Narva Joaoru Recreation Area Landscape Design

Location: Narva, Estonia

Year: 2009

Status: Competition, 2nd – 3rd prize

Size: Building – 1,367 m²

Program: Urban Design, Recreation

Project team: Alver Architects (Andres Alver, Tarmo Laht, Indrek Rünkla, Ulla Saar, Sven Koppel)

Credits: Moustache man: Eric Harvey Brown


Existing powerful space of the Narva river is formed by a straight Russian bank and a curved Estonian bank.

A straight line is introduced on the map. On the city side of the line, the landscape stays as it is, while on the river side the landscape gets cleaned up – “shaved”. The line reveals the character of the landscape by giving it a clear line to play against. On the shaven hilltops a succession of panoramic views is created. Just the way shaving facial hair reveals the face of a person in a new way, “shaving” the landscape might reveal it in a new way, as well.

In the middle of the river there is an artificial island. It is the only piece of landscape in this historic area (housing a unique juxtaposition of two medieval castles), which is unprotected by law. The island is visible from both the Estonian and the Russian sides of the river. The island could be a stage for landscape art. The ground material and vegetation of the island could be an object of periodical exchange as a land-art festival ground.