The landscape design project was submitted to the Greek Open Planning Contest for spatial organization, development and promotion of the area around the artificial lake created by the Piros-Parapiros Dam, in the north-western Peloponnese, Greece and won the first prize.
The dam is located at the northeastern part of Peloponnese, in the hinterland of the region of Patras. The artificial lake will cover an area of 1,63km2. The proposal aimed to transform this haunted landscape to a sustainable park with great ecological value and local and national importance. The complex organization of the landscape design associates the artificial lake and the technical project of the dam with nature, through a series of land uses which honor ecology and wetland’s ecosystems values. The serenity of water penetrates our design and conducts the proposed landscape uses.
Τhe spatial planning concluded to certain objectives in order to be in harmony with the regional and national scale spatial planning guidelines, to restore lake’s landscape and ecosystem, to promote the protection of natural ecosystems and integration of the area into the wider network of natural and cultural heritage, to upgrade resilience – adaptation to climate change and to improve water quality and quantity – in alignment with the guidelines of the European Water Directive. Regarding the economic viability of the project, the spatial planning proposal aimed to integrate the study area into the wider development and production of the northern Peloponnese and into its tourist and production networks, to provide a synergy between the primary and tertiary sectors, as well as to strengthen the multi-functionality of the rural area.
The landscape’s analysis of the area performed into three levels: socio-economic, ecological and perceptual. The perceptual analysis revealed panoramic, filtered and enclosed views Although the inaccessibility is evident, many paths and small flow paths lead to viewing points towards the lake. Land cover presents diverse patterns of landscape structure, starting from dense pine forests to small arable land of grapes, grain, etc. and farmland. Few remnants of buildings and churches, uninhabited, testify the history of another era. Despite the abandonment and intense anthropogenic activity, the environmental value of the site is remarkable due to the presence of the forest. Regarding the socio-economic dimension of the area, the abandonment is evident and man-made presence is mostly concentrated to agricultural activities.
The landscape reclamation and design objectives focused mostly on wetland’s revitalization with bioengineering methods in order to protect existing habitats, to face the problem of unstable water level and erosion, to manage the sludge and waste, as well as towards the transformation to Eco-Tourism park with a variety of recreational and leisure activities.
In this context, the site was organized into three basic zones:
A. Environmental protection zone, exclusively for the protection of wild flora and fauna
In order to protect the embankments of the lake and streams from erosion and water level unstability, bioengineering methods such as fascines, brush layers, live plant materials in conjunction with synthetic geotextile mats were proposed. Artificial Floating Islands (dry and wet types) will be placed at the west edge of the lake in order to create habitat for fish and birds, to purify water, to improve the landscape and to preserve the lake shore by wave absorption.
B. Zone of anthropogenic interventions (area of the dam, existing settlements, zones of hospitality)
Any building expatiation was restricted to the only existing village at the north east of the lake. The proposal aims to create a camping site with a small number of wooden houses, imitating the character of a forest village. A visitor center with educational and environmental scope will be based close to the dam, in order to provide all the necessary information to the tourists/visitors about the watershed ecosystems and activities organized at the lake.
C. Recreation and entertainment zone(children’s park, mild recreation-water sports / canoeing, boating model, sailing, walking / mountain bike, sightseeing, platforms by the lake).
A complex network of paths starting from the dam and the Environmental and Visitor’s center, surrounds the lake and gives the chance to local and visitors/hikers to use a series of multiple vehicles (cars,bicycles). Installations for bird watching and view points are placed along the network, providing views and vistas towards the lake and sensitive ecotypes. However, visitor’s accessibility is controlled by the design, securing the fragile ecosystems from any anthropogenic intervention. Recreational activities such as a children park and water sports (canoe, kayak) platforms and activities are placed at the south and east water shores, securing the harmonious spread of visitors and taking into consideration water’s clearness.
Landscape Architects: Dr Katerina Gkoltsiou
Planners: Dr Marilena Papageorgiou, Danae Karamitsou, Theoni Kostopoulou
Architects: Mor architects (Dimitra Rahmanidou, Spyros Moudrihas, Vassiliki Repsi)
Environmentalists: Stamatis Matoulas