Parc Disponible / Stefan Gzyl

Courtesy of

Stefan Gzyl shared with us his project “Parc Disponible”, one of the finalists on an international competition recently held in on ways to incorporate nature into the urban environment in original ways. “Parc Disponible” is a glass box enclosing a mini-park for individual use within the city. See more images and architect’s description after the break.

Courtesy of Stefan Gzyl

The urban park is a modern invention. It is the response to a particular need that emerged with and within the industrial city. Its implementation was destined to satisfy specific recreational, hygienic, social and economic requirements of the city and its population. These conditions generated a new kind of public space. In the XX century, the quantification of nature (the establishment of an ideal ratio of built to natural within the urban environment) determined a proportional relation between park and city: the larger and more populated the city, the bigger and more numerous the parks. The size of the urban park was determined by the number of people it had to serve; its ultimate purpose, to provide a means of escape from the city within the city, determined its relation to the urban context: one of mutual exclusion. According to this logic, the insertion of the park always constitutes an interruption of the city’s fabric: it is either park or city, but never both.

Courtesy of Stefan Gzyl

Traditionally, the urban park is always inserted as a discontinuity of the built order, read in plan and experienced in three-dimensional space as a piece of land subtracted from the city for the simulation of a “natural” order. Yet in the conditions of the contemporary city, an ever-increasing need for green space is met with a decreasing availability of open land. This project proposes an extreme solution within the parameters of the competition: a park-for-one, a garden for individual and private relaxation and the momentary break from the urban environment, opening the senses to the intensified stimulation of nature in a simulated ecosystem of 15 square meters. In other words, the project attempts to repeat the operation of subtraction of urban fabric and its replacement with “nature” at the scale of a small capsule. Like an oasis in a desert (a secluded, self-contained and self-sufficient environment surrounded by dry land) this experimental green space is isolated from the city by dense vegetation and fully enclosed in glass.

Courtesy of Stefan Gzyl

Just like there are public telephones, WC cabins, velib or metro stations strategically located around the city, there can exist a network of mini-parks that can be used for a maximum of 30 minutes by any member with an access card. Simply sign up online to get your card. Log on to check availability of a park near you. Swipe your card and walk inside, leave the city behind. Sit back and enjoy the fresh air. This condensed garden, a park for one, provides a momentary pause from the city within the city.

The urban oasis serves the double function of individual leisure and environmental device. Each glass box can capture and retain rainwater, use it for irrigation, filter and return the rest to the city’s water supply, as well as filter and purify city air. Sealed glass and a system of mechanical louvers control temperature, creating a microclimate that guarantees a green space 365 days a year.

Cite: Jordana, Sebastian. "Parc Disponible / Stefan Gzyl" 07 Sep 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • æon

    I remember a toilet put in the middle of a square (in Italy may be) closed my mirrors, so from the inside you can see everything but from the outside just a cube made with mirrors

  • hardav

    Anti social yet quite exposed,… interesting.
    I wonder if they are bug free. wouldn’t want to be trapped inside with mosquitos and spiders.

  • Ian Wurster

    I wouldn’t call this original–plants in a glass box? Sounds like a greenhouse. And why sticking something in a glass box is a celebrated response for a landscape and urban prompt is beyond me. An oasis is seclusion and self-sufficiency, but it is also within a greater physical solitude, which the city is not. This proposal is promising at the start, questioning the mutual exclusion of park and city, but the end product merely scales down that relationship and sits in an uncomfortable and uninspiring ambiguity.

  • Iarthista

    i’m not quite agree with this idea, i mean a city park should have 3 main function right ? for green space, estetics, and social function, yet this kind of park lack the social function. even you should become a member for this park ? obviously a strange way to express a need for green space ??
    well no offence, its just my oppinion anyway hahaha…

  • Graeme

    looks like a bit of a Ripoff of that project by Gross Max in Scotland from a few years ago- even down to the little circular vents!

  • BOgdan

    This is just sad…a square meter of green in the middle of all that concrete!

  • Harsha

    So many mixed feelings about this. I like the idea of a little cubes of serenity dispersed throughout an urban area, and these cubes look sustainable and pleasant. But the idea of putting “nature” in a box and charging people to use it for who knows what, is really unsettling. There is plenty of space on the roofs of buildings, and little neighborhood niches for pocket parks and green walls.

  • Erich Lacey

    I’ve been reading a few posts and truly and enjoy your writing. I’m just setting up my own blog and only hope that I can write as well and give the reader so much insight.

  • Shashank

    I personal feel the idea is promising as seeing the current scenario people have no space where they can feel the nature specially nearby to their offices and homes.
    This project will serve better for those who are looking for few moments with nature while tired of working or staying in crowded place.

  • Spacemonkey

    Looks like a zoo jail. You must feel like a chimp in that glass box, with all the people moving around.

  • Did Gigazuri Daud

    like it ;)