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Sea Park in Latvia Creates a New Center of Attraction

Sea Park

Sea Park, by Substance, in Saulkrasti, Latvia. Did you know that waterfront locations are highly coveted for private investment? They are main points of city development. Prominent for their fantastic view and for livability, waterfronts often fall into private hands. Consequently, they are not open to the public at large. This is not the case for Sea Park. Saulkrasti County Council in Latvia was looking for a development where added value could be shared not only with residents and tourists but also take into account the economic benefits for the city. Looking for a niche among the seaside towns, the council decided to focus on recreation, tourism, and entertainment.

Sea Park, by Substance

Sea Park, by Substance. Phot credit: Edvins Gurspons

Sea Park

The park was designed to link the central part of Saulkrasti with the beach. Thus, the livability of the whole city was raised. Substance architect Arnis Dimins put emphasis on a reinterpretation of a well-known material and on the creation of atmosphere through physical design elements. The project area is located on the beach of Riga Gulf and covers 10,020 square meters. The site consists of primary and secondary dune ramparts and has barely flat territory between the dunes. Being very close to the sea but also to the forest, you can enjoy the sunset landscape, the smell of the woods, and the romantic mood. Dealing with the issues of the sea and the sand, Substance architects chose to work with wood, clear lines, and multiple zones for recreation, entertainment, and sport. What came out is absolutely fabulous!

Sea Park

Sea Park, by Substance. Photo credit: Edvins Gurspons

Creating an Unforgettable Atmosphere Even if the wood has an image problem by being low tech, it has the power to create an unforgettable atmosphere. It awakens multiple senses: The smell of wood reminds us of warm summer days and makes us feel closer to nature. Being aware of the multiple positive aspects of using wood, Substance architects chose this material not only for the key element of the design – the wooden footbridge path structure – but also for the benches, lounges, bike racks, and bins, which are also made entirely of wood.
Sea Park

Sea Park, by Substance. Photo credit: Edvins Gurspons

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The wooden footbridge deck becomes a kind of matrix, integrating all other design elements. Although wood is a light material, it is quite strong. Furthermore, having the coefficient of thermal conductivity very low, the wooden footbridge is very user-friendly and invites us to take a barefoot walk even on summer days without worrying about burning our feet on a hot surface.

Sea Park

Sea Park, by Substance. Photo credit: Edvins Gurspons

Sea Park

Sea Park, by Substance. Photo credit: Edvins Gurspons

The Importance of Good Maintenance Program As a decorative material, every board has its own esthetic and offers our eyes a pleasant color and slight turn from everyday images. With a little care and regular maintenance, you can keep wood looking good for years and you can prevent it from biotic (fungi, bacteria, insects) and abiotic (wind, sun, water, chemicals) deterioration. The Clever Inclusion of Exit Points Taking into account the issue of abiotic deterioration, the designers were aware of the unpredictability and capriciousness of the sea, which changes from completely peaceful and quiet to loud and billowy with an unquestionable power of disaster. Therefore, the exit points of the wooden footbridges on the sandy beach were created as wedges against the sea waves, designed with sharp, outward-facing corners. The best geometric shape to stay against the external influence was, in this case, the triangle form, as a key element of the new zoning.
Sea Park

Sea Park, by Substance. Photo credit: Edvins Gurspons

Luxury Meets Functionality Having this spatial flair of Riga Gulf and the quality of design elements, the project area creates a unique niche among the seaside towns. The paved squares made of round wooden pavement invite tourists and residents to various annually organized entertainment events, while other people looking for recreation can soak up the sun on the wooden lounges or take a walk admiring the gorgeous Latvian sunset. Other Activities Going on a Sea Park If you prefer sports and dynamic activities, two beach volleyball courts with small, two-level terraces and an outdoor fitness area are waiting from sunrise to sunset. While parents are taking their daily sport, be it in the fitness area or swimming in the sea, children can let off steam on the playground. Anticipating the multiple needs of residents and tourists, Sea Park by Substance reinterprets the usability of outdoor wood, which appeals to all the senses, creating a new center of attraction in Saulkrasti. Winning the Design Award 2014 shows that the park is a magnificent example for developing a public waterfront.
Sea Park

Sea Park, by Substance. Photo credit: Edvins Gurspons

Full Project Credit:  Project: Sea Park Location: Saulkrasti, Latvia Designers: Substance SIA architect Arnis Dimins Completion: 2013-2014 Size: 10,020 m2 Client: Saulkrasti County Council Builder: Fiberglass SIA Photos: Edvins Gurspons Awards: Design Award 2014 Show on Google Maps

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Article by Ruth Coman

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