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City of Zagreb
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News

Zagreb, August 11th 2015

Think Public Space Competition Results

Dear Think Spacers, 

We are happy to announce the results of this year's international conceptual architectural competition of the THINK SPACE programme -  THINK public SPACE. Within the Zagreb for Me project organised by the City of Zagreb in cooperation with the Zagreb Society of Architects and the Architectural Faculty of the University of Zagreb Think Space 183 competitors from 29 countries have explored the contemporary notion of public space offering 76 concepts, ideas and scenarios in what we consider public sphere.

 

This year Think Space has a teamed up with a comprehensive program organized by the City of Zagreb in cooperation with the Zagreb Society of Architects and the Architectural faculty of the University of Zagreb – Zagreb for Me. The ongoing program is dealing with the regeneration of urban public spaces and the THINK public SPACE competition has given its contribution by exploring the contemporary notion of public space, as you might have read in the competition brief. Serving as a conceptual and theoretical pilot for further architectural-urbanistic competitions in later stages of the program THINK public SPACE has sought out progressive, conceptual and architectural spatial interventions in order to contribute to an ever lasting aspect of urban public life. 

THINK public SPACE has been a success with 76 regularly received entries from 29 countries by 183 authors. The fourth edition of the Think Space cycle has been a slightly altered format – a Special edition - comprising an international jury of five members – Aristide Antonas, Ana Dana Beroš, Jan Liesegang, Karin Šerman and Izaskun Chinchilla (excused for personal reasons). The Think Space platform is moving forward with the evaluation of the Call for Papers entries under the theme of “New Publicness”, as well as the already traditional Unconference taking place this autumn in Zagreb, Croatia. For all further news and updates about Think Space be sure to check out official website as well as facebook and twitter pages.

We sincerely congratulate to all the awarded authors!

 

First Prize 5.000 EUR (gros)

Grand Hotel Beaux-Arts
Authors
Sabrina Puddu, Italy
Paolo Emilio Pisano, Italy
Francesco Zuddas, Italy

Collaboration:
Giaime Meloni (Photos)
Giacomo Garau

 

Work description

The city of Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy) has a population of 160,000. Given its location and its history it is an example of a mid-sized European city and, in particular, of a Mediterranean coastal city It is part of a wider metropolitan area that grew during the last seven decades through the delocalization to the periphery of major urban functions. In recent years the consolidation of an outlying university and hospital complex has led to the relocation of academic and health care functions that left vacant some large, monumental buildings located on the borders of the old city core, where once stood the pre-modern fortifications. Alongside this migration was the parallel exile in 2014 of the prison from its former home in the city to a brand new high-security complex built at a 12-kilometer distance. Another exile is that of the young – and not too young – middle class that is increasingly expelled from the city due to the impossibility of finding affordable housing. Following an ongoing process of gentrification, the city centre is likely to be taken over by the tourist industry. This inevitably transforms the meaning of the main open spaces of the city . The inner city areas are still inhabited by a petit bourgeoisie (the parents of the new generations) that climbed the social ladder in the 1980s, driven by the waves of economic growth that got them what they still consider the most precious, inalienable of all values: stability. Their sons inhabit a condition that is somehow diametrically opposed: precariousness, self- employment, lifelong learning; these become the catchwords of a generation that is asked to make of instability a virtue. Such generation is for a large part composed of individuals who, albeit highly educated are poorly productive. Their average income is mostly low and all but constant over time as is the quality of their life, which often deteriorates when they decide to build a family. Their quest for jobs equals their quest for dwelling, giving reason to the ever more frequent calls for hybridization of living and working.
But who should provide such live-work? Is the Welfare State still a possibility? Or are we doomed to learn how to dwell in its ruins? Those ruins are the remains of a long history of state-driven reformism whose most visible effects are registered in the physical space of cities. Praised by Moderns (Nine Points on Monumentality) and Post-moderns (Rossi’s urban monuments) for their mighty magnetic capacities inside urban processes, the monuments that the state built from the second half of the 19th century to the first decades of the 20th and that are being abandoned today on functional and economic reasons stand as possible bastions to reclaim an idea of the Public. This is an idea that goes beyond old dichotomies – particularly the now too popular Oikos/Agora opposition – to consider dwelling itself as a public activity. Rather than being converted into museums to supposedly fit within a strategy sustaining a now booming tourist industry in the city, they could be bastions of a somewhat normal life to mark the return of this new disadvantaged classes (and their families) inside the city centre. At the same time the occupation of these old institutions can be part of a different strategy, which works on the logics that make tourism also a part of today’s condition of precariousness. The multiple strategies of self-entrepreneurship that have grown in and around the tourist industry – the likes of airbnb and uber – could legitimize a strong call for rethinking the relations between living and working in the city as the very bases of the idea of the Public. The old bastions of Beaux Arts culture – the massive and complex structures of Prisons, Hospitals and Universities in the case of Cagliari – could stand as architectural palimpsests for deploying such rethinking. It is the vacation of those buildings that today, even more than the open spaces of the city, can stimulate novel ideas about the very meaning of the public sphere.

Jury comment

Pinpoints some crucial problems of today's city with regard to public space, both urban/architectural (relocation of public contents, evacuated centres) and social (precariousness, instability). Offers a constructive solution to it - a sort of social and urban experiment, which relies on the existing historical urban/architectural infrastructure and on disciplinary apparatus proper. Proposes a new generation of public space, hybridization of living and working (as a consequence of precariousness as a condition), and a concept that goes beyond the usual dichotomy of private and public. Excellent analysis and presentation – both textual and graphical. 
The analysis in this project is great. Stability against precariousness, within one generation the conditions of living in the city have fundamentally changed. The Idea to make this precarious but educated self organized class dwell in the ruins of the 19th century might be a bit optimistic but also interesting enough to be discussed!
Well rounded project with immaculate graphic presentation, lacking understanding though of stakeholders in public space and showing some shortcomings in design.

Second Prize 3.000 EUR (gros)

Full Void Park
Authors
Lőrinc Vass, Hungary
Neal Qiongyu Li, China
Daichi Yamashita, Japan
Pengfei Du, China
Yan Luo, China 

Work description

Today, Europe is undergoing a crisis of boundaries. The media is saturated with images of the thousands of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean on makeshift boats, and also with the latest developments of the bitter debates of European Union members on reforms to immigration policy. A new era of exclusion threatens a rich history of cultural diversity and movement. Hungary recently proposed the construction of a four-metre wall along its entire border with Serbia, in response to an unprecedented increase in illegal migration. Nearby, Croatia is currently working on strengthening its non-EU borders in preparation for joining the Schengen Area in 2016—simultaneously an act of inclusion and exclusion, opening and closing, depending on which side of the border one stands. In European cities, public spaces have been central to the life and evolution of urban space for millennia. As spaces of visibility and sociability, and bounded by a mutual agreement of being shared between everyone, squares, forums, piazzas and parks allow people of different backgrounds to interact with one another and to negotiate their coexistence in the city. Urban space is an ongoing production of relations between strangers. Open to spontaneous encounters, parks and other open public spaces are one of the few places where invisible boundaries may be temporarily contested. Through this appropriation, the very boundaries of the commons are made tangible. Today, this possibility is more important than ever, and this project explores the concept of the park as an open public space, simultaneously full and void.
Once upon a time, there was a park in the middle of the city. As the only open space within the densely built-up urban landscape, the park had played a central role in public life since its establishment. It was regularly crowded with people engaged in various activities, yet there was always space for everyone—or so it seemed. At a certain moment in time, the country’s population began to decline. At first this did not cause alarm, as people were certain of its momentary nature, but eventually the issue could no longer be ignored. Therefore, it became necessary to reform the country’s stringent immigration policies. In addition to those who arrived from the remote areas of the countryside, millions of foreigners were allowed to settle in the city. They brought with them different languages, traditions and beliefs, forever changing the cultural landscape. During this time, with few other public spaces available, the park became an informal gathering place for many different groups. Such gatherings were at first temporary, but they gradually increased in number and permanence. The groups began to collide and conflicts escalated, threatening the integrity of society. Responsible for taking care of the park, the park board soon faced a dilemma about what activities should or should not be allowed there. After much consideration, the board made an unprecedented decision. A wall was built around the park. The wall was designed to preserve the park as the ultimate form of common space. After its completion, the interiority of the park and the exteriority of the city were no longer continuous, and each took on a life of its own.
City without park. Park without city. Over the years, both the original intention behind the creation of the park and the reasons for the building of the wall were forgotten. Yet the continued existence of the wall, and behind it, the now unknown space of the park, allowed interior and exterior to remain conjoined in one particular way. Concealed from view, the park became the shared subject of imagination for the city’s inhabitants. A white space, a collective void—the park forever prompts the question about what people have in common.

Jury comment

A most intriguing work, slightly positioned between dystopia and utopia. Based on an inherent contradiction, it is showing the public spaces as multilayered and specific. It raises the question what is the more interesting part in the city – the outside or the inside of the park. Although addressing the issue of refugees and being political, the work is subtle lacking a proposal.
A very poetical approach, nice essay, and a sort of record of the problem of public realm manifested in spatial terms. But what does it ultimately say of the prospects of public space today? Is it a category that can still survive? Or can we have just a shared imagination of it, shared memory? Subtle but lacking a proposal. 
An interesting insight into boundaries and media lacks architectural accuracy though.
A poetic subtle work lacking a proposition in order of achieving something more.

1st of 3 Ex Aequo Third Prizes (333,33 EUR gross each)

Illusion and Confusion
Authors
Eva-Maria Fehse, Germany
Laurens Falkenhahn, Germany
Sébastien Tripod, Switzerland

Work description

We want to make the suggestion that including other disciplines in the architectural design process should not begin after conception, but rather before, as sources of example models. After all, we feel we would like to consider the following sentence written by Ethel Baraona Pohla in an essay about the future of architecture: „There is an important need to understand that the space for action includes architect‘s participation from the basis, first as citizen, then as architects“ and before that probably as individuals. Therefore, we use three case studies, one from the field of arts, one from media and one from fiction to analyse a process which we call association with the devil to transform fake into real public space. By extracting different strategies that were used by the actors of these examples, we want to put up a set of steps to plan, simulate, propose, do our own action. Public space is only imaginable as a work in progress situation. Which produces confrontation, coincidence, debate, self-determination, alltogether an unpredictable and unintended situation. Project on seducing google street view car driver to get hands on a more self-determined and expressive virtual representation of the public realm Maps are never a one-to-one representation of reality. Besides the need to render the human surroundings more rational and organised, maps also show myths, tales, illusions and mistakes. Google Street View, part of Google Maps and the most recent and most spread form of mapping the public realm in our swath of land today, is globalized and monopolized through being in the hands of one market-driven organisation. It is generated by a company, who is aiming for a preferably anonymous and uniform representation. Strict instructions for the drivers and algorithms during the process of adjusting and combining the images prevent the appearance of human activities and the recognition of faces. The representation of the public through Google Street View is a private affair, happening in secrecy. The scenery of Google Street View images is characterized through an overload of indifference, where a hand-full of occasions are prominent because they have probably been overseen in the clarification procedure. Because expression and curiosity are irrevocably linked, the lack of free expression in the street view creates a weird, lazy, fake consumption of the virtual space, where curiosity doesn’t rise, or quickly fades, since there is no air for one’s own interpretation - if this experience was a taste, it would be that of a burger in a burger king restaurant. In that sense we have: a fake public space: Google street view a real public space: a diverse and transparently produced virtual reality strategy: SEDUCTION, BRIBERY, HIJACKING, MANIPULATION - trying to find the human, the Achilles heel of the system, of the anonymous machine - which is the driver in the Google street view car! To conquer a new public territory and invent a new form of documentation, we developed a procedure. However, during the process, we had to scale down our approach: 1) we imagined a spectacular hijacking in the style of the bad guys from the movies, using a beautiful women as a lure 2) but because of an accent and technical problems it became a hitch-hike-scenario on the other end of the Skype line 3) which due to the fact that drivers are strictly forbidden to open the locked doors and even if they were to do so, the system would shut down completely within 2 minutes, is unrealistic. This is why an easier way would be to apply directly for a Trojan Google driver’s job. 4) But until the cars come back to our region (since sub-firms are hiring local drivers only), we decided to consecrate ourselves to producing appealing images that raise the question: how rich could this new public territory be? In these images we introduce a mysterious guide (who resembles the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, but could be a magician or a shaman, or the Pied Piper of Hamelin). He is playing with the human sensibility, seducing and hypnotizing, the car won’t be able to resist following him. The result is a doubt but the process is a research filled with answers. Following it is about entering it. But we remain with the uncertainty of what would happen to the jalousies behind the windows - jalousie comes from jealous - would they go up or down? The lecture is open; we try to keep it complex and evocative. Follow the rabbit!

Jury comment

The work displays an interesting intellectual reflection founded on the brief of the competition. It explores the terms of anonymity in a very complete way as well as quite radical and surprising control of public space through one company. The result is a maybe greater interest in the virtual public space.

The work is interesting as a concept between art and architecture with a good level of abstraction and esthetical quality in ideas and graphic design, nevertheless with certain limits. The idea of the work of a Trojan Google street car driver is intriguing, as well as the notion of the depersonalized public space as a “work in progress” in the public realm.
 

2nd of 3 Ex Aequo Third Prizes (333,33 EUR gross each)

Public Spheres
Authors
Jorge Martin Sainz de los Terreros, Spain
Giulia Toscani, Italy
Miguel Martín Sanchez, Spain

Work description

Public space has been commonly presented as a metaphor for a political space, a space where struggle happens, where differences raise and conflicts emerge. This project builds that metaphor. A physical representation – even a physical joke – of a political space. A place for conflict. When Habermas proposes The Public Sphere, he envisions “a discursive space in which individuals and groups congregate to discuss matters of mutual interest and, where possible, to reach a common judgment” (Hauser 1998). Such vision considers that this space is an ideally inclusive and consensual space for mediation between the “private sphere” and the State. A common place where everyone can access and discuss public affairs. Yet, critics of that position – from postmodernists to feminists – have underlined that “the” public sphere overlooks multiplicity and, more importantly, conflict. Current socio-technical approaches to publicness draw on Dewey´s pragmatist perspective of the public. For Dewey, “a” public –not “the” public – is ‘a set of actors jointly affected by a problem [..] who organize into a public to ensure that the problem is addressed’. For us public space is constituted by a multiplicity of such publics, publics that are constituted by issues and networks of affection. Our project proposes a number of public spheres (in plural) in order to underline the importance of taking into account the multicity of positions. These public spheres bundle affected actors around specific issues and conflicts. In order to ‘ensure the problem is addressed’, these public spheres move through the city, movement that happens not avoiding conflict but inhabiting it. The ultimate intention of the project is to generate discussion. To do so, we propose a call for spheres to be followed by a number of workshops that would end with a physical sphere parading through the city. Following the steps to define a Public Sphere: 01. Define the issue for the Public Sphere. 02. Assemble affected or involved actors. 03. Discuss the content of the Public Sphere. 04. Look for the places where the discussion could emerge. 05. Travel the route considering the obstacles that it will block the Public Sphere’s crossing. 06. Problematise the dimensions of the Public Sphere with the specific purpose of taking the conflicting route to its limits. 07. Organise the artefacts that will help the Public Sphere to overcome obstacles. 08. Design the construction. Define the materials depending on the actors you want to get involved in the construction, use and transportation of the spheres. 09. Continue defining other Public Sphere(s). Define their routes so that whenever they cross their paths the multiplicity of the Public Spheres will be celebrated.

Jury comment

As an answer to the problem of the decline of public space, this project proposes to enact performance, to organize activity, to plan a scheme of (contra)action. The public sphere here is being produced, and the architect becomes the director of public actions. Intriguing proposal. 

The work is a very good analysis of existence of multiple public spheres. Common ideas are put together and basic assumptions taken in place. It is a very courageous recipe book consciously simplifying the public space in a polemical life. The idea of overlapping public realms is intriguing.
The project is a textbook on Habermas’ public sphere. It does well in not avoiding, but inhabiting conflicts. The localization is commendable, but a bit superficial and lacking some stamina.
Interesting theoretical point of view. A good project but a bit too diagrammatic.

3rd of 3 Ex Aequo Third Prizes (333,33 EUR gross each)

Reprogram retail
Authors
Bernd Jaeger, Germany
Susie Ryu, Germany 

Work Description

Reprogram retail The Athens Charter (CIAM, 1933) introduced the concept of the functional city as a blueprint for many European cities, hence the city centres have been assigned with the functions of trade, shopping, administration and culture. The retail sector has thereby significantly influenced the use of public space, reduced it to a place of consumption and thus supporting exclusion and segregation of the public. At present we are detecting a crisis of retail in the city centres, caused by the construction of large shopping centres around the (inner) cities and by growing sales of online retailers like Amazon. In many cases, shops are closing, so that ground floors are abandoned and are hardly occupied by alternative programmes that could revitalize the public space of the streets. In this regard a crisis of public space is inevitably as it goes hand in hand with the crisis of retail. The crisis of the long-established company Karstadt (founded in 1881) with its formerly more than hundred department stores in Germany can be seen as a symbol of a shift. Since 2004 there has been several insolvency proceedings, business segments were spun off, stores closed and many investors have tried to rescue the company. A solution for the Karstadt crisis is unforeseeable as the concept of department stores in general seems no longer appropriate. However, the department stores themselves have an enormous importance for medium-sized cities and neighbourhoods of big cities. In extreme cases local residents demonstrated in public against the close-down and predict the death of the city centres if the Karstadt department store would close. In fact, many Karstadt department stores are directly located at the main plazas of the cities and have often been designed in the 1960s by renowned architects. They have played a big role in forming the identity of the public space and are tightly interconnected with it. All these considerations about the crisis of retail and public space listed above, guide us to initiate a radical shift. If shopping can no longer be the motor for the activation of public space in the city centres, or leads to exclusion and segregation, then the motor must be replaced. We don’t regret the decline of the centralized retail in city centres, anyway a relic of the industrial society based on production. Instead of a public space forced to stimulate consumption, we propose a public space trading knowledge and the acquisition of knowledge and thereby we want to generate a new form of the public. Space for retail in city centres, which do not function as a strengthening of the public, will be reprogrammed and accessible to citizens all-day. As a representative case study, we convert a Karstadt department store of a medium-sized city in Germany into a new type of public building. The building was designed in 1961 by renowned German architect Sep Ruf (German Pavilion Expo ''58 Brussels, Residence for the German Chancellor Bonn) and due to its urban setting and architectural qualities, the building plays a central role within the city. The building interrelates with the main public plaza of the city, which was also designed by Sep Ruf, in a reciprocal and inextricable way. The transformed department store will extend the network of public spaces of the city with a public interior without any thresholds. It will unite all age groups, ethnic and social groups, each with different cultural backgrounds and life experiences, as a learning and knowledge-transferring public. The building hosts conventional programs for acquisition of knowledge, such as a library, space for talks, workshops and individual learning, but most of the space can be used flexibly for informal communication, spontaneous actions and encounters, enabled by the buildings generous spatial capacities. Hence we respond to a certain kind of knowledge production, the tacit knowledge, which is a knowledge that can hardly be documented and therefore can’t be achieved at universities, schools or by books. Tacit knowledge stands for certain life and practical experience, individual skills and cultural knowledge that is bound to individuals and can imparted only by face-to-face communication and interaction. This requires an appropriate spatial environment. Due to the unfolding of new knowledge unprecedented innovation processes can be initiated, which will have a positive impact on the economy of the city, first and foremost by supporting the individual development of the citizens. In our understanding the public space of the city has to foster the creation of a public that is self-determined and active in negotiating political, economic and social issues.

Jury comment

Interesting analysis of the relation between public sphere and retail sector. Commonly considered antipodes, they turn out multiply interdependent. The idea of reprogramming and using the extant retail infrastructure to generate new form of public activity is interesting.  (…)

The idea of conversion of retail space is commendable but known, as well as using the reprogramming as a generator of public activity. The project is a sort of ready-made solution that does not explain why Karstadt is the “perfect box” for a number of activities; nevertheless, the work is concise and elaborated. (…)
Karstadt is a relict of a welfare state from the past. The neoliberal capitalism and its consequences left the structure standing empty creating an inherent contradiction. The potential is there and is known in similar examples; however, the question remains how the organization and running the space actually works apart from the programming. The suggestion offered is a bit naïve cutting short of a solution offering a transformation of the building, opening up spaces and accessibility.

Honourable Mention

War X Wall X Water
Author
Cho Hao Wu, Taiwan

Work description

War X Wall X Water Site / Refugee camp near river Tigris Keywords / Middle East, War, Daily Life, Refugee Camp, Infrastructure, Wall War is the most serious reason of causing the damage of both artificial and natural landscape in nowadays. It is the contention of petroleum, water and political power, death and flee became Middle East people’s daily life. I think, war is all about absence. After the war, countless water resources were polluted by the petroleum, the sky was covered by massive black smoke from the burning oil fields. According to UN’s report, there’re 750 oil wells were burned, more than 1.5 million barrels of oil were poured into the Persian Gulf in only one Gulf war. With the march of troops, lands were tattered and duplicated by countless landmines continuously. It only costs 2$ to set up a landmine, but costs 1000$ to clear up one. There are more than 10 million of landmines only in Iraq. In high condensation area, there’s one man gets killed or loses his limbs every 20 minutes. People only can clear up 30 landmines a day, which means it needs more than 900 years to clear up all the landmines in Iraq. Within both the horizontal and vertical analysis’, there’re three different layers emerged because of the war, including the heavy smoke, potential landmine zone, and petroleum floating on the water. These enormous / tiny layers break the connection between human and nature, block the sun light, cause animals and plants die and the temperature become lower then usual, the living environment was also separated because of the landmine. The absence caused by war is not only appears physically, but also mentally to those refugees. In order to escape from wars, most of the refugees, without distinction of sex and age, can only fled with the necessity on their back, their children in their arms, walked tens or even hundreds of kilometres to the refugee camps. “Repeatedly” and “consistency” are the normality of refugee camp. It abruptly shows up on the land, has no context to refugees’ original living space. I think living in refugee camp is an acute lost of the sense of distance and space which are established between coordinates. This kind of break leads to the absence of “daily life”. What the refugees need is very simple; they just want to have their original daily life. The site I chose is a linear area near river Tigris in Iraq, which including water resource, refinery, potential landmine area and a refugee camp. Refugees only can live in the tent which is 3X4 square meter, they don’t have either enough / proper water resource and foods, or heating system in winter. Lots of refugees suffer or even die during the freezing winter. The public facilities in camp are dispersive and insufficient, refugees don’t have public social space, they don’t have either work or revenue income. These immutable and frozen scenes weaken the refugees’ sense of their coordinates. The sarcastic thing is that petroleum is one of the most important resources that establish the Middle East, or even the world, but what it represents, the wealth and the power have contrasted strongly with most of the people’s life in Middle East. So I started to interven this camp, trying to reconnect these absence and breaks. I bring the waste hot water from refinery into refugee camp through the pipeline, within the airdrop package I designed; refugees can easily build up the simple heating system by themselves. At the same time I build up a rammed earth wall, trying to establish a reference point in camp. The wall will be built up by all refugees, and its material are collected from the waste soil in camp and the pallet from supplement cargos. The airdrop package I designed includes several materials that can absorb landing shock, a water intervener which has three different functions, materials for refugees to build up the heating system and other package materials can be used as solar balloon and honeycomb furniture. What I am trying to do is to establish the daily life in refugee camp in post-war period through those designs. Refugees will go back to their hometown eventually, but wars are not predictable. All the temporary shelters will be removed after refugees leave, but the infrastructures I set up will stay underground. People can easily build up a proper refugee camp in the future when there’re other wars happen. The rammed earth wall will gradually collapse, within three different stages, and leave nothing at the end.

Jury comment
The project draws its distinction from the topic of public space in refugee camps. Although the discourse presented is acknowledged and the graphics powerful, the design is quite straight forward or even naïve.
Not so much founded on the brief, offering nevertheless an understanding of refugee camps and very technical solutions. An immense amount of work, beautiful but a bit naïve.

Honourable Mention

Reclaim. City. Space.
Authors
Diego Grass Puga, Chile,
Felipe de Ferrari Moncada, Chile
Kim Courreges, France
Marcelo Cox Cruzat, Chile

Work description

Contemporary cities tend to underestimate the value of public life, promoting private agendas conflicting with common good and shared space. Events such as the Arab Spring, Spain’s Indignados or Taksim Square protesters have also provided a new excuse to governmental agencies -often infiltrated by transnational capital- to tighten up control and surveillance over places of potential public gatherings. In this sense, the crisis of public space is widespread and shared by thousands of cities around the world, including Zagreb: public sphere have been neglected -including its material definition- by ineffective urban designs, outdated operations and policy. Our proposal aims directly at this global problem, using the Croatian capital as the first field of intervention. Several cities across Europe -and worldwide- are already built, yet this is not an excuse to do nothing about their increasing privatization. The current state of our cities challenges us to find gaps and opportunities to reinterpret our cityscapes and their inhabitants. Contemporary urban design is not precise enough. We propose to reclaim public space by a series of projects offering new alternatives of collective spaces in different scales, contexts and programs. The project of architecture in the city has a lot to offer in this process of transforming our society. Our proposal is to radically approach 10 generic situations we recognized in Zagreb and abroad, all of which are affected by this ongoing privatization, turning them back in favour of public sphere: Urban growth, land use, infrastructure, pedestrian flow, public transport, hygiene or even our perception of the city, collective memory and the limit between public and private. One of the key problems in sustaining the activity in shared spaces is their lack of definition. In that sense, our strategy thematizes and adds specific and diferentiated communitary programs addressing -each one- particular issues. Many of these interventions linked together operate as a circuit of stations for different moments in public life, happening in different areas of the city. They are a set of concepts ready to be transformed and fulfilled by an active community of citizens -not closed designs but as open experiments-. These are only 10 samples of how these issues can be addressed in the very same city -many times, if possible-, a strategy which can be extended to various other situations awaiting for a response in favour of public life. A constellation of pieces strategically applied in the urban fabric; permanent and long-lasting interventions, because we might have no other opportunity to amend this again in the future of Zagreb or any other city.

Jury comment

A representation reminding a bit of Kohlhoff and Ungers offers a contradiction between scales, but manages an interesting and well done representation. It departs from the point of architect being the one who solves problems in urban surroundings which is questionable nowadays. The work is more interesting as artwork than as an argument.
The project takes on the spaces affected by privatisation and turns them into public spaces of different scales. Lack of defining and programming is imposed as a goal and means of raising awareness in different community setting; nevertheless the implementation of the recipes for public space design is a bit naïve, although the graphic presentation is commendable.
A good project with interesting opinions with exceptional graphic quality and well elaborated, nevertheless not showing any radical ideas or challenging new ones.

Honourable Mention

2 Public Spaces in Vienna
Author
Andreas Puck, Austria

Work description

The analysis of the history and current condition of public space in Vienna, is a fine indicator of the current condition of urban design today. As read in the brief we are witnessing that private interests transform into public ones while the public institution lose their public character in a sociological sense as they get transformed into private undertakings. In the case of the Museeumsquartier in Vienna the case is even more special. During the making the city of Vienna privatized itself, so to speak, in creating the MQ-Holding. What is so extraordinary in this case is that the general public would not had recognized it, if not in cause of the Euro 2008 that the MQ-Holding was forced to exercised there domiciliary right and forbid people to bring their own beer. It is even more public then Heldenplatz, the most political and public space that Vienna has to offer. The categories of private and public are crumbling away in our hands as Manuel Sola Morales used to say. The MQ is without question a generator of urbanity The MQ-Holding is a private holding and it is a commercial undertaking and it is private space that they are managing, but it is not private space in terms of use and significance for the city of Vienna. In reality it doesn’t matter whether urban space is under private or public management, nor whether it constitutes real or virtual space or something in between, every point of access and activity in this space requires political negotiation. It appears that there is too much emphasis on the opposition of those to spheres, while we as architects never design and focus on one person, the individual, nor exclusively on one group the collective as the opposition, or just not about anyone else or the “outside world”. It is always a question about the individual and the collective and there interrelation. In architecture the form of this impossible condition It differs in the end in a series of spatial qualities in relation to accessibility, responsibility and the relation between private properties and the supervision of spatial conditions. However, when obstacles occur it is in our responsibility and we as architects are to blame if we do not reformulate the approach accordingly. “…what people are always so diligently subtracting from virgin-open-exterior space with the help of material and construction, all too often closes in the process. Instead of being “interiorized”, it is rendered empty, and emptiness (the perforated solid) is so very malicious. It is precisely because constructing in exterior space inevitably entails demarcation, enclosure, separation, and size reduction that I now wish to place special emphasis on the quality which does not survive all this limiting activity without conscious effort: openness. This quality, therefore, demands all the more attention. It is in the fact the very thing architects in particular are required to maintain: to reconstitute by means of construction, thus keeping open what (without their special care and competence) would otherwise close.” – Aldo van Eyck The Point of departure in the design is to take the unfinished work of Gottfried Semper and turn it 90°. This intervention brings us somehow back to the condition of Vienna around 1845 where the place in front of the emperor castle was used as parade ground in juxtaposition of the private Burggarden of the emperor Franz Joseph I and the public Volksgarden. A promising approach.

Jury comment

A consistent analysis and argument, too academic however, self-referential, but smart. Puts history in the argument and offers a quality collection of writings.
Stronger in theoretical aspect than in the very proposal. Interesting comment on the status of privately owned and publicly used spaces.
The comment on the reality of public space illustrated in the case of Museums Quartier in Vienna is appreciated. The project illustrates a public space functioning independently of public or private management as well as the idea of turning Semper’s unfinished work by 90 degrees is opening up borders and making the concept interesting.

 

 

 

 

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CALENDAR 

THINK public SPACE Competition

Launch 20 April 2015
Questions Deadline 20 May 2015
Submission Deadline 30 June 2015
Results Announcement 25 July 2015

Call for Papers 2015

Call Announcement 17 June 2015
Abstract Submission 17 July 2015
Full Paper Submission 10 September 2015
Results Announcement 17 September 2015

IV (un)Conference

Early Bird Registration 20 April 2015
Early Bird Closed 15 July 2015
Late Bird Closed 30 September 2015
Conference 2-3 October 2015