This Maze-Like Public Park in Vienna Was Designed With Social Distancing in Mind

Courtesy Precht

Is this the future of green public spaces?

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted communities around the world, changing the way we go about our daily lives—especially how we interact with one another. One architecture studio in Austria, Precht Studio, is directly addressing the new normal by coming up with a plan for a public park in Vienna that would ensure people don’t cross paths and remain at a safe distance at all times.

Enter Park de la Distance.

Courtesy Precht

From above, the park would look like a human fingerprint and would feature winding lanes, each about eight feet wide, that would be separated by three-foot-wide hedges. Each path will have gateways at the entrance and exit to indicate if it is occupied or available for a stroll. Red-granite gravel will cover the pathways and each individual path would be a little over a third of a mile long that would take about 20 minutes to complete.

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The architects looked up to Japanese Zen gardens for inspiration where the path slowly spirals towards the center as well as French Baroque gardens that feature hedges in geometrical shapes.

Courtesy Precht

And while social distancing is at the center of the design, the creators of the proposal also see a lot of value in having a park like this one once life returns back to normal.

Courtesy Precht

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“For now, the park is designed to create a safe physical distance between its visitors. After the pandemic, the park is used to escape the noise and bustle of the city, and [people can] be alone for some time,” says Chris Precht of Precht Studio. “I think this pandemic has taught us that we need more places to get away. City centers should not be defined by their real-estate, but rather by their real escape—by possibilities that allow us to escape to nature.”