New Koper Urban Park is set between Piranska Road and the Semedela promenade, and between the Grande canal and the area just beyond the city market. Piranska Road represents a new stage in the development of the town’s infrastructure while the promenade is one of the more important features of the town having once acted as the link between the city on the then-island and the mainland. As such, it counts among the characteristic elements in the panorama of Koper.
The key characteristic of the area is the immediate connection with the promenade and the sea, which is to be recognised as a significant spatial quality. The area is partially occupied by a large car park behind the city market. In the broader context, the area represents the first contact with the sea for the visitors to the Slovene coast, and it represents the starting point of the riviera between the towns of Koper and Izola. Only a comprehensive and co-ordinated treatment of the entire belt along the promenade will be able to visually and functionally connect the two currently separate parts of the town into a logical whole, as the old part of the city with the suburbs of Semedela, Olmo and Markovec, which are strewn across the slopes of Markov Hill.
Since the densely developed old town core does not allow for a sufficient number of large open spaces and constrains their size, and since we need to understand that convivial bustle, concerts, and late-night events disturb the residents in the immediate vicinity, the placement of such programme in the area under consideration is all the more suitable. The heterogenous forms of development which characterise present-day Koper – the old town core, required by a modern seaport call for a space with an inwardly oriented form enabling a visual escape, but whose scale and outward expressiveness would rise above the heterogeneity of development around it and tie it all together.
The area of the new city park covers a sizeable portion of the wider site and its design can thus serve as a prototype for further interventions. The new intervention offers a uniform and attractive appearance, and with its intensive hinterland greenery, it drowns the heterogeneity of the surrounding built structures. The fusing of the elements of a city beach and a contemporary city park encourages the area’s residents and visitors to use the space in different ways. The basic building blocks of the new city park are monolithic, undulating urban elements.
Their controlled placement in the space in combination with a pronounced topography of the green surfaces softly divides the whole of the park’s surface into individual introverted programme isles. The design of the individual urban elements consistently follows the different programmes. In places, they are taller and act as a shelter from views and the noisy surroundings; elsewhere, they are lower and allow for an unimpeded contact between programme zones.
The organically designed urban elements form stands for viewers, an obstacle course for children, climbing walls, a backdrop to a seaside bar, a concert venue, a children’s playground, a reading area, and more. Due to the proximity of the sea, the programme zones are appointed with numerous water elements. A pond, ground sprinklers, a geyser, parabolic water jets, cascades and a water platform in combination with the variegated urban elements encourage an active use of the space and an expansion of the future beach towards the interior of the park.
The planted portion of the landscape design is laid out only with indigenous Mediterranean vegetation. The strategically arranged tall growth complements the existing tree lanes on both edges of the park, gives shade to the individual programme zones, and offers the park area additional protection from the impacts of the surroundings. In order to encourage as much diversity in the use of its space, the new city park doesn’t feature traditionally designed footpaths. Interlocking paving with a free arrangement of grass-coloured tiles is limited to the access points and the sections of the park where a more intensive use of the ground is expected.
In case new content is added to the park, or if obvious desire lines are formed, which is very difficult to predict initially, this manner of paving enables an easy rearrangement of the compacted surfaces at a later time. . The new park is an attraction and with its unique form and the manner of spatial organisation, it transcends a merely functional park regulation. It represents a prototype for further designing of the wider area, as well as motivation for development-oriented attitudes in regard to other sections of the Slovene seacoast currently in a state of decay. Source by ENOTA.
- Location: Koper, Slovenia
- Architect: ENOTA
- Project Team: Dean Lah, Milan Tomac, Gregor Vreš, Peter Karba, Polona Ruparčič, Peter Sovinc, Jakob Kajzer, Carlos Cuenca Solana, Nuša Završnik Šilec, Sara Mežik, Eva Tomac, Goran Djokić
- Structural Engineering: Ivan Ramšak s.p.
- Mechanical services: Nom biro
- Electrical installations: Nom biro
- Client: Koper Municipality
- Area: 26.000 m2
- Cost: 3.000.000 EUR
- Year: 2018
- Photographs: Miran Kambič, Courtesy of ENOTA