Text description provided by the architects. The project deals with the redesign of the city park and part of the Loučná River embankment in the immediate vicinity of the historic centre of the small town of Litomyšl in eastern Bohemia.
A significant value of the area was the natural character of the river banks and a quiet picturesque adjacent street. On the other hand, it was facing a number of problems: a fenced-in playground and various other barriers prevented access to and alongside the river. The absence of sidewalks led to collisions of pedestrians with cars and bicycles and parts of the territory were not interconnected.
Although Litomyšl is well-known for numerous high-quality architectural realizations in the last two decades, this was the first project that involved the participation of the public. Detailed sociological surveys and workshops became the starting point for a public architectural competition. The requirement was to solve the relation to the water, to improve pedestrian passability and to create a place for rest for locals of all generations. The budget was set at around € 1.2 million. The whole project has been running for about four years.
Our design is based on the concept of interconnecting four different urban areas – waterfront, riverside, park and street – into one functional unit.
On the embankment there is a city promenade under the trees, designed for rest, meetings, and games. It features a sculptured playground with musical motifs. The waterfront is lined with a low wall of colored concrete, creating a border between the city and the natural banks of the river. They are preserved in their wildness and accessible only in selected places by light steel observation platforms. The river Loučná is bordered by a hinged footbridge. This is, like the observation platform, designed as a transparent steel structure that is as filigrane as possible. The park at a nearby 19th-century concert hall is set on a sunny meadow. Restored is the resting garden of the restaurant, which is newly supplemented by a steel pavilion with a green roof. A narrow street along the edge of the city was re-paved and flattened to transform it into a pedestrian zone.
Soon after the opening, the embankment became highly popular. Playgrounds are also used by children from nearby neighborhoods and villages. The civic association, which was the initiator of the whole project, evaluates the result very positively. The success of the project initiated a discussion on the modification of the following section of the embankment. Further adjustments will be needed in the future in places where the park was damaged in the 1970s by an insensitive construction of a nearby highway.