Ecological Learning Park, Saltern Kopana, Evia, Greece
The “Kopanas” saltern are part of a wider coastal front ranging from the city of Chalkida up to the archaeological site of the ancient Xeropolis in Lefkandi. It is a Municipal property holding up a strategic location in-between the sea and the farmland of the Lelantine Plain, as a transitional space between the city plan and the coastal front.
The form of our architectural proposal is that of a center-oriented spatial formation in 3 dimensions seated within the area of the park.
It is situated at a point that is both nodal and strategic, so as to intervene as a neutral area between the area of the park dedicated to sea farming and the area dedicated to earth farming.
Its function is that of a structure organizing the entirety of the park, supplying it with water collected from both rainwater and seawater; the structure contains both museum and exhibition elements, in order to highlight the park's theme unity.
The main aspect of our spatial formation is the exhibition building developing in all its dimensions from the already existing building core. Its clear geometrical shapes are maintained so as to avoid similarities with other house buildings and promote its “beyond this place – yet based on this place” character. Next, the main exhibition area is linearly expanded to the limit between earth farms and sea farms (salt marshes) and steps inside the park with its articulated extension from its main body, consisting of two separate arms leading up to the two principal themes of sea farming and earth farming, respectively.
The first arm begins at the main area, hovering over the “salt pans” of the marshes and concludes at a core theme of sea farming in the shape of a crystalline structure of a salt molecule: a cubiform area sized 10x10 m., whose main function will be to host educational activities related to salt and salt marshes.
The second arm begins at the end of the neutral extension zone and gradually sinks into the ground only to conclude at a cubiform trench sized 10x10 m., in a center-oriented location of the land farming section.
The resulting overtone of the central area with the two theme arms is that of a tracing system separate from the grid of salt pans and irrigation, implying visitor routes of gradual width in the wider area of the park, and connecting points of entry from the sea and from the city. These tracings scale down the presence of the educational function and diffuse it in the natural and technological (historical and contemporary) reality.