Touching Water - Kotka


Luigi Valente, Matteo Rossetti, Lorenza Giavarini, Gianluca Evels, Stefania Papitto
Kotka, Finland
City of Kotka / Europan

1st place.
Kotka was born as harbour town for the wood and paper industry. The actual urban configuration has grown around this productive activity, with two main centres; Kotkansaari and Karhula. Nowadays the town’s main character is still strictly connected with the sea and harbour activity.The big emptyness in the competition’s area gives the opportunity of designing a proper ‘city’s piece’, on which we can express and realize a contemporary idea of living.
Some issues are always present and definitely relevant in the recent contemporary debates on urban design: the role that urban planning has in urban strategies, the connection’s meaning between scales and constant relevant themes and how it responds to the necessity of fast changes conciliating local expectations and international motives.
The project proposes a way of designing the city not as a succeding or overlapping of single objects or architectural episodes, but instauring complex spatial and architectural relations according to a “systemic” proportion of the city.
In this “systemic” idea, the vary architectural and landscaping elements integrate themselves in a proper idea of net, as alternative of a hierarchical and centripetal city or only made of architectural emergencies.
The built forms and spaces proposed by the project present themselves as ‘suitable’ completions of the landscape, urban or not, colloquial but mimetic inserts in the contest.
The project promotes the accessibility to any space and function, underlining the connections and free routes between the different parts and the rest of the city, and above all a new urban interface between land and sea.
The entire project is concentrated on this dialectic concept’s reality of the limit betweeen land and water: the cost line is contemporarely start point and end of the city’s territory.
It is the place where the limit of the vastness of the Nature and the sense of the anthropology’s made up order imposes itself. This city’s part marks a mediation between the nature’s infinity and the that basic human will of building ‘inside’ spaces.

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