Candidate – Bulgaria
Submission by: Landscape Design Invest INVEST LTD., landscape architect Korneliya Matorova
Project name: Park Development, Landscaping and Improvement of the Physical Environment of Stantsionna Gradina Park, Stara Zagora in Order to Achieve a Sustainable Urban Environment
The Stancionna Garden was created between 1898-1912, with an area of 52 928 m2. The main goal of this project was to turn the desolate, wiht of ill fame garden into a place full of various functions and entertainment. How we achieved this:
- Reorganization of the space and complete renovation of the path network. Designing a new system of green areas with new geometry and clearing the old chaotically accumulated forms.
- Preservation of the main pedestrian streams established over the years.
- Preservation and inclusion of the existing large vegetation in the newly designed compositional frame.
- Design of park areas filled with various functions, suitable for use by a wide age group.
- The new park lighting makes the garden attractive for a walk during the late hours, while the video surveillance system-safer.
- The public square and the “art” alley are a space for concerts, exhibitions and other cultural events can take place.
The garden is the face of Stara Zagora, which all people using railway transport see, stepping on the platform of Stara Zagora railway station. The entire pedestrian flow from the station to the central part of the city and the surrounding residential areas passes through it. The project includes a complete reorganization of the alley network. Movement is conditionally divided into “fast” and “slow”. The “fast” movement provides direct passage from the garden entrances to the station square and back, while the “slow” takes visitors to the individual elements of the park environment. It ensures a calm and smooth transition through the individual zones and elements of the park space.
One of the main tasks of the project was the preservation and inclusion of existing large-scale vegetation in the newly designed compositional framework. There are over 600 large-sized trees of 25 dendrological species existing in the garden. Only diseased and dangerous trees were removed, and the rest were included in the system of newly designed green areas by forming green volumes around them, already laid down in the project decision. The newly planted vegetation complements the volumes, shapes the individual zones and is in harmony with the overall compositional solution. Open and closed spaces alternate, with the existing large trees contributing to coolness in the summer months. Newly introduced species have a spectacular habit, selected flowering time in different seasons. 121 new coniferous and broad-leaved trees and over 16,700 ornamental shrubs, grasses and perennials were planted. The species diversity includes over 30 tree species and more than 40 species of ornamental shrubs and perennial grasses. An automated irrigation system was built for the good development of vegetation and green areas.
The garden is richly landscaped, with spacious lawns requiring a lot of maintenance. An irrigation system was built, which reduces maintenance costs, and for this purpose an underground reservoir was built. The fountains work with circulating water.
Old broadleaf trees add to the coolness of the summer months. They provide shade in the summer and at the same time the sun’s rays pass through the exposed winter crowns and provide warmth. The fountains located next to the central square space provide coolness during the hot summer. The garden with its vegetation, green meadows, shady alleys is a “green oasis” to escape from the summer heat.
Wellbeing of visitors/users
With the implementation of the project, a sustainable, aesthetic and safe park environment was created, contributing to a higher quality of life, greater security for citizens. The square spaces, the “art” alley can be a place for organizing concerts, outdoor exhibitions, contests and other cultural events. The garden is fully accessible to people with disabilities. Young and old find their place for fun, relaxation and walking. On its territory is a large garden for playing and walking dogs. The garden has become a favorite place for sports, recreation and entertainment.
Selection, origin and quality of the products and materials
The choice of materials, plants, technical solutions, as well as the overall compositional solution of the park are designed from the idea of sustainability. The guiding principle in their selection is to create a modern, sustainable, functionally suitable and aesthetically pleasing park environment. They are exclusively selected to meet the aesthetic and environmental criteria laid down in the project. Paving is permeable by using different sizes and shapes of pavers. The main alleys serving the “fast” flow are a composition of light gray and anthracite pavers in a grid, and the secondary ones serving the “slow” traffic are done in warm colors. In combination with the flooring of the playgrounds and the green areas, the overall appearance is colorful, cheerful, playful. The park furniture – benches, lighting fixtures, waste bins, fountains, bike racks and other elements of the park design have been completely replaced and have a new modern look. Video surveillance has been built. Newly planted vegetation improves biodiversity. Together with existing contributes to the natural coolness in the park and improves the microclimate in the area. The materials used for the flooring, plants, and park furniture are of high quality, mostly from local manufacturers. For the complete equipment for children’s playgrounds, fountains and irrigation systems, we trusted leading and proven manufacturers in Europe.
The overall design, impact on the environment and innovation value
The project was an extraordinary challenge. Unlike designing and creating a new park space, here we had to create a completely new vision and breathe new life into the already existing garden, fully respecting the main pedestrian flows, the surrounding urban environment, existing underground communications, the existing green system. We had to fill the space with life, make it attractive and interesting for visitors of different age groups.
How did we achieve? By creating a completely new, innovative, contemporary design, a new system of avenues and green spaces with a new geometry. We preserved the tree plants and introduced new plant species. We have created new park areas filled with various functions, suitable for use by a wide age group, a venue for concerts, exhibitions and other cultural events.
The main challenge, namely the preservation and inclusion of existing large-scale plants in the newly designed compositional framework, turned out to be a difficult task, but a successful one. Only diseased and dangerous trees were removed, and the rest were included in the system of newly designed green areas by forming green volumes around them, already laid down in the project decision. The newly planted vegetation complements the volumes, shapes the individual zones and is in harmony with the overall compositional solution. Open and closed spaces alternate, with the existing large trees contributing to coolness in the summer months. An automated irrigation system was built for the development of vegetation and green areas.
Children’s playgrounds, the “Traffic Safety” playground, the sports ground have become a favorite place for children of different ages. The area around the fountain was the most visited place in the garden during the hot summer months.
The park lighting made the garden attractive for a walk in the late hours, and the video surveillance system made it safer. The square spaces, the “art” alley can become a place for organizing concerts, outdoor exhibitions, contests and other cultural events. The garden is fully accessible to people with disabilities. On its territory is situated a large dog garden.
With the implementation of the project, a sustainable, aesthetic and safe park environment was created, contributing to a higher quality of life, greater security for citizens. Young and old find their place for fun, relaxation and walking. The garden has become a favorite place for sports, recreation and entertainment.