Blucher Square

designed by /

Location: Russia / Type: Playgrounds / Squares and Plazas / Water features / Built: 2022 /
Show on Google Maps / Published on July 31, 2023

The territory is located in the city center, near historical buildings, parks, and pedestrian boulevards. This location makes the square part of a pedestrian route and attracts not only locals but also residents from neighbouring districts and tourists.

We have identified several unique features of the city:
• The city is situated on 3 hills and 2 rivers (the rivers have been concealed underground, and green pedestrian boulevards have been created in their place).
• The city smoothly descends towards the Amur River.
• The architecture of the historical buildings combines red and grey Manchurian brick.

All these distinctive features have been reflected in the concept of the reconstruction of Blucher Square.
First and foremost, we analyzed the users and usage scenarios of this area, studied pedestrian routes, and explored the surrounding territories and their functional characteristics. Based on this research, the territory was divided into several important functional zones: an event space, play hub, and a relaxation area.

For a long time, Blucher Square has served as a venue for district events, including the New Year’s tree, seasonal events, fairs, and community gatherings. We have preserved this important scenario and created a large square, separated from the noisy road and public transportation stop by regular linden planting.

The central and cosiest part of the territory is dedicated to the play hub, which is a playground with opportunities for visitors of all ages, from toddlers taking their first steps to teenagers.

A relaxation area has emerged in the shade of the trees, with picnic tables, ping-pong, and chess.
A wide transit boulevard runs alongside all these zones, serving as an important pedestrian artery for the city.

Since the territory directly adjoins a residential building, it was crucial to create a quiet zone along the facade. This gave rise to a wide strip of buffering greenery, an intricate winding path made of gravel for walks, inaccessible to scooters, running, and large crowds.

The main collective and focal element of the space is an extensive multi-level brick wall that serves as a direct reference to the most prominent historical brick buildings in Khabarovsk. The wall’s shape imitates the natural relief of the city with constant descents and ascents. As a result, three elevations and two depressions were created, each with different functions designed for visitors of varying ages.

The first elevation is a hill for the youngest visitors with a small house at the top. At this point, the wall changes its shape and transforms into a play slope with a slide and a climbing wall, while a small niche becomes a secret hideaway. Surrounding the wall is a large sandbox with swings and sand pits for toddlers.

The second elevation is a hill for experiments and creativity. The wall transforms into steps that are easily climbable from all sides. Here, visitors can draw water from a stream, channel it through canals and “puddles”, mix it with sand, build dams, and search for hidden fish and animals. At the top of the hill there is a platform with columns and trays where water cascades can be created and water mills can be set in motion.

The third elevation is a hill with a tower and a slide for children over 7 years old. Here, the wall is the highest and sheerest, filled with various ways of descending and ascending. From the top platform of the tower, the entire area can be observed, and one can slide down a 5-meter slide. At the foot of the hill, a climbing forest grows with ropes, nets, and webs for the most daring and active visitors. The nets at height are particularly popular among teenagers who want to hide higher up, hang out with friends, and observe what is happening from above.

Between the elevations, the wall gradually lowers, turns into seating areas, or practically disappears, forming recesses or large “depressions” for play. The first “depression” is a large sandbox area where creative play develops between visitors of different ages and with varying health restrictions. The second “depression” is a zone for dynamic play, featuring a carousel, a rocking boat, and discs for jumping.

A gentle stream, which is a collective representation of the Amur River, flows along the entire play hub with smooth curves. The stream culminates in a broad basin with mist and a fountain. In addition to its recreational function, the stream serves as a boundary between the transit boulevard and the play hub.
Approaching the flower beds adjacent to the square, the functional intensity of the space calms down. Here, a winding path made of gravel appears for leisurely walks. Swings and hammocks, accessible both for children’s play and adult relaxation, adjoin the path. In the evening, soft and sparse lighting ensures safety without illuminating residential windows.

On both sides of the play hub, there are squares — a large open space for city events and a quiet, green, and cozy area for relaxation. The festival square is separated from the bustling Lenin Street by rows of planted linden trees, and a small pavilion with a cafe on a podium separates it from the play hub. With this arrangement, the cafe functions on both sides — as a stage for the square and as a shaded resting spot for parents observing their little ones. The second square has formed in the shade of existing trees, where picnic tables, chess tables, ping-pong tables, and benches for relaxation are placed. Existing plantings have been grouped into islands, supplemented with fruit trees and flowerbeds to create an urban garden atmosphere, while garlands add romance and coziness in the evening.

Project Data

Landscape Architecture: AFA Group

Design year: 2021

Year Built: 2022

Photographer: PIK


The Streetview may show the condition before the intervention

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