Stockholm-based MANDAWORKS has been named as winners of a landscape design competition to envision the future of Lake Milada in Northern Czechia. The winning scheme, titled “Living Landscape,” is organized around three core principles: living nature, living destination, and a living future. Set on and around a large former surface mine, the scheme seeks to reclaim, strengthen, and celebrate the existing landscape while establishing new views of the site’s vast lake.
The site centers on a large surface mine constructed in the 1970s, which operated until 1994. Following the end of mining activities, the quarry underwent a major reclamation process which saw the creation of a 250-hectare lake, named Lake Milada. An international design competition was launched in 2020 as part of this reclamation process, seeking a new landscape vision for how the 10-square-kilometer site could be developed to benefit locals and visitors.
The team’s first strategy, Living Nature, seeks to provide a “vision for creating a rich, biodiverse ecological foundation around the lake.” To achieve this, the design includes the introduction of forested and grassy habitats in the existing landscape, along with the naturalization of lakeshore and wetland areas. These habitat areas form the focal point of a new “landscape framework” which will allow their natural expansion over time.
Meanwhile, the Living Destination strategy offers architectural interventions to transform the former mining landscape into a national recreational destination. Visitor areas are positioned at the four main entrance areas around the lake, with a concentration of high-intensity activities and cultural destinations improving accessibility for visitors, and protecting the surrounding natural habitats.
A collection of architectural structures inspired by the site’s mining history are strategically placed across the site. The lightweight structures seek to “build a cohesive identity throughout the park and offer new and exciting ways to experience the landscape.” Highlights include a “sunken village” floating above the lake, a shelter overlooking the landscape from high altitude, an elevated shelter framing a view of the wetland area, and a lookout tower above the trees.
The final strategy, Living Future, details a proposal for managing and financing the operation of the site. Adopting a “high value, low maintenance” approach, the team has created a hierarchy of management needs by defining specific zones in the landscape, to aid the allocation of resources. A range of productive industries is also accommodated, including sustainable forestry, pastures for small-scale agriculture, and ecological field research zones. These operations combine with tourism to create a diverse revenue proposal to aid the site’s long-term operation.
MANDAWORKS’ winning scheme was chosen via a two-stage competition process, firstly as one of six pre-qualified international teams, and finally from a narrowed pool of three second-phase finalists.
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