New Koper Urban Park is set between Piranska Road and the Semedela promenade, and between the Grande canal and the area just beyond the city market. Piranska Road represents a new stage in the development of the town’s infrastructure while the promenade is one of the more important features of the town having once acted as the link between the city on the then-island and the mainland. As such, it counts among the characteristic elements in the panorama of Koper. The connection ran between the sea and the salt ponds. As the city developed during the past decades, the former salt-pond area was gradually filled in. The land thus recovered represented a major development potential for the town.
Nowadays, these surfaces are partially built, but there are still extensive unoccupied surfaces, including the area under consideration. The key characteristic of the area is the immediate connection with the promenade and the sea, which is to be recognised as a significant spatial quality. The area is partially occupied by a large car park behind the city market. In the broader context, the area represents the first contact with the sea for the visitors to the Slovene coast, and it represents the starting point of the riviera between the towns of Koper and Izola. Only a comprehensive and co-ordinated treatment of the entire belt along the promenade will be able to visually and functionally connect the two currently separate parts of the town into a logical whole. This area needs an intervention which will bolster the free-time activities of Koper’s inhabitants and further connect the old part of the city with the suburbs of Semedela, Olmo and Markovec, which are strewn across the slopes of Markov Hill.
▼新的公园将大运河、旧城区和郊区连接起来，the new central park link the Grande canal with the old city and suburban areas
In line with the prognosis that the sea by the promenade is to grow increasingly cleaner, it is feasible that a new city beach may appear along the promenade. Successful similar examples show that a city beach is not only an area where people take a dip in the sea but that city beaches can become the most important free-time socialising space. Since the densely developed old town core does not allow for a sufficient number of large open spaces and constrains their size, and since we need to understand that convivial bustle, concerts, and late-night events disturb the residents in the immediate vicinity, the placement of such programme in the area under consideration is all the more suitable. The heterogenous forms of development which characterise present-day Koper – the old town core, the residential suburbs, the commercial and service development belt in the former salt-pond area, and the inescapable presence of all the infrastructure required by a modern seaport call for a space with an inwardly oriented form enabling a visual escape, but whose scale and outward expressiveness would rise above the heterogeneity of development around it and tie it all together.
▼一个内向式的场地，通过其宏大的规模成为场地中极为特殊的存在，a space with an inwardly oriented form enabling a visual escape, but whose scale and outward expressiveness would rise above the heterogeneity of development around it
The area of the new city park covers a sizeable portion of the wider site and its design can thus serve as a prototype for further interventions. The new intervention offers a uniform and attractive appearance, and with its intensive hinterland greenery, it drowns the heterogeneity of the surrounding built structures. The fusing of the elements of a city beach and a contemporary city park encourages the area’s residents and visitors to use the space in different ways.
▼公园融合了城市海滩与现代化城市公园的元素特征，the new park fuses the elements of a city beach and a contemporary city park
The basic building blocks of the new city park are monolithic, undulating urban elements. Their controlled placement in the space in combination with a pronounced topography of the green surfaces softly divides the whole of the park’s surface into individual introverted programme isles. The design of the individual urban elements consistently follows the different programmes. In places, they are taller and act as a shelter from views and the noisy surroundings; elsewhere, they are lower and allow for an unimpeded contact between programme zones. The organically designed urban elements form stands for viewers, an obstacle course for children, climbing walls, a backdrop to a seaside bar, a concert venue, a children’s playground, a reading area, and more.
▼公园中新置入了一系列有机而连续的结构，the basic building blocks of the new city park are monolithic, undulating urban elements
▼起伏的结构将公园柔和地划分为一系列内向式的小岛，the urban elements softly divide the whole of the park’s surface into individual introverted programme isles
Due to the proximity of the sea, the programme zones are appointed with numerous water elements. A pond, ground sprinklers, a geyser, parabolic water jets, cascades and a water platform in combination with the variegated urban elements encourage an active use of the space and an expansion of the future beach towards the interior of the park.
▼公园中包含众多与水有关的元素，the programme zones are appointed with numerous water elements
The planted portion of the landscape design is laid out only with indigenous Mediterranean vegetation. The strategically arranged tall growth complements the existing tree lanes on both edges of the park, gives shade to the individual programme zones, and offers the park area additional protection from the impacts of the surroundings.
▼本土的地中海植物被策略性地排布在场地中，indigenous Mediterranean vegetation is strategically arranged
In order to encourage as much diversity in the use of its space, the new city park doesn’t feature traditionally designed footpaths. Interlocking paving with a free arrangement of grass-coloured tiles is limited to the access points and the sections of the park where a more intensive use of the ground is expected. In this way, the visitors define their own path and their own manner of using the space. In case new content is added to the park, or if obvious desire lines are formed, which is very difficult to predict initially, this manner of paving enables an easy rearrangement of the compacted surfaces at a later time.
▼在入口区和地面使用率较高的区域铺设嵌入草坪的砖面，interlocking paving with a free arrangement of grass-coloured tiles is limited to the access points and where a more intensive use of the ground is expected
▼公园让使用者自由地定义行走路径， the visitors define their own path and their own manner of using the space
The innovative layout of the city park is a great new asset for the citizens of Koper as it enables the development of programmes which the city presently cannot offer. The new park is an attraction and with its unique form and the manner of spatial organisation, it transcends a merely functional park regulation. It represents a prototype for further designing of the wider area, as well as motivation for development-oriented attitudes in regard to other sections of the Slovene seacoast currently in a state of decay.
▼一个受到科佩尔居民们喜爱的新目的地，a great new asset for the citizens of Koper
▼场地平面图， site plan
KOPER CENTRAL PARK
The Plan Awards, Landscape winner
project: Koper Central Park
type: invited competition, first prize
status: built 2018
site: 26.000 m2
cost: 3.000.000 EUR
client: Koper Municipality
location: Koper, Slovenia
coordinates: 45°32’38.6″N 13°43’23.8″E
project team: Dean Lah, Milan Tomac, Gregor Vreš, Peter Karba, Polona Ruparčič, Peter Sovinc, Jakob Kajzer, Carlos Cuenca Solana, Nuša Završnik Šilec, Sara Mežik, Eva Tomac, Goran Djokić
greenery Spicy Garden
collaborators: Ivan Ramšak s.p. (structural engineering), Nom biro (mechanical services), Nom biro (electrical installations)
photography: Miran Kambič