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1000 Homes of Nature, or the revitalization of a park in Baghdad

08 of November '19

Marcin Kitala won third place in the Dewan Award competition for the revitalization of a park in Baghdad. Congratulations! The architect's proposal titled "1000 Homes of Nature" is a unique story about experiencing nature and closeness to nature.

The competition task was to develop a design for Al-UmmaPark in Baghdad, which is currently a neglected and dilapidated place, surrounded by busy thoroughfares and uninviting to spend leisure time there. The Dewan Award competition is part of an initiative that for several years has been trying to stimulate discussion about rebuilding Iraq after the devastation of war.

1000 Homes of Nature

The intention of Marcin Kitala, an archiect at Kurylowicz & Associates, was to create a story about the interactions of people, plants and microclimates. His design for the revitalization of Al-UmmaPark in Baghdad includes more than a hundred different room-gardens, each with unique microclimates and atmospheres, a different type and combination of plants, a variety of colors, textures, scents, soils, sunlight levels and water arrangements.

© Marcin Kitala

The park is envisioned as a space for active contact with nature - you can touch different types of bark, enter each pond and observe how plants affect their surroundings and ourselves. Moreover, the diverse species of grasses, palms, fruit trees and flowers are meant to stimulate the senses and enrich the experience with colors and scents.

The greenery in the park is organized in horizontal planes - with the most sun-tolerant plants protecting the more delicate species, and mosses and herbs near the ground that need shade and moisture. The author of the project also provided for areas with total sun exposure, which will create sand gardens and enclaves of succulents.

Water plays an important role in the design, with water present in every state of matter - from ice in yakhchāls (traditional Persian ice domes), to lakes, ponds, marshes, and ending with salt and mist gardens.

© Marcin Kitala

The small and dense division of the gardens in a modern way refers to the irregular structure of Baghdad itself. In the design, the author tried to avoid drawing a sharp boundary between the city and the park. The designer wanted to create a democratic space where every visitor can express himself through contact and interaction with nature. Moreover, the park has no main entrance, making no garden more important than another. In the park, the architect also planned a new Al Umma community center, which is sandwiched between regularly arranged gardens, negotiating, in the author's words, between a man-made thing and a nature-born thing.

compiled by. Ola

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