Sokolniki: 4 parks, 40 forests
Sokolniki Park is not one park, it is several parks in one. Currently two types are dominating: the commercialized urban theme-park and a kind of low maintenance natural landscape park.
But Sokolniki Park, with its size and structure has the potential to house even more park types under its unifying ‘roof of tree crowns’. It can also develop an identity as a manicured city garden and a more open and less prescribed city park.
In this way the different identities make the park more attractive to wider audiences and allow for a more diverse programming and habitat. The coexisting identities unified by the forest make Sokolniki unique.
Sokolniki Park is the urban retreat, the big forest that houses urban treasures within it.
Sokolniki park is commonly perceived as one forest. With a trees coverage of nearly 80% the park can be seen as one continuous woodland structured by the radial system of main paths and made accessible by some experience trails that cut through the forest and link together existing program and newly programmed spaces, in relation with the natural context.
But there is much more potential than that.
By keeping the existing canopy of trees untouched, acknowledged as the main natural (and cultural) quality of the park, just by working various forest understories settings, a great variety of forest typologies could be generated.
The experience of the forest in Sokolniki today is pretty limited. Visitors mainly use the rays’ system to stroll or bike; usage of the forest is restricted to short accesses of about 100 meters. This happens because there is a lack of a path system of intermediate importance between the rays and the dense web of informal trails through the forest. The main concentration areas are the 3 main plazas that works as accesses from the city to the park and main gathering points. A series of food/drink outlets and kiosks along the main triangular structure are also points of high concentration. In a secondary level the whole system of landscape feature will attract a number people in the forest.
Thematic loops constitute a network to explore the park: Landscape and gardens loop, Festival loop, Playground loop, Horse riding loop, Mountain biking loop, Art loop, Adventure trail loop, Skiing loop
The entrances as themed event park zones: The main entrances are the most active centres of Sokolniki Park – themed event park zones around three functional plazas: Fountain Plaza, the historic, but currently only focal point of the park; Health and Sport Plaza in the North-West with entrance from the train stations; Forest Plaza in the North- East with the focus on “Nature in the City”