Shorter days mean longer nights. Here in Brisbane that means more opportunity to enjoy being outdoors in the evenings. Unfortunately, most of our parks are not designed to take full advantage of the cool respite arriving at the end of the day.
By contrast, this project in Medellin, Colombia, was specially designed to have visitors learning about, and looking up into the night sky.
This is Parque De Los Deseos – the Park of Wishes. It was designed with elements that reveal aspects of energy and acoustics, as well as astrology.
These shells bounce voices back and forth:
Water jets pulse with energy and rhythm:
Even the seating is designed to direct your gaze upwards, towards the stars.
Shade trees and structures are grouped around the perimeter of the park, providing daytime shelter.
A station for Medellin’s brilliant above-ground metro is located at the northern edge of the park, and the University of Antioquia campus is directly to the west, so the park is well utilised throughout the day.
This is a direct contrast to not-too-distant decades when the planetarium, botanic gardens and even the university considered moving from this part of the city during the years of cocaine war.
Sloping surfaces are covered in turf and timber, and used for sitting, lounging, and of course, people watching.
In the centre of Parque De Los Deseos is a large open plaza. It is framed at each end by buildings that form the Planetario de Medellin.
Established in 1984 the planetarium buildings include a science centre and library, auditorium, museum which provides information on the ancient Muisca tribe, and a visitor shop and café. On cooler days the plaza soaks up warmth from the sun.
At night, movies can be projected onto the building walls.
Other festivals and events regularly take advantage of the location and evening cool, filling the plaza with people.
Parque De Los Deseos is a deceptively simple park, with a minimal palette of materials and planting. It is robust, and copes equally well with large volumes of pedestrian traffic and small intimate gatherings.
But perhaps its greatest lesson lies in the way it takes a potential disadvantage – the hot, humid Medellin weather – and responds with a park that embraces the coolest part of the day and celebrates the beauty of the night sky.
Now it’s over to you.
What did you think of Parque De Los Deseos? Do you think there’s an opportunity to introduce more night-time use into a city park you know? And what did you think of those twirling seat-beds? Let me know in the comments below.
And if you know someone else who might find this interesting, why not share it.
See you soon for more garden, landscape and design stories.