In an effort to achieve a more holistic development of Latsia, the participation of socially active, culturally motivated and eager to learn citizens is necessary. Therefore, this second prize winning proposal by ECONOMOU Architects & Engineers + Georgios Artopoulos was designed to accommodate and create spatially organized activities and lived experiences, in order to host actions of collective learning and creative occupations relevant to the local natural resources, always aiming for the generation of a new, shared identity of Latsia. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The Municipality of Latsia has been growing rapidly in the last few decades as a result of the intense trans-regional movement of individuals and populations in the area of Nicosia, Cyprus. This raft of migrants provokes change in the demographics of the area that calls for a plan of action in order to strengthen associations with the local environment and community. How could such heterogeneous groups of individuals develop a new, common identity? How could the park of the competition act as a catalyst to the establishment of new relations between the citizens, the populations of the greater Nicosia and passers-by / tourists?
Contemporary discourses and new approaches to urbanism, such as landscape urbanism, advocate the contribution of urban parks to the coherence and the sustainable development of our cities, as well as the role of shared and common spaces as significant attraction points for locals and tourists in a city – as stages of community, interaction and knowledge exchange. We envision the proposed park to become a landmark site in the area that will attract tourists and, at the same time, act as a common resource of the municipality for the promotion of a new identity – of the Latsia citizen – a condition that is a prerequisite for the sustainable and holistic development of the region.
Offering multiple narratives and experiences to its visitors, by means of the alternative and complementary paths, the park was designed to become an interactive and immersive environment, wherein individuals transform from passive visitors to active users of the space and are invited to explore, collaborate and play in order to discover and educate themselves. Instead of engaging individuals in antagonistic games, based on a win or lose logic, the goals of our proposed exploration of the park involve learning about contemporary understandings of ecology, the significance of symbiosis for the future of our natural environment and the fragile interconnectedness of all systems, living and inert alike.
We hope that these alternative experiences, expressed spatially, will capture and maintain intense interest from local communities and tourists, contributing in this way to the success of the park and its establishment as a prime destination for ecological education and leisure in the region.
Circulation in the park is organized through a network of paths that occupies most of the site. Starting from the main entrance of the park (South), a visitor encounters two possible routes, each with its own distinct qualities and characteristics. The fast route connects in the shortest possible way the entries, and the four parking areas, with the various amenities offered in the park, e.g. the Centre of Environmental Information, the open air amphitheatre, the café-restaurant, the sports facilities and the playground.
The slow route, through its multiple paths for learning and leisure offers different experiences to the visitor, related to the view of the landscape, the earth-walls that reveal the geomorphology of the ground and unearth the fossils – lost evidence of dead ecosystems hosted by the site in the past – which now can be seen as ornaments on the walls, and the indigenous plants. Significantly, this route is an inseparable part of an educational visit to the park and consists of three stops/areas of stasis, which employ different narratives to be explored, such as the one of the water, the rocks, the ground and the ridge.
Architects: ECONOMOU Architects & Engineers + Georgios Artopoulos Location: Latsia, Nicosia, Cyprus Architectural Design Team: Gregoriou Charis, Artopoulos Giorgos, Metoxis Nikolas, Skantzouris Nestoras Engineering Consulting: Ktori Zaharias, SEISMIC TECH Landscape Design: Grevenaris Giorgos Lighting Design: Sevastides Dakis, ARCHTUBE Status: 2nd prize in the International Architectural Design Competition for the Urban Park of Palouriotissa Year: 2012