Wild Russian. Sokolniki Park by Wowhaus, Groundlab, Urbanica

Location MOSCOW, RUSSIA 2014

At the core of the project is the re-discovery of the park’s structure.
This will put emphasis on the historic structure and identity of each of the alleys currently characterized by one tree species, or in some of the cases by two or three species.
Each of the alleys will be given a character and thematic programme which will complement the existing tree theme.

NATURE GATEWAY seeks to identify Sokolniki as the Gateway for Nature into the city of Moscow and as a way for people to enter nature by linking the Elk’s island natural reserve through Sokolniki’s ecological corridor. This new image of Sokolniki park is emphasized by revamping the historical radial structure to become the 8 WAYS TO NATURE.
Bringing and linking nature into Moscow city’s heart and bringing closer its inhabitants and visitors to nature in a diverse variety of ways are the main goals of this proposal.

The project is based on 3 principles that enhance the existing potential of the park: its proximity to a natural reserve, the historical axial structure, its forest areas as well as the popular urban park next to the main entrance. Thus, the principles are based for creating a strong identity to the park as an embassy of nature, on enhancing its heritage of existing radial structure to access and to navigate the park and its historical architectural elements together with the introduction of a diverse range of characters and activities in the forest as well as its historical structure.
These principles respond to the existing challenges of the park: the lack of activities in the northern areas, monotony of the forest areas and the difficult way-finding as well as the creation of an international image/brand for Sokolniki Park as demanded by the competition brief.
In order to apply the above mentioned 3 principles as well as to implement the 8 ways to nature to create a successful embassy for nature the proposal is organized along 10 mechanisms to ensure its feasibility and viability in time.
These mechanisms will implement gradually the proposal while maintaining its natural character. They will activate the quiet and natural forest through the implementation of an ecological corridor in order to bring and enhance nature into the park through various activities in the forest. They will also enhance the 8 historical alleys which will gradually be transformed into individually characterized linear urban parks that lead people from the entrance to the northern areas of the park.
The project will organise the park generally into three areas: the City Park, a venue for various events and activities; the Urban Forest, an educational and natural cluster; and the Wild Forest, a link between Sokolniki and Losiny Ostrov.
This natural corridor will serve as a wild animal migration route from Losiny Ostrov to Sokolniki, reaching the very center of the park.
The way-finding strategy will be highlighted by an elevated entrance/viewpoint to the Nature’s Embassy which will contribute to the perception and understanding of the park structure. The new proposed entrance together with art installations will become the eventful landmarks of Sokolniki.
A new circulation strategy which encompasses alternative modes of transport within the park, new parking strategies and crossings that give priority to pedestrians will increase the accessibility of the northern areas of the park for all visitors. Minimizing the number of necessary fences and making accessible some of the third party ownerships and facilities of the park will result in greater benefits for the currently closed areas and for the extension of the park and introduction of activities related to them, such as educational visits to nurseries and greenhouses. These new relationship will fabricate an ecology of programmes that will be choreographed through a phasing strategy in time, resulting in a sustainable economic model for the park management and renovation.