Park U Bazénu / Park at the Swimming Pool

(Plzeň) Plzeň Severní Předměstí
GPS: 49.770502, 13.369353

The Park at the Swimming Pool, formerly the Central Park, is the main public space of the Lochotín housing estate. It spreads out over the entire complex on an approximately rectangular layout between Sokolovská and Komenského Streets. Its establishment is closely connected with the construction of the housing estate, which was carried out according to the design of Zbyněk Tichý and Miroslav Sýkora in the 1970s as the first part of the so called Northern Suburb, a large residential district for approx. 75,000 inhabitants. The park itself wasn't finished until the early 1980s.

From the very beginning the space served (and still does to this day) as a place of rest and leisure for the housing estate’s residents. Its character corresponds to a great extent to the usual concept of housing estate greenery. Most of its surface consists of grass areas crossed by several gravel paths; only the extreme parts of the park and some of the paths are lined with trees. The boundaries of the space are not clearly defined, so the park loosely connects to the grass areas that surround the nearby blocks of flats in several places.

In addition to several sets of apartment buildings, the authors also placed most of the civic amenities in the immediate vicinity of the park, a quiet zone far from the bustle of the Karlovarská and Lidická streets. They situated two large school premises at the north and south edges of the open space (currently the František Křižík Grammar School and Elementary School, elementary school of art and 31st Elementary School) and to the western boundary a swimming centre with indoor and outdoor pools, which was opened in the mid-1980s. In harmony with the discourse of that time, smaller works of art became part of the park too. A metal sculpture by the artist Miloslava Skalická was installed in front of the pool entrance and the Lidice Warning!, which commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Lidice village massacre by the Nazis, was placed in the northern part of the park.

For more than two decades, the park remained practically unchanged. Only during the overall renovation of the space in the years 2005-2008, an oval paved area appeared in its central section and the original irregular paths were arranged symmetrically. A children's playground was established in front of the entrance to the 31st Elementary School and a unique outdoor skating rink in the eastern part of the park. Its surface is made of special polymer plates, which have similar properties to ice but can be used all year round. The district city hall was considering further modifications of the park in 2014. In the end, however, only the swimming pools were reconstructed. Thus the outdoor swimming pool opened to the public after 17 years of being out of service. In 2015, the residents of the district decided in a public opinion poll on changing the name of the space to Park U Bazénu / Park at the Swimming Pool.