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Studio Precht unveils design for spiral park proposing physical distancing for outdoor gardens
Austria Architecture News - Apr 21, 2020 - 15:05 5489 views
Austria-based architecture practice Studio Precht has designed a spiral park that proposes physical distancing and short-term solitude during the coronavirus pandemic.
The park, comprised of continuous hedges with 90cm wide to each other, offers a calm and much more private atmosphere for people who want to spend more time in public parks and gardens.
Studio Precht proposed its design idea after many public parks and gardens were closed due to the novel coronavirus, with the worry that the rules of physical distancing are not practiced.
The firm proposes the park for a vacant plot in Vienna, but it said that it is elaborated for a proposal for now. "But I think this pandemic has taught us that we need more places to get away," said Chris Precht, founding partner of Studio Precht.
"During the pandemic many public parks and gardens closed with the worry that the rules of physical distancing are not practiced. In Vienna, all famous parks, like Schönbrunn or Belvedere closed their gates and residents had to use streets and alleys to stretch their legs," said Studio Precht in its project description.
"But how would a park look that introduces the rules of physical distancing as a design-guideline?," added the studio.
Named Park de la Distance, the park encourages physical distance and is shaped by the human touch: a fingerprint. Like a fingerprint, parallel lanes guide visitors through the undulating landscape. Every lane has a gateway on the entrance and exit, which indicates if the path is occupied or free to stroll.
The lanes are distanced 240cm from each other and have a 90cm wide hedge as a division. Along their path, people walk on reddish granite gravel. Although people are visually separated most of the time, they might hear footsteps on the pebbles from the neighbouring paths.
Each individual journey is about 600m long. The height of the planters varies along this journey and give different levels to the hedges throughout the park. Sometimes visitors are fully immersed by nature, other times they emerge over the hedge and can see across the garden. But at all times, they keep a safe physical distance to each other.
Studio Precht takes inspiration from a Japanese zen-garden, the paths slowly spiral towards a center, where fountains are placed. These symbolise a source of life and inner balance.
"From the center, visitors continue to circulate outwards. The individual journey takes around 20 minutes and offers something very unique for bustling urban areas: A brief time of solitude. A temporary seclusion from the public. A moment to think, to meditate or just to walk alone through nature," explained the studio.
"The project started with a couple of questions regarding this pandemic. What would a park look like and how would it function if it takes the rules of social distancing as a design guideline," said Chris Precht, founding partner of Studio Precht.
"And what can we learn from a space like this that still has value after the pandemic."
"For now, the park is designed to create a safe physical distance between its visitors. After the pandemic, the park is used to escape the noise and bustle of the city and be alone for some time. I lived in many cities, but I think I have never been alone in public. I think that’s a rare quality," Precht added.
According to Chris Precht, this global pandemic has taught us many things, like people need more places to get away. "City centres should not be defined by their real-estate, but rather by their real escape. By possibilities that allow us to escape to nature," he continued.
"Instead of banks, traffic and office blocks, city centres should be redesigned by parks, wilderness and plants. The lack of nature is an issue of many urban areas and I hope that the 'Parc de la Distance' can offer an escape in a more regions," Precht added.
Studio Precht - previously known as Penda - is located in the mountains of Austria. Studio Precht was founded by Chris and Fei Tang Precht in 2017 and they produce projects in various scales and sizes by adopting the green design approach.
Chris Precht gave a lecture at the 2019 reSITE, an annual conference on urbanism in Prague. Held under the theme of REGENERATE, Precht explained how he combines nature with his building by offering loops for food production.
Project name: Park de la Distance
Architects: Studio Precht
Team: Fei Tang Precht, Chris Precht, Andreas Stadlmayer
All images © Studio Precht
> via Studio Precht