Marielyst is a small town in the south of Denmark well known for being one of the most popular holiday locations on the Baltic Sea. Since the beginning of XX century its 20 km of white sand beaches attracted an increasing number of seasonal tourists, up to host nowadays 6000 summer houses in its area. The spatial configuration of Marielyst appears chaotic and it’s lacking of a recognisable identity; the main element of the urban structure is the principal street, a traffic vein that allows people to reach the heart of the small town, and from which secondary narrow streets start connecting every single wooden house. The subject of Marielyst competition was finding and providing a spatial organization to this place in order to structure an urban articulation among its parts. Moreover, an important feature to be considered in this site’s revitalization was the “beachy” atmosphere of Marielyst, its main character.
As usual, we worked with a multidisciplinary and international team, with the Danish landscape Office Kristine Jensen, after being chosen among 4 other finalists.
Our proposition started from the identification of the land’s shape, which changed its configuration many times until the present. In the past, the island of Falster -where Marielyst is located- was composed by three smaller islands and was crossed by water; the area had been also flooded and remained swampy for many years, until the late 1800, when it was drained. Inspired by this ancient situation, we conceived the idea of “Delta“, a sinuous and porous path that connects the dynamic activities of urban space with the relaxed atmosphere of a beach context.
The landscape project focuses on the valorization of the great quality of the natural elements that characterize the site -pines, sea, sand dunes, dike, grass- making them stand out very clearly. The concept of “Delta” appears with the intention of spreading many accesses to these natural landmarks, connecting them through physical and conceptual paths. The Delta structure allows to pull the beach ambience in the urban space, both melted in a fluid unity; the achievement of this atmosphere is possible by choosing very soft and discreet materials to create paths and furniture elements, by substituting the current asphalt with tracks, marks and signs that simplify integration between the two ‘souls’ of the place.
We elaborated one of the main aspects of Marielyst STRAND proposition, the activity plan. “Let it be fun!” is the motto we’ve chosen to summarize our idea to regenerate this area, being certain that the requalification of an urban space could not disregard the involvement of people in making the place alive.
The activity plan during daytime
Activity plan for the night
We’ve developed a series of entertaining and bizarre urban objects and we have settled them in the Marielyst area in order to provide several activities aimed to reinvigorate the site during summer as well as winter time. We have tried to get inspired by the surrounding environment to elaborate ideas that allow people to appreciate the visible and the invisible natural local elements.
Our proposition for Marielyst urban contest mainly consisted in designing urban objects strictly connected with natural elements that characterize the site, like rich vegetation, long beaches, fresh water and strong wind. The objective of our urban design strategy for Marielyst was to transform this ordinary beach on the Danish coast in a unique and very attractive site that could easily become a reference point for people who want to spend funny holidays in sustainable way.
The catalogue includes elements to enjoy the view of landscape from above (the watching tower, the balloon in the sky); elements integrated in the vegetation that allow to take advantage of its amenity in an unconventional way (the hammocks, the spider net, the hanging chairs, the fireplace); objects that transform the beach in a big playground (the playful tower, the oversized playground); objects that use wind to catch its power and transform it into energy (the windmill lamp) or just exploit its strength to create ephemeral landmarks (the wind fish, the wind parade).
Other elements are mobile and contribute to constantly change the configuration of the place, like the rolling cabins -temporary supports for sport activities or refreshment bars-, or the vehicles on wheels, a kind of elaborated bikes that could be used to move along the city and create temporary stages, movable slides, or on the road benches. Moreover a big attention is given to the socializing areas, as the rooftop terrace of an existing building along the main street, the picnic area or the water cloud, a playful object very useful to refresh atmosphere during sunny days of Baltic summer.