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Lake Milada, Czech Republic




1020 ha (competition site)


International Landscape, Urban and Architectural Competition


Competition 1st prize


Palivový kombinát Ústí, s.p.


Martin Arfalk, Patrick Verhoeven, Cyril Pavlu, Emeline Lex, Pia Kante, Kinga Zemla, Siyu Lu


Tim Schnoor (Ekologigruppen), Jan Richtr, Květoslav Syrový, Kateřina Zímová, Linda Kovářová, Pavel Borecký

MANDAWORKS announced winners in the pre-qualified competition to envision the future of the post-mining landscape of Lake Milada in Northern Czechia.

Lake Milada: Living Landscape

In the 1970s, a large surface mine was constructed between the city and town of Ústí nad Labem and Chabařovice. The mine functioned on site until 1994 when operations came to an end, and a comprehensive reclamation process began. As a result of this process, the quarry transformed from an industrial crater to a massive 250-hectare lake - Lake Milada. An international competition was launched in 2020 to support the reclamation process and provide a guiding landscape vision, that imagines how the surrounding 10 km² of former industrial land could be developed, improved and enhanced for the benefit of the surrounding communities and visitors. 


“Living Landscape” is organized around three core principles: living nature, living destination, and a living future; The strategies present a clear pathway to reclaim, strengthen, and celebrate the existing landscape while developing novel and exciting ways to experience the Lake, and surrounding area.

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Living Future

Living Nature

Living Destination

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Living Nature

The Lake Milada reclamation process is a powerful tool in healing the social and natural wounds and restore the ecological and recreational potential of the site. The living nature strategy provides a vision for creating a rich, biodiverse ecological foundation around the lake. Interventions come in the form of diversifying the existing landscape with forested and grassy habitats while naturalising the lakeshores and wetland areas. Existing habitat areas are the focal point of the new landscape framework, these areas are provided space and structure to allow for their natural expansion. From early in the process these critical areas take centre stage as biodiversity generators and ecological anchors for the lake reclamation.

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Lake Milada_Diagrams-08.jpg
Lake Milada_Diagrams-08.jpg

Landscape evolution

Diagram of the evolution and development of ecological and recreational systems

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Sustainable landscape management

Diagrams of areas with diverse landscape management providing a wide range of uses.

Living Destination

The scale, position, and quality of Lake Milada and its surrounding area mean that the landscape has the potential to become a national recreational destination. The proposal focuses the placement of the highest intensity visitor areas to the main four entrance areas around the lake. The concentration of high-activity areas and cultural destinations make them easily accessible for visitors while protecting the sensitive natural habitats that surround the water. A collection of architectural structures whose form has been inspired by the site’s mining history are strategically placed throughout the site. The lightweight structures build a cohesive identity throughout the park and offer new and exciting ways to experience the landscape. Embracing the lake, new interventions double the amount of area with direct access to the water from the condition today.

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Landscape destinations

Examples of new destinations and programs in the landscape.

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Diverse shoreline

Examples of various solutions to diversify the shoreline and make it easier accessible for the visitors of the lake.

Living Future

The vision for Lake Milada is as much about the process as it is the final design destination. The Lake requires a clear and bold vision for its operational management and financing model. Due to the scale of the site, the landscape must be high quality, but low maintenance, and viable over the long term. A balanced and feasible division of areas with a range of management and maintenance demands create a clear hierarchy for the allocation of resources and attention. In addition, The natural landscape is complemented with the productive with forests for timber, pastures for small-scale agriculture, ecological field research zones are integrated into the area as a way to diversify and strengthen revenue generation, alongside tourism and development. Together the revenue streams provide an important multi-sourced financing model for the operation of the site long into the future.

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New landscape experience

Image of the proposed lookout tower providing an exciting view of the reclaimed landscape and the lake.

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New landscape interventions and objects

The landscape architectural objects link to the past with their coherent design language inspired by the mining structures and forms.

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New landscape destinations

Image of one of the landscape shelters overlooking the lake.

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The Sunken Village

An installation of objects, above and under water, placed in the location of one of the demolished villages.

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