A year ago I and my friend took part in “Spatial Inspirations” (“Inspiracje w Przestrzeni”) competition, organized by Polish magazine “Urban Greenery” (“Zieleń miejska”). Participants had to present their proposal for ecological housing developement and were free to choose the plot. See the description, masterplan and visualisations of our project below. I will be grateful for your comments – what you like and don’t like about our ideas, anything that comes to your head after reading and seeing it 🙂
The chosen site
For this work we chose a fragment of the Różanka housing developement in the north of Wrocław, Poland. The area is surrounded by six residential buildings (16 and 30 ms high) and at present is an empty, boring place, without any coherency. Most of its surface is covered with neglected grass. There is an artificial hill and some trees (most of all poplars and birches) in this setting.
Our proposals for ecological solutions
1. Stormwater management
Three dry bed streams collect water from one of the buildings’ gutters and lead it to some temporary water reservoirs. There grow water plants (eg. Typha latifolia, Phragmites communis, Sagittaria sagittifolia, Juncus sp., Carex sp., Acorus calamus, Iris pseudoacorus, Sparganium sp., Equisetum fluviatile) at the sides of the reservoirs, simoultaneously purifying their water.
2. Temperature reduction
The setting is exposed to the strong sun operation throughout the most of the day, and the temperature during summer reaches very high levels, therefore an attempt to reduce it is a need. Introduction of water elements and more greenery (trees, shrubs, grasses and creepers growing on the buildings elevation) could chill the air and change microclimate of this place to far more comfortable.
3. Biodiversity increase
We decided to increase the number of plant species by creating different habitats – water and meadow zones. You can find examples of plants suitable for water habitats above; for a meadow we suggest: Centaurea jacea, Cerastium holosteoides, Euphrasia rostkoviana, Plantago sp., Prunella sp., Achillea sp., Trifolium sp., Cirsium sp., Vicia sp., Phleum pratense, Poa sp., Festuca pratensis, Hypericum sp., Geranium sp., etc.
These new habitats will prove attractive for several animal species as well.
4. Ecological choice in illummination and small architecture objects
We chose LED Generation luminaires, because they allow ecological light emission.
The small architecture objects that we suggest in the project (benches, seats, dustbins) are made of natural materials (like wood).
Surfaces proposed by us (paths, recreational zone and relaxation zone surfaces) are water permeable. We decided only to leave asphalt surface on the street leading along the buildings, where residents drive and park.
Conception charasteristic – the shape
The shape of the conception, with its geometrical elements, refers to the way the buildings are arranged. The geometry is broken by the circular lines of the paths and dry stream beds, together with the greenery scheme.
The site was designed for residents of the surrounding buildings – children, young people, adults and the elderly. Because of a very diverse group of users, we proposed several zones offering varied possibilities for spending time outdoors.
This zone is covered with water permeable, ecological surface. Besides made of natural materials devices for children to play and develop their fitness, benches for parents and grandparents, you can find water reservoirs here, so the kids may have the possibility to learn to know, love and respect nature.
Playscapes are isolated from other zones and from the street with abundant greenery (shrubs and tufty grasses, like Physocarpus opulifolius, Spiraea sp., Sorbaria sorbifolia, Cornus alba, Symphoricarpos albus, Pyracantha coccinea, Miscanthus sp.).
2. Recreational zone
It is also covered with ecological, water permeable surface. There is an outdoor gym with equipment for training located in this zone.
3. Relaxation zone
This zone consists of benches and seats situated in the shadow under the crowns of the bigger trees and in niches among the shrubs. We used some elements of soundscapes to make this place more comfortable and pleasant for the people spending their time there – the sounds of water in reservoirs and rustle of wind in Miscanthus grasses will let them relax well for sure.
The criteria for choosing plant species for the area is first of all resistance to tough urban conditions (air pollution, drought) and photophilia.
VISUALISATIONS (the whole area, playscapes, relaxation zone and recreational zone)
A MODEL WE PREPARED FOR VISUALISATION