Space Conquerors Park

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The first phase of Space Conquerors Memorial Park opened to the public the 12th April 2021, in Saratov, Russia. The project is a unique collaboration with the Center for Urban Studies at Lomonosov Moscow State University Led by Sergey Kapkov, and West 8. The memorial park is an epic endeavor, creating a celebration of the landing place of Yuri Gagarin, the first human to make a journey into space.

The Space Conquerors Park combines several sites associated with the landing place of Vostok 1, after it completed one orbit of Earth on April 12, 1961.

A cosmic legacy with global dimensions, the park is designed to be seen from space thanks to the light “orbit” and the light projection depicting Gagarin’s flight path, created by a line of small-sized led elements. West 8 worked at a variety of scales, from detailed material choices of the marble Wall of Fame to employing the necessary infrastructure for the new landmark location such as the new Saratov Pier / Canal and connecting bike paths. In addition, landscape architecture was employed as a narrative driver to convey and commemorate the trailblazing aerospace engineering legacy of Vostok and the Cosmos program.

From the creation of the Poplar Alleys as an internal coordination system to connect the new boat landing, Memorial Plaza and the Capsule Landing, to the (re-)creation of the original Steppe landscape of wildflowers, poppies, and field tulips, Space Conquerors Park brings to life the achievements of past, present, and future Russian cosmonauts. The new global landmark is a place for ceremony, contemplation, patriotism, and education.

Located under the city of Ėngel’s, near the village of Smelovka, a remote area of the Russian Landscape, phase one of the park includes two main locations: the Memorial Plaza (the landing place of Yuri Gagarin) and the Capsule Landing area. The park design encourages a variety of visitor experiences with three distinct entrances and a vast variety of atmospheres. From the enclosed entrance zone and media point to the expansive Memorial Square, the team have created unforgettable and impressive memories for visitors to the sacred landing site.

The opening is the first piece of the master plan, which covers the entire 240-hectare site, and includes five main areas. West 8 was involved in the Concept Design, Schematic Design, DD supervision, and Construction Supervision for various elements of the design. MCU carried out work on the adaptation of the concept, implementation of design and working documentation, development of a brand book and a logo for the park, design, and production of all elements of the park, architectural supervision of construction.

Ten years ago, I would have never dreamt of the Gagarin memorial project in Saratov. Yuri Gagarin is one of my childhood heroes. For us, for our Russian team, the project is extraordinarily interesting: the landing ground is almost a sacred place. The milestones of aerospace engineering, sublime Russian technology, started a new era of mankind. That ideology is the basis for the entire project, but the project is so much more! It has a cosmic scale and this is the energy we bring into this truly unique project” (Adriaan Geuze, West 8).

Gagarin is the man who was ready to die for the science and progress. He did not know whether he would come back or not, no one guaranteed him anything. This act of bravery was accomplished in the name of all mankind. It must be immortalized with this monument ‘Park of the Conquerors of Space’. The Park will be organized as an educational memorial so that people from all over the world can come to Saratov and honor the memory of the great spaceman” (Sergey Kapkov, Center for Urban Studies).

Project details

Design: West 8, Center for Urban Studies
Project Location: Ėngel’s, Saratov region, Russia
Typology: Cultural park
Built: 2021
Lead Landscape Architects and Masterplanner: West 8
Project Manager: Inna Tsoraeva
Architect: Nazar Dutko
Lighting and Industrial Designer: Perry Maas
Local Design: Center for Urban Studies at Lomonosov Moscow State University Led by Sergey Kapkov
Furniture design: West 8 together with Center for Urban Studies
Pavilion design: NOVOE architects (concept); WOWHAUS bureau (construction documents)
Monument and Landscape restoration: IGIT LLC
Photo credits: © Space Conquerors Park

West 8

West 8

West 8 is an award-winning international office for urban design and landscape architecture, founded in 1987 with offices in Rotterdam, North America and Belgium. Over the years West 8 has established itself as a leading practice with an international team of architects, urban designers, landscape architects and industrial engineers. With a multi-disciplinary approach to complex design issues, West 8 has extensive experience in large-scale urban master planning and design, landscape interventions, waterfront projects, parks, squares and gardens