The Kaplankaya Marina isn’t really a marina, it’s a park within the stunning Aegean landscape. Approaching the design of this project the challenge was how to create space whilst having minimum impact on the site. The natural beauty of the environment is the main attraction here and we wanted to preserve and enhance it, not to compete with it.
The traditional, low-tech methods of working the land for agricultural use were respectful of the ground to ensure long-term sustainability of food production for the local population. ‘Pezoules’, or walls built of the stone found in the land, formed narrow terraces that followed the natural contours of the slopes and allowed for the cultivation of olive groves and vegetable gardens or the grazing of animals. We took inspiration from the subtlety of these interventions and set about to define a language of landscaping rather than structural architecture, that would cultivate the cultural and logistical activity of a contemporary marina.
The full scheme includes a marina, a retail zone, a beach taverna and a boutique hotel. These services require considerable space, but by embedding them in the ground they merge with the landscape, allowing it flourish around, between and over the ‘buildings’. This piece of the Kaplankaya coastline is set to become the heart of all the residential development that is planned for parts of the adjoining land that sits above the marina. As a core of activity it will be overlooked by residents and guests, attracting them down to enjoy the various services and activities on offer. The fifth elevation, that is, the view of the marina from the land above, therefore becomes equally important as the view from the water. Sinking the volumes into the earth minimizes their obstruction of this view and retains the natural beauty of the landscape so that the unique and indigenous ecosystem of vegetation and wildlife can continue to thrive.
The focal point of social activity in the marina itself is an extensive ‘plateia’ that features a recreational lake, designed to prevent the stagnation of water in the marina through its free-flowing connection to the open sea, but also creating an opportunity for people to interact with the water. This is something rarely available in traditional marinas. The lake is engineered to respond to the transient boat activity in the marina and so has a dual role to play in the plateia. Its water level rises during the day, when boats and their parties leave to explore local beaches. The basin is filled and the lake becomes a serene location for lunch or a gentle swim. In the evenings the marina becomes busier as boats return to moor for the night and passengers disembark to explore the restaurants and services of the marina. Water from the lake is drained and the empty basin is transformed into an amphitheatrical venue for cultural events and performances.
Kaplankaya marina is park that combines, in sensitive, low-impact design, a celebration of the natural landscape and the subsequent uplifting of contemporary yachting culture. It is an anchor embedded in the beauty of its location, enhancing and protecting it by facilitating high-end leisure and cultural activity that is in harmony with the natural ecosystems of the land and sea.