The Riviera Beach is the first contemporary public space in the city of Sochi designed by the architectural bureau ab2.0 for the Metropolis company.
In the Soviet times, the Riviera beach used to be one of the most popular beaches in Sochi. With time passing by, due to the lack of comfortable walking trails to the cape where the beach is located, its infrastructure got dilapidated. Only local residents from the neighbouring houses, as well some athletes training there, continued coming to this place by force of habit. Following the global development plans of the city to erect a pedestrian bridge over the river Sochi and to create a proper walking trail, the territory of the Riviera beach was in need of a reinvention.
The reconstruction project was split into two parts. In 2020 the changes covered the first project part in the lower zone of the seafront. The key elements of the park are a wooden amphitheatre overlooking the sunset and combined with a 24-meter cascade rampant staircase, and the sites for workout. Small architectural forms specially designed for the project are scattered around the territory.
The amphitheatre shaped by illuminated multilevel wooden panels was created by the architects as a space for open discussions, performances or as a place for meditating and watching the sea landscape. The structure overlooking the sunset follows the spatial logic of ancient Greek coliseums where the trajectory of the sun moving was predetermining the architectural geometry as a whole. This site, harmoniously added by groups of various types of grasses, has become the most popular spot during warm seasons.
The opening of the first part of the project – the seafront line with a quality recreational development - proved how much the city needed a contemporary public space: the location has right away become extremely popular with the youth, tourists and locals in Sochi. In 2020 the Riviera beach was named Beach#1 in the Krasnodar region based on its infrastructure and popularity. Thanks to the project, the architectural bureau ab2.0 managed to revive this space making it famous again.
The second part of the Riviera beach project was opened in 2021. The project was aimed to transform the main entrance to the beach as well as the upper part of the seafront. The architects preserved the promenade zone, made provisions for clearing the space from kiosks and revived the public garden. On the left from the main entrance in the shade of the trees a space was allocated for quiet recreation, which visitors had lacked so much. The new administrative building has all the necessary amenities for the beach visitors, including a mother and a child room. On its roof there is now a new scenery spot with sunbeds where one can have a rest with the family or a company of friends, sunbathe, enjoy the sunset or the view of the night skies.
A major task for the architects while working on the development of the public garden was to preserve the existing hundred year old chestnut trees and cypresses. The decision was made to surround them with wave-shaped flowerbeds echoing the contours of the vegetation. To provide a shortest possible way from the park entrance to the paths down to the beach two new wide walking paths were created connecting the routes’ key points. A fountain with drinkable water was erected at the crossing point.
Winding paths leading to the different zones in the park spread from two main straight roads. Turning off the main path, one can have a rest in a quiet zone on the wooden podium erected around a cypress, enjoy the view of the olive tree in the shade or just chill out a bit on a bench surrounded by luxuriant vegetation. The dominating combination of grasses and violet colour flowers evoke the association with the sea waves, sea breeze and the wash of the sea. Exclusively for this curvilinear park, the architects designed special benches created based on their drawings in Moscow.
On the right from the entrance there is an open air exhibition space where different retro photos of this area dating back to different times were exhibited specially for the opening. In the future the exhibits might be changed and replenished.
The visual image of the whole seafront is predetermined by its functional content. At its basis we find natural materials (wood, cement, glass) and main colour shades, the contrasting combination of which highlights the unique nature of the territory. At night the seafront is lit up with the outdoor lighting system, which in addition to making the territory comfortable and safe at night finalizes the composition of the architectural concept. Bright light accents stress the natural and recreational objects.
According to plan, in 2022 the full redevelopment of the whole Riviera seafront territory is to be finished, including the embankment of the Sochi river, thus allowing to create a new circled walking route. The total improved area will cover 2.5 hectares.