Milada Lake Usti nad Labem
That strange shape: from black triangle to red rectangle
Driven by the aim of improving accessibility, maximizing touristic appeal and proposing a strong new brand for the Lake Milada region, our design defines a highly flexible recreation-oriented system of paths and piers, from which a clear new geometry – the Red Rectangle – unfolds.
Confronted by the ambiguity of the current lake contour, which is not natural, nor artificial, our design of the rectangular geometry overlaps with the existing coastline defining a new clear shape. Firstly, the Rectangle organizes the flows of pedestrians and cyclists. The Rectangle moreover, enhances the experience of nature while proposing a design that embeds the persuasive power of a logo. Thirdly, Lake Milada will be reconnected to the region and to the mining heritage of the area, while standing out as a unique entity, both symbolically and formally.
The territorial branding embedded in our project is tangible and experiential. In fact the Red Rectangle becomes a catalyst of multiple land-based and water-based landscapes that form the newly established Reclamation Park.
The new identity of Milada Lake starts from its palimpsest. The area in-fact has been defined, in-time, by a number of landscapes. Specifically, the historical wild landscape was transformed step-by-step- since the 1750s into an artificial one of mineral exploitation. Quarries – especially brown coal (lignite) mines, started to appear in the entire Ústí area, defining the character and economy of the region for centuries. Now the mines are being closed one by one, leaving behind a depopulated region, a suffering economy and a polluted ecosystem.
Can the local landscape become a driving factor of a new economy for the area, based on sustainable development?
The mining heritage is both visible in the geography of the area (artificial lakes, landforms, ravines) and in the local air quality which is one of the most polluted in Europe. In fact, the site lies in the Black Triangle, a highly polluted area located where the Polish, German and Czech borders meet.
Considering the challenges that the site faces, the goal is to transform vulnerabilities into opportunities: not only can nature-based tourism be expanded and diversified, but also the post-mining polluted condition can be turned into an opportunity. We envision that the site can display best practices of post-mining remediation, establishing itself as an international example that merges recreation with ecological solutions.