Barrier Free

City as an Ecosystem

Mariupol’s squares and parks are essential spaces for the city’s inhabitants and the identity of the city in general. Nonetheless, they are all divided from one another and the roads and areas in between do not share the identity of the places that they lead to. This design proposes to make these places more than end destinations; we see them as part of an entire ecosystem. By blurring the lines between landscape and the built environment we create healthier cities where people, plants and animals all profit from one another’s proximity. People do not have to travel far to get to a park or green square; the experience starts right outside their door. The city as a whole, with blurred boundaries between the built environment and the lush landscape shape the city and the identity of Mariupol. 

PROJECT 

location

Mariupol, Ukraine 
 

client
Municipal commercial enterprise of Mariupol city council

partners 
National Union of Architects of Ukraine
AB ZOTOV&CO LLC

CANactions School 

year

2020
 

project

the integration of square, architecture and park

team

studio PLEK

Holto 

'Our public space has a big impact on

establishing the identity of our cities.’  PAD 

                                                   

The green boulevards lead to the main area where three identities of Mariupol come together; the harbour (the square with industrial elements), the city (the buildings form a green campus) and nature (the lush landscape that boundlessly blends everything together). 

 

Different flows of people, cyclists, water, fresh air all meet in this centre area where they become int-wined. This concept brings the aspects of the harbour and industry all the way into the city while the inland landscape grows freely, bringing two seemingly contradicting elements together in a functional area where trees tell a story of the different identities of Mariupol. The path structure with different hierarchy allows for the people to wander, to reside and to stray.

PAD_landscape_barrier free - marketplace.png

Barrier free means taking the first steps towards greenifying the city on a bigger scale. We are building the framework for a green unity where there is room for inclusive identity and growth. Roads are more than just functional spaces to get from A to B. They are the Green Boulevards where rain gardens provide pleasant ecotopes that purify the air and liven up the streets with birdsong and laughter from the cafés. Bicycle lanes promote a healthier way of transportation and we provide space for bike (repair)shops and other sustainable enterprises. By giving the plants and trees the space and water they need we create ecosystems that keep themselves in balance so that it reduces the cost of maintenance and prevents water damage and dominating species.

The DASU building is located on a very prominent spot in Mariupol. From kilometres away on the Green Boulevard, its monumental façade is recognizable. However, the building is in need of a technical upgrade to be able to house a lively community centre. With this plan, we propose to dig out and break open the first two floors of the DASU building. This way the community can enter the building from multiple sides and the two courtyards can be used as well: as communal green spaces and playgrounds where intimate festivals and exhibitions could be held. The character of the building gradually changes, with more public functions on the side of the square (such as cafés, restaurants, art galleries and studios) and more private functions in the back wing (the educational spaces and the offices).

The softening of the boundaries between indoors and outdoors means you experience the landscape from all directions. The building does not keep nature out; it is a part of it.

- existing facade remains intact (with minimal upgrades where necessary), serves as a structural backbone for the building

- further technical + climate 

demands will be met in the facades of the various boxes

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