SLANT FEST shortlisted projects

All the shortlisted projects are now available in full on SLANT website click and on SLANT Facebook page click. You can view mine as well here and here, but, anyway, I’m presenting my work here as well! 🙂

The competition theme is “Evoking Memories” and everybody was free to interpret it. Here is a description of my project:

Interpretation of theme
When I look back into the times of my childhood, I remember spending time outdoors mostly. Running up and down a big courtyard, climbing trees, looking for snails and grasshoppers in the weeds, eating mulberries and hazel nuts while sitting on a branch, and playing in an old orchard. Many people I have asked have very similar memories from their
childhood. When I watch children today, I come to a sad conclusion that they were not given this opportunity we had – to spend their early years outdoors in natural environment. They play on streets, among buildings and cars. Also adults have too few possibilities to experience nature in the city and they tend to forget how they were spending their time when they were kids.

The main idea of the present work is to design a space between apartment houses in a way that will enable adults to evoke memories of their childhood spent in a close contact with nature, and, simultaneously, give their own children a wonderful opportunity to learn from their early years to discover and respect nature by spending time in it. Thus, the created area provides a room, encouraging adults and children to occupy themselves with various activities. During the designing process I added to the concept several elements reminding me my own childhood – a mulberry tree, hazel shrubs and fruit trees referring to the orchard. Therefore, my interpretation of the competition theme combines childhood memories of different people on one hand and, on the other, my personal ones.

Plot location
The chosen plot is located in the south-west of Wrocław, one of the biggest cities in Poland. Its area is 695 m2 of irregular shape. It is not designed currently. The space is enclosed by four-floor apartment houses, inhabited mainly by families with little children.

Design description

Boundary and entrances
The plot is enclosed by beech and common ninebark hedge from north, east and south side; west side is screened by a wooden fence. The boundaries are 2m high, giving feeling of privacy. The area can be entered by two entrances – each is as wide as the main path leading through the plot (150 and 120cm, respectively).

Use of hard materials
The design provides natural materials, like wood (benches, logs, stormwater container, swings), stone (stone path) and gravel (main path), but also a metal element can be found (a tower).

Use of plants
Only native plant species were selected. Another criteria for choosing the species was ability to grow in average soil and full sun, as these are the plot conditions. As the size of the plot is rather small, a limited number of taxas was proposed. You can find the plant species list in the project presentation. Meadow species were not included as they grow on their own and their number varies from season to season; species planted in the gardening area were not included to the list either, because it is people who decide which taxas grow there.

Zones
The designed plot is divided into three zones: recreational (I), wildlife (II) and gardening zone (III).

The majority of the recreational zone is covered with lawn, provided for leisure activities (playing a ball or badminton, picnicking, sitting on the grass, etc). There are spaced fruit trees, blossoming in spring and bearing fruits in autumn. People can admire them and eat their fruit. The cherry tree is provided with a swing attached to its branches. The recreational zone is separated from the outside space with a wooden fence, covered with several varieties of clematis creepers, blooming during spring and summer. Alongside the fence there are placed benches made from wood. They can be used, for instance, by adults to sit and watch their children playing. Between the benches there grow flowering plants (lavender, ornamental garlic, snake – root, violet sage) and some neutral-hue, soothing the colourful species, plants (hoary mugwort, acutiflorous reed grass, fescue).

There is also a small, about 2m high, hill designed here. It was created particularly for small kids to run up and down and roll about in summer or sledge in winter. Along the hill there weaves a stone path, continuing in through the trees to the next zone.

The wildlife zone is meant to provide abundance of flora and fauna species, as diverse as possible in the area limited in size and situated in the middle of the housing development. Its northern part was designed with trees and shrubs (birches, rowans, snowballs). It offers attractive opportunities for fans of hiding and climbing. Similarly as in the first zone, there are swings fixed to the branches of bigger trees. You will find also a mulberry tree in this part. Southern part of this zone is a meadow covered with wild plants. Here one can watch a great deal of butterflies and other insects accompanying the plants. The meadow is separated from the main path by elder shrubs. The stone path leads throughout the whole zone.

The gardening zone is created above all for horticultural purposes. Here children can learn how to grow plants and take care of them. There are sectors for particular plants prepared in this part of the zone, but no plant species are proposed. This is not designed, but left for people to shape it. Next to the gardening area there is a metal tower, 2m high, provided for people to climb it and watch gardens they have prepared, and the rest of the plot. In the corner of this zone there is a wooden container to collect stormwater to be used to water the plants. There are several trees and shrubs belonging to the gardening zone – hazel bushes with branches for kids to sit on and pick up nuts, already existing Douglas fir, providing opportunity to play hide-and-seek under its thick boughs, and some fruit trees.

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