SOA Architekti transforms former graveyard into public park in Czech Republic

An elevated, winding walkway guides visitors through Park of Memories, a former graveyard in Aš, Czech Republic, renovated by local studio SOA Architekti.

Covering the site of a graveyard that was demolished in the 1970s, the landscape functions as a public park with a memorial, elevated walkways and repaired stone bridges and cellars.

SOA Architekti aimed to reconnect visitors with the cultural and architectural heritage lost throughout the history of Aš, as a result of the town’s proximity to Germany during World War Two and the Iron Curtain during the Cold War.

An elevated walkway features in Park of Memories

“The project aims to recall the forgotten values of the past and guide visitors through the city’s turbulent history,” SOA Architekti founder Štefan Šulek told Dezeen.

“It engages with its historical context by sensitively incorporating the memory of the site, such as concentrating neglected graves into a new memorial,” he added.

Park of Memories combines new elements with an archaeological route revealing old graves, the ruins of a former chapel and historic cellars repurposed as events spaces.

Walkway winding through trees
SOA Architekti created the park on the site of an old graveyard

At the centre of the park is a memorial for both the local community and visitors from neighbouring Germany, which takes the form of a large granite block incorporating stones of various sizes and small cut-outs for candles.

To the east, a paved square with fountains and benches provides information about the site, alongside an existing route leading under a restored bridge that connects the two halves of the old cemetery.

Accompanying this path through the site is a new elevated walkway, constructed from white steel and timber and raised on slender steel columns to create a symbolic “new layer”.

“The core concept for the design was to create a new layer within the park that would guide visitors on an elevated path above the original cemetery grounds, offering a respectful and non-intrusive way to experience the park’s history and nature,” said Šulek.

Aerial view of chapel ruins in The Park of Memories by SOA Architekti
Ruins of a chapel can be seen in the park

SOA Architekti also modified the existing surfaces in the park so that they could better absorb water, helping to reduce the risk of flooding.

The physical interventions on the site are accompanied by a mobile app called Time Trip, which provides visitors with further information about the park via a series of interactive locations.

Park with granite sculpture
The studio added a granite sculpture

Other landscape projects recently featured on Dezeen include a treetop walkway for “all nature lovers” by EFFEKT and Udaan Park in India, for which Studio Saar created a canopy of colourful birds.

The photography is by Alex Shoots Buildings.

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