While public parks and gardens have closed down their doors around the world, in fear of the COVID-19 spread, Studio Precht has proposed a green space designed around the rules of physical distancing. Entitled “Parc de la Distance”, the project introduces an outdoor space that encourages social distancing and short-term solitude.
Shaped like a fingerprint, the park imagined for a vacant plot in Vienna can be implemented in any city around the globe. Visitors are guided by parallel lanes throughout the maze-like undulating landscape, each having a gateway on the entrance and exit, to indicate if the 600m long path is occupied or free to stroll. Inspired by French baroque gardens and Japanese Zen-gardens, the 90cm wide tracks of reddish granite gravel are distanced by 240cm from each other. Spiraling towards a center, where fountains are placed, the park redirects visitors once at the midpoint to circulate outwards.
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. 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. — Chris Precht
“Although people are visually separated most of the time, they might hear footsteps on the pebbles from the neighboring paths”. The stroller will discover along the 20min path different emotions generated by diversity in spaces. In fact, through the ever-changing height of the planters, “sometimes visitors are fully immersed by nature, other times they emerge over the hedge and can see across the garden”, always at a safe distance from each other. Offering a brief time of solitude, temporary seclusion from the public, a moment to think, to meditate or just to walk alone through nature, the Parc de la Distance is an innovative solution.
- By: Studio Precht
- Project Name: Parc de la Distance
- Project Year: 2020
- Project Team: Fei Tang Precht, Chris Precht, Andreas Stadlmayer
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