ASP Landscape Architects: With the growing density of Switzerland, urban sprawl and a considerate use of landscape are central subjects to the swiss spatial planning. Volketswil is a typical congregation in Zurich’s agglomeration, in which by 2005 the borders between city and landscape had blurred. The transition area was developing towards a faceless suburbia. The political decision to place a 14 hectare park exactly onto this area has proved an effective counteragent. Griespark has become not only the „green belt“ which helps control settlement growth but also a catalyst of urban and social change.
Griespark comprises of vast free spaces, the fairground of Volketswil, sports facilities and play areas as well as water areas. The park design makes a virtue of necessity: referring to its multifuncional use and its location between nature and city, it makes transitions – spatial, morphological, typological and plant sociological as well as functional ones – its main design topic. Referring to the glacial history of this area and its former use as a gravel pit, the park has a robust, stony and jet lush appearance, reminding of overgrown gravel pits or industrial areas. Instead of classical park trees, indigenous tree species which are typical for ruderal sites form copses, shady spots and visual axes that frame the view into the Alps.
With water being a typical element in former gravel pits, the village brook has been re-opened and feeds a new water landscape. Its linar waterfront lines the adjacent settlement, while towards the open parkscape the banks organically merge into the park. With increasing distance from the settlement, the intensity of use as well as the visibility of design decreases. Yet in some places the design aspect comes to light and becomes cristallisation point for interaction and interest: Here and there the paths lead through sharp, artificial cuts in the terrain, which accentuate the hilly topography as well as the geological and industrial history lying underneath the surface.
Project: Griespark Volketswil, Switzerland
Location: Volketswil, Switzerland
Surface Area: 14 ha
Client: municipality of Volketswil
Landscape Architecture: ASP Landscape Architects
Planikum GmbH, Zürich: site supervision
Roggensinger Ingenieure AG, Volketswil: construction engineer