LOCATION: East Riverside, Ecological Reserve - Santa Fe, Argentina.
The project presents several and significant challenges from different perspectives. On the one hand, the lot is situated in an area with strong urban commitment, an area which is the key to the future development and growth of Santa Fe city. On the other hand, from a landscaping viewpoint, the challenge is the dialog between the building program required and the already existing natural resources, namely Setubal Lake and the Ecological Reserve. Finally, is it important to highlight the content of the programs that will be housed in the park, which will be devoted to the education of the people passing through it.
As main strategy, the project proposes the fusion between the green areas in the park and the building programs to be housed in it. Both the park and its buildings are conceived as unique indivisible pieces where one could not function without the other, designing functional and spatial integrations between the building mass, developed solely on the ground floor, and the people. The green space also functions as a mantle that covers the buildings, extending the pedestrian areas to its maximun and generating accessible terraces as support for the development of cultural and scientific activities as well as for the appreciation of the landscape from a height that imitates true urban viewpoints in relation to the coast and the reserve. In this way, the project’s blending into the natural surroundings is fully explored.
The distribution of the program of activities addresses an existing situation observed in the area to work on, which is dominated by a huge central space, thus locating the various buildings on the ground’s perimeter, as a tool to consolidate its edges. Towards the south, the rigid boundary with the Ecological Reserve fades away, proposing a reorganization and integration of the reserve so that the activities between both areas can interact, even through the unification of the Access and the Visitor’s Center. Towards the northeast, adjoining the grounds that belong to CERIDE – CONICET, rises the greatest building volume, where its own architecture functions as the park’s containment, establishing a clearly-defined limit between both. Finally, towards the northwest and on Costanera Avenue, the project develops the cultural exhibition uses arranged in a scattered fashion and marked by transparency and permeability, highlighting the contact between the green areas and Setubal lake.
Addressing the park’s educational objective, we propose a system of thematic focal points distributed along the pedestrian paths in areas close to the development of the specific topics they deal with, functioning as interest triggers for the various educational activities carried out in the place.
Emphasizing the east coast’s situation in a strategic connecting place with its future north extension, we placed a sundial, made of a tall slender element, which functions as a landmark and allows for the immediate regional location of the park in the context of the city.
The spatial and volumetric articulation with the immediate surroundings, through signs that connect what’s new with the existing nature in a complementary manner, adds a strong semantic load to this public park, which is a true urban and provincial referent.