Currently, the territory of the KTP with the forest space is like a barrier between the area of Aleksotas Innovation Industrial Park and the intended Žemoji Freda Multifunctional Area along the Nemunas River. In the future, we see the Kaunas Fortress Territory Park as a connecting element of the surrounding neighbourhood territories.
What should this connector look like?
In the future, such tendencies as "life & consumption" and "innovation & business" will prevail in the developing territories, so the KTP territory should be dedicated to "body and soul" as a connecting element. It is the topic of sports and recreation that combines the needs of the surrounding context. A lively and open park intended for residents of the surrounding urbanised areas and those who work in them, as well as for all Kaunas inhabitants who need a space in nature close to home, in order to be able to spend time actively in it, do sports or rest, to be able to maintain an emotional connection with nature, to live out their imagination and creativity.
This theme is strongly related to the military genius loci of Kaunas Fortress Park - the analogies between military sports and daily self-improvement through sports. This spirit can be continued, but not for combat. Soldiers strengthened their bodies to be ready for war. Now the individual again strengthens himself, but today for everyday life, for health and self-fulfilment.
The scenography of the historic fortress bunkers, the natural grown forest with lush nature and the expressive topography create a unique environment in the urban space that gives the opportunity for special types of sports and recreation to appear that are impossible to develop in other parts of the city. These new infrastructures could complement the existing offers of activities in the city.
A visit to the „Natural Sports and Recreation Park“ is like a trip to the wild nature in the middle of the city, where an experiential trail, equipped with minimal interventions, leads along different atmospheres - fortress bunkers, forest, meadow, slope, spring. In this way, nature and its scenery are framed for movement, knowledge and use. These small interventions are already enough to be able to exercise: jogging, nordic walking or promenading. The scenography of the trail changes and combines on its way both: history and nature, as well as sports and recreation - reflected in the installed infrastructure. It presents the unusual history of the KTP Nature Park, describes the various species of animals and plants that have found their habitats in this place over the decades and visualises and encourages physical activities in this area.
Wilderness also integrates minimal sports elements. Here you can climb a tree or the wall of a concrete bunker, shoot bows, go down the slope with a mountain bike, play disc golf, go down J. Bakanauskas Street with a skateboard unhindered by cars, and in winter you can ski here. There is a minimal infrastructure of natural and non-standard design elements that encourage movement. And here, children can move along a parkour made of natural elements, jump over stones, climb over a fallen tree trunk, or ride a skateboard on a structure/sculpture installed in the forest.
When installing the infrastructure of experiential trail, recreation and sports, there is a “design code” specially created for this park, aimed at preserving the authentic nature and historical heritage of the fortress. The new elements are sensitively integrated into the environment, but at the same time they have artistic value and strong design. This creates another layer that enriches the existing area.
Just as the character of the KTP territory varies - in some places open, in some places deep forest - the use of historic infrastructure also varies. Some bunkers are left for bats, some are arranged as multi-functional spaces for events and various activities, and still others are used as a meeting point for certain sports association, a climbing hall or a unique exhibition space.
The park is connected to its neighbourhoods by a system of paths, so it is easily accessible for the local residents. The workshop building of KTP, with its updated info service and hospitality, serves as the new Nature Park Center. An observation deck is installed here as a point of attraction and highlights as a landmark the main building of the territory. A cable car goes up from Žemoji Freda towards the center and a bus line stops here, so residents and visitors of Kaunas City center can easily reach the park. An outdoor exhibition between the center and the park leads to the entrances that are marked by conspicuous portals with distinctive design language. When you pass them you’re entering another world and the adventurous journey in the Fortress Nature Park begins.