Ohrid Watersports Club_A Permanent Body to Measure Time

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Ohrid Watersports Club_A Permanent Body to Measure Time 

Greta Caterina Malavolti, Katarzyna Pawlik, Marta Iole Procaccio & Matteo Rapini


The project site is situated on the southern part of the city of Ohrid.
On the opposite side is the ancient remain of Samuil’s Fortress, one of the most important places in the area. Together with it, the new Ohrid Water Sport Club establishes the second limit of the city.

The project takes this symbol as an inspiration to create a new landmark. The result is a linear gesture in the scenery that incites a walk through the building and becomes a perceptual experience of changes in architecture and nature.
In opposition to the fortress characteristics, this structure is very transversal, accessible and open to the public.

The linear building is the fastest connection of opposite entrances. It also creates many occasions to take part in different activities and views.
The landscape, inspired by nearby fields, becomes a collection of vegetal rooms with diverse flora native to the region.

As a water sport centre it provides a great focus on sport facilities, but at the same time it is an interesting public space for many events. As a continuity, a walking path on the roof goes far above the water out over the lake as a pier, allowing users to enjoy sport shows and a unique lake view.


Who influences you graphically?

Our goal was to show the contrast between the strength of concrete and the blurriness and variability of vegetation, so we opted for patterns and textures that could emphasize this idea. Michel Desvigne and Piet Oudolf inspired us in the colors and in the way they combine different plants. LCLA Office was interesting in looking at the way they represent water, nature, mixed textures and drawings. For some plans and views we surely kept in mind many Radical pictures, from the avant-garde period to current representatives. For daily inspirations we constantly surf attractive blogs and sites, and of course we use Behance and Pinterest to be kept up to date on what other students do.

How was the materiality of the proposal born out of an understanding of the context?

The town needed an end, a landmark that could signal its southern border, establishing a solid dialogue with its history but being able to embrace its future. We also wanted to ensure a direct connection from the main street accesses to the lake, but the plot was too big and the brief too strict in terms of square meters permitted. The best solution was to create a simple, linear strong gesture in the landscape.
One sign to answer all the intents.
The ancient Samuil’s Fortress was the counterpoint of the project in terms of image, materiality and significance for the town, while studying Aurelio Galfetti’s pools in Bellinzona helped us articulate our ideas.

The proposal appears to very austere in terms of material when compared to the surrounding environment, is this something which derives from the proximity to Ohrid?

Our water sports club was conceived as a public reference point, a symbol. At the same time it needed to communicate strength and protection, like a contemporary fort that stands out against the natural surrounding. We believed concrete could materially express a historical link whilst maintaining a modern character, something rooted to the soil but able to grow old, modify and survive time. Perhaps Ohrid will host two ruined fortresses one day…

What significance does showing the usage of public space through the varying seasons hold?

Our research was led by the desire to guarantee a continuous use of the architecture. The building had to be able to attract sportsmen throughout the year for different activities not necessarily connected to water. We also tried to design an interesting structure, which would appeal to those who don’t practice any sport. The linear building was conceived as the perfect way to experience different public indoor and outdoor activities. Articulating them in a path that cuts florid but mutable greenery gradually changes our perception of the environment.

How does the changing of the vegetation according to the season impact this perpetual atmosphere one experience when walking through the building?

This contrast was one of the most interesting effects we wanted to achieve. Consciousness of time passing, of vegetation changing. The architecture gives the possibility to experience diverse views of colors and landscapes from the best points of view according to the season.
As the building is a long line that measures the environment, it also acts as a permanent body to measure time.


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