the archipelago of platforms that remains empty after the removal of the mechanical games. These programmatic islands then become triggers and enhancers of a wide variety of activities. Different uses and degrees of intervention are defined from a catalog of the existing platforms and their detailed study.
The islands are then divided into groups according to their future use and the level of intervention required. Large platforms are left free to be used in special events; this is the case of the 'rock platform'. On the other hand, there are islands made with minimum interventions, achieving in many cases with few elements and painting, a maximum variety of uses. This way a giant yoga mat is included in the park, a sector so that people can tie their paraguayan hammocks and even an island painted black as a blackboard. There are also islands with special programs where it is planned to make a greater investment to be able to include certain aspects that should not be missing such as an amphitheater, games for children, a sector for picnics or a place for rest and reading. The most important islands such as the castle with the blue roofs, the carousel, the open-air cinema and the tower are designed to work as concessions; in this way, the investment for its maintenance and commissioning is delegated to the private sector. The water platforms, the existing toilets and some small constructions for administration and maintenance are remained intact. Finally, some islands located within the educational sector and the reserve are left with the possibility of future functions.
REDEFINITION OF PERIMETER AND ENTRY SQUARES
The old park sought to get away from reality as much as possible, increasing the sense of fantastic world for its inhabitants and completely breaking the relationship with their immediate surroundings. The new project seeks to reverse this situation from the creation of a linear park that wrap the project, incorporating 4 entry squares and an aerobic corridor in contact with the neighborhood. This perimeter becomes a highly dynamic and active space for the area, uniting what were previously two unconnected realities. The project redefines the access to the park incorporating 4 main squares, two of metropolitan scale (the North and the South) and two of local scale (the East and the West), in addition to some secondary accesses of neighborhood scale, in contacts with specific activities. These four squares become neighborhood centers and social platforms open 24 hours.
The project transforms what used to be a dividing line into an attractive space for the neighborhood and the city. In addition to the places mentioned above, the linear park will host various activities such as resting areas and exercise platforms for neighbors of different ages. The perimeter is connected to the 'loop' by using the existing paths and some minor trails added as sewing elements, which cross the different seed reserves.
The park proposes an extended schedule with activities that summon a diverse public with variable flows throughout the day. Although the interior of the park is designed to close during the night, the linear park on the perimeter and the squares remain open permanently. In addition, the park drives inside night activities such as music festivals, open-air cinema or visits to the space tower. On the other hand, activities are also enhanced in the morning and midday with the addition of sports stops, coffee shops, production and sale of hydroponic vegetables.
DEFINITION OF RESERVE AREAS AND NEW FORESTING
The project proposes the treatment of the park as a great natural reserve. It is divided into two sectors well differentiated by the way in which the flora is treated. On the one hand, seed reserves that allow the planting of native trees, attracting local fauna and fostering ecological processes for the entire region. On the other, the emancipated wild reserve as a sector to be closed, allowing nature to work alone, isolated from anthropic conditions.
The seed reserve incorporates autochthonous trees that function as seedbeds. In addition to being extremely valuable for their role in the food chains, these trees were chosen for their scenic value, having all flowers or colored fruits, allowing in this way activate different sectors of the park when this occurs.
The emancipated wild reserve is enclosed with the loop, so a portion of the park is reserved for the recovery of nature. The idea for this sector is to be closed for an approximate time of four years, allowing the grass, shrubs, and native fauna to develop. During the period of confinement, the reserve can only be observed from the large event platforms and from the axis that, as a pier, balconies toward it without affect it. After this time, the reserve is reopened to the public, enabling a new sector of the park. Besides the ecological value of this action, it has an educational value, since it allows visitors to understand the power of nature in overcoming the actions of man in the past.
To develop the park in an economically sustainable way in the short and long term the project uses both material and organizational strategies. From the material point of view, in addition to the development of the reserve areas, there is a conservation and intervention of the largest number of pre-existing elements, reusing dismantling materials and operating strategically on the structures of the park in order to achieve the rapid reconversion of the park with the least impact on economic and environmental resources. From the organizational point of view, the project uses both its systematic logic and the introduction of the islands to achieve incremental development over time. The structure of sectors provides the project with a series of areas that can be developed in different speeds and levels, while at the same time they allow the independent operation of its islands to maximize the efficiency in the use and reduce the operational costs of the park. The logic of islands proposed reinforces this organizational line allowing them to be intervened by different actors, thus contributing, simultaneously, both to the construction and operation of the park and providing new services and income streams.