Architecture practice Studio Saar has refreshed a run-down and underused park in India with an accessible landscape and a canopy resembling a murmuration.
Located on the banks of the artificial Swaroop Sagar Lake in Udaipur, Udaan Park has been updated with the aim of enhancing its connection to the surrounding nature and water while making it more accessible and inclusive.
To revitalise the space, Studio Saar adapted its landscape and added a maze, games area and extensive planting. A colourful canopy stretches over one of its paths and references the migratory birds that are known to fly over the area in large numbers.
“Through the regeneration of the park, we wanted to introduce a sustainable, accessible and contemporary design that inspires the citizens of Udaipur to rediscover their sense of wonder and reconnect with nature,” managing partner Ananya Singhal told Dezeen.
Despite it being one of the city’s only publicly accessible open spaces, the rocky and uneven park was previously run-down and had little step-free access, resulting in a lack of visitors.
“It had been neglected over the years and had become very run down,” said Singhal. “Some interventions were made in the past, with rubble masonry steps and pathways that crisscrossed through the site, but it was not an attractive place for people to come to relax and discover the local wildlife.”
Working around Udaan Park’s natural topography, the studio arranged a series of stepped and sloping spaces down the site, aiming to connect the street at its peak to the lake at the bottom.
“We reimagined the lost community park as a sequence of interactive landscapes from the street down to the lake that acts as a natural transition zone and encourages exploration and adventure,” said Singhal.
Existing paths have been removed, while waste cement has been used to create terraced landscapes and a flat area of ground underneath the canopy.
The remaining waste cement was used to create a wheelchair-accessible maze, which the studio lined with reclaimed tyres sourced from the site. At the entrance of the site, the maze is also bordered by flowering plants and medicinal herbs.
Elsewhere, reclaimed tyres are used as planters and play equipment including swings and tunnels. Swing ropes made from recycled saree fabrics also feature in the children’s play area at the north of the site, while old steel reinforcement bars have been repurposed as gates and fences.
Set into a lower area of Udaan Park beyond a stepped arrangement of walls and curved paths, a flat walkway sits underneath the colourful canopy that is supported by blue-steel structures.
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Designed to resemble the starling murmurations that frequent the site, the awning features 34,000 life-sized birds made from recycled plastic, providing shading to the seating and games area underneath.
A range of bright colours features across the canopy, informed by traditional Indian colour palettes and earthy tones.
“Personally, I’m quite fascinated by how the traditional Indian colour theory is vastly different from the West, and so, the traditional Indian colour palette became a strong inspiration for us,” said Singhal.
“By using these colours in the canopy, we tried to bring in earthy tones of the primary colours to create a striking installation.”
Across the levels of Udaan Park, a varied selection of local planting was introduced to support local wildlife. An area of soft planting featuring drought-resistant grass and newly planted trees has been added to the lakeside, helping create a peaceful nature-filled space where visitors can enjoy views across the lake.
“Udaan has a wide variety of characterful spaces, linked by the sensual aromas, colours and textures of locally sourced plants chosen for their ability to withstand the harsh climate while helping support and expand the habitat for the bird communities on site,” concluded Singhal.
Other parks recently featured on Dezeen include a park with an amphitheatre for motorcycle rallies and a Texas park that was refreshed with play spaces and an events venue.
The photography is by Ankit Jain.