Human cities/ Research
In 2015 and 2016, BDW carried out a series of researches, interviews, location and user needs analyses of the Grand Park, as well as analyses of potentials and visions of the city of Kragujevac with its leading stakeholders, under the EXPERIMENTATION phase of the HUMAN CITIES/ project.
Between October 2014 and May 2015, BDW implemented the STATE OF ART phase of the HUMAN CITIES / project, with the goal of building the capacity of BDW to encompass the capability to manage, as an independent citizens’ initiative, the project of public-private partnership on a satisfactory high level, and within an optimal time and budget framework connect citizen and users with project donors, creatives and executors, using the methodology of Jan Gehl and the IDEO HCD TOOLKIT for successful participation of citizens in the process of urban regeneration.
Between May and December 2015, BDW conducted surveys and analyses of the state of desolate playgrounds and city squares in Belgrade, as well as the key stakeholders of the project from the administration of the City of Belgrade to potential investors and partners from business, academia, media and citizen’s initiatives.
Since the media coverage of the opening of the Kalemegdan playground in 2015 as result of our STATE OF ART phase and the HUMAN CITIES/ project, the “Dragica Nikolić” Foundation, expressing interest in the results of the project, contacted BDW with a commission to investigate the situation with public spaces in the central Serbian city of Kragujevac.
Thus, between December 2015 and April 2016, BDW’s EXPERIMENTATION phase of the HUMAN CITIES/ project went under way. BDW and associates of the project utilized the selected method of Jan Gehl Architects, mapping the needs of the citizens of Kragujevac in the context of the Grand Park’s rational usage and emotional bonds, while the Foundation in parallel raised funds for the realization of the first park section to be built the playgrounds.
In April 2016, the Foundation and BDW triggered the realization of an idea concept of the future Grand Park, entitled “Creative”, as the first vision for discussion. The development of the preliminary design concept, as first inspirational stage of the revitalization of the park, based on BDW’s results of the EXPERIMENTATION phase, was entrusted to the team from Studio DVA, headed by architect and professor from the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade Aleksandru Vuja, and his students, several of which are from Kragujevac.
Presentations and workshops in Kragujevac in May 2016, in which the concept of the new park will be presented to local citizens and the City, will mark this part of the EXPERIMENTATION phase. Another high point will mark the execution of the first part of the project playgrounds for children, young people and seniors, as a possible sustainable beginning of the construction of a new park, as inspirational call to donors to support all the other sections of the park itself and the wider monumental/heritage park sites in Kragujevac, while citizens open the public discussion with the City and media which next functions and contents for the Grand park may be developed.
BDW’S BRIEF TO THE DESIGNERS AND ARCHITECTS, BASED ON THE RESEARCH FINDINGS:
- TO NOT TOUCH THE PROMENADE, REPAIR IT, LINK IT WITH THE NORTHERN PART OF THE PARK * TO RETURN THE ORIGINAL “FRENCH” HERITAGE LOOK AND CHARM OF THE PARK
- TO PROTECT NOT ONLY THE MAIN BUT ALSO THE NORTHERN FOUNTAIN, AND GIVE THEM THE OLD GLOW ( “RETURN THE BOY MONUMENT”, REMOVE PAYING FACILITIES, RETURN THE OLD ELEGANCE AND SPLENDOUR), BUT WITH MODERN DESIGN
- TO RETURN SOME TYPE OF BUILT AUDITORIUM, WHICH KING OBRENOVIĆ OF SERBIA INTRODUCED ORIGINALLY AT FOUNDATION, AND ENRICH THE PARK WITH LIVE CULTURAL EVENTS
- TO PROTECT TRADITIONAL SPORTS ACTIVITIES, PRIMARILLY BASKETBALL AND BOXING
- FIRST ACTION TO PRESERVE THE MOST ABANDONED PART OF THE PARK IN NORTH
- OLD BOXING CLUB BLDG. TO BECOME NEW FOCAL POINT OF ENTIRE PARK, A CONNECTION BETWEEN THE CENTRAL AND NORTH PART, AND TO BECOME A PLACE FOR CULTURAL ACTIVITIES * TO NOT TOUCH THE EXISTING FUND OF TREES, PLANT MORE IF POSSIBLE, AND CAREFULLY TREAT THE EXISTING CHARACTER OF GREEN AREAS
- TO ADD MANY ADDITIONAL SIDE TRAILS THROUGH THE GRASS AREA, FOR EASIER ACCESS TO PROMENADE AND TO NEW FACILITIES FROM SIDE STREETS
- TO ENABLE FREE ACCESSIBLE CONTENT IN THE PARK, NO PAYMENT REQUIRED
- TO DESIGN OTHER PARTS AND CONTENTS OF THE PARK WITH OPEN COMPETITIONS, WHICH WILL INVOLVE AS MANY PEOPLE FROM KRAGUJEVAC AS POSSIBLE
- TO ESTABLISH AN ASSOCIATION FOR FOSTERING THE PARK, AND ENSURE A SYSTEM AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR THE NEW PARK’S MAINTENANCE
- TO INVOLVE PENSIONERS’ NEEDS IN THE PLANING AND ANIMATE THEM TO USE THE PARK
- TO BUILD AN EXERCISING PARKOUR FOR THE YOUTH, AND RETURN THE “MIRRORS PARK” WHICH EVERYBODY REMEMBERS
- REDESIGN THE MAIN ENTRY AND THAT SECTION OF THE PARK AS SORT OF PUBLIC “SQUARE FOR THE YOUTH” FOR SOCIALIZING AND MEETING
- TO REMOVE CARS, PARKING AND STREETS FROM INSIDE THE PARK FOREVER
As end of the EXPERIMENTATION phase and MEETING THE AUDIENCES, in winter 2017 BDW will organize international workshops, exhibitions and a conference in Kragujevac, in which the general public in Serbia and the world will be presented with detailed results of the BDW investigation in Kragujevac, entitled HUMAN CITIES/ KRAGUJEVAC 2017.
RESEARCH- CONCEPT OF THE PARK
The concept of the park for the initiative of citizen participation and debate about the Grand City Park under the European Initiative Human Cities / project
The relationship to the Great Park in Kragujevac is established through the recognition of the park in terms of other major projects that form the backbone of the city’s development. The park is located next to the future large-scale urban renovation zones. The future urbanization of the environment ensures that the city park, an already ambitious gesture of development of urban life in the city of Kragujevac, remains an asset in its original form of a large city park for future generations.
The proposal of reconstruction and development of the Grand City Park is based on new tendencies in the development of city parks. They are reflected primarily in the adaptation of the content to suit the new function of parks in urban life, as well as urban areas of affirmation of culture and social life of the community in which they exist. The Grand City Park concept has emerged from further upgrades of the original ideas of the classic park as an informal ensemble of the English park type in the late nineteenth century. The rich heritage of plants, the preserved organic entity, ambient diversity and meaningful form are considered as the primary values of the proposed concept of the new park in Kragujevac. By preserving these values of the park design concept, the proposal harmonizes the existing matrix of the park with new amenities and heterogeneous, smooth and dynamic movements through the park.
The concept of the park is a proposal of further unification of parts of the park in a clearly defined urban zone. The backbone of this zone is the existing central promenade with its correction in order to provide a more logical linking with the city flows, from the newly established recreation areas in the Šumarice park, towards the city center. The central promenade is upgraded with a perimeter pedestrian flow to the sports center and it connects the central northern part of the park into a single entity. The concept proposes clear boundaries of the park, not so much as regulation lines, but as the boundaries of shapes and forms of the future park, and a future in which the park is recognized as a separate entity and as a unique urban zone. The boundary is an area of low and high vegetation around the perimeter of the park throughout the entire zone. This clearly demarcates the material zone of the park from the urban neighborhood. The material composition of the park is simple: the existing green fund, footpaths of small stone aggregate and diverse smaller plants and cultures.
The zoning of the Great City Park analyzes several distinct parts: The entrance plateau at the site of the current entrance to the park has been expanded and is set as a mixture of the existing tall vegetation park and a paved square. The proximity of the urban fabric of the city suggests a dynamic urban zone of assembly and socializing amended with a possible exhibition pavilion at the site of the conical park elevation. With this expansion, the building of the Faculty of Natural Sciences with its park-side entrance, becomes the subject of scenography of a wider entrance plateau along the Radoja Domanovića street. In the background of this zone, inside the park, the reconstruction of the existing fountain and the construction of a micro-catering facility are proposed.
For the central section of the park, the proposal includes the correction of primary pedestrian movement in the form of a large arched promenade that connects, in a more natural way, long pedestrian flows through the city. Around the park walkways branches out a section with low and high vegetation, which highlights the smooth arc of the terrain and the architecture of the long stems and tall treetops of black and white pine trees. This impressive park composition provides the ability to form deep and layered perspectives and plains reaching the limits of the park. The promenade through the center of the park proposes a wide path, which allows its size to be used not only as a walkway for pedestrians and cyclists, but as a space for various daytime or night time events. The open-air museum dedicated to the history of the city, set on platforms of modern technology, could be the binding cultural content for the main park path.
The main walkway branches out towards the sports center and to the northern section of the park. A large park square is proposed to be built at the intersection of these paths and the culture zone, which consists of two buildings: one is the “Radnički” boxing club building, which could be reconstructed into the main park pavilion either as a faithful adaptation, or as a new exhibition and hospitality pavilion with the long tradition of sports history; certainly with the inclusion of public toilets. The other building is a parterre park-style solution of a small city stage, equipped for day and night use. At this point, the view towards the northern part of the park opens up through the large sunny grassy meadow towards the activity zone for children, teenagers and the elderly. An initiative has already been taken for the reconstruction of the original floor and the small amphitheater of the basketball court.
The park walkways consist of a special zone of foamy shapes and contours. The matrix of this movement is simple and consists of natural pedestrian flows that connect all parts of the park with the main intersections and pedestrian crossings. The size of all walking paths has been deliberately enhanced in the proposed concept in order to demonstrate more clearly the basic logic of flows through the park as a grid of curved lines. This spongy matrix allows the harmonization of investments, movement and, most importantly, the preservation of the entire green fund of the park, with significant emphasis on special natural micro-units.
The zone with the park picnic area is located between the central and northern sections of the park. It is the largest zone and it is equipped with park furniture and units that provide, in an organized manner, opportunities for urban use of nature and is intended for major outdoor events and gatherings.
Areas designated for children, teenagers and elderly people is divided into three smaller sections assembled into one whole. This contemporary concept of the beneficiality of interaction in learning between different generations gathered together is located in the shade around smaller and safe coniferous plantations. The concept proposition also discusses potential difficulties in maintaining the water sensations in the park and as a replacement for this zone suggests the use of more modest water facilities in the form of water vapor emissions.
The northern section of the park has maintained the existing modes of movement between the old routes that include elements of driver training and traffic rules facilities, but it is also complemented with two new facilities. One consists of the formation of urban gardening plantations as a trend of the new vision of the culture of urban resource usage. Other activities are related to the equipment intended for use by the local communities and students of the University of Kragujevac.
As the Grand Park is also a nighttime sensation of the city of Kragujevac, this concept proposal includes specific night light facilities for illuminating two park zones. It is a discrete and minimal form of lighting at ground level combined with occasional illumination of treetops. With joint illumination of these facilities, the park would be only minimally illuminated with necessary emphasis on the park boundaries, in order to emphasize its size, ending with façade lights around the park: from military facilities along the Kragujevačkog Oktobra street, through the Sports Center and the Faculty of Natural Sciences building.
As an ecosystem, the Park is a rare urban tissue of park greenery maintained over one hundred years. The benefits of this heritage, the potential social interactions, the microclimate and emotional aspects that it generates, all contribute to the general perception of this type of architecture as a focus point, around which we can gather our attention, assess our will for a better tomorrow and present it as our contribution to the urban community gathered around the pan-European Human Cities/ project.
CONTENT DEVELOPMENT ACROSS THE PARK:
OBJECTIVE = FIRST CUTTING EGDE DESIGNED PARK IN SOUTH EAST EUROPE CREATED BY ITS CITIZENS BY MEANS OF PARTICIPATORY URBANISM
FORM = SPONGY MATRIX
PROGRAM OF THE PROJECT:
- LEISURE AND AMUSEMENT
WALKING PATHS, RESTAURANTS, FOUNTAINS, URBAN PARK FURNITURE (LIGHTING, BENCHES, TABLES FOR WORK OR PICNIC, CHESS, TRASH CANS, BICYCLE PARKING…).
- SPORTS AND RECREATION
SPORTS COURTS FOR BASKETBALL, VOLLEYBALL, FOOTBALL, BIKE TRAILS, GYM IN THE OPEN.
- MEETING POINT FOR STUDENTS AND YOUTH
WIFI ZONE, URBAN PARK FURNITURE
- CULTURAL CONTENT
OPEN-AIR MUSEUM, MONUMENTS, GALLERIES / PAVILIONS, OPEN STAGE / AMPHITHEATER
- URBAN GARDENS
FOR TENANTS OF THE RETIREMENT HOME THAT IS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
- CREATIVE PLAYGROUNDS
CREATIVE PLAYGROUND FOR CHILDREN UNDER 12 YEARS, PARKOUR CREATIVE PLAYGROUND FOR YOUNGSTERS, CREATIVE PLAYGROUND FOR SENIORS, CREATIVE PLAYGROUND FOR DOGS, PLAYFUL FOUNTAIN FOR CHILDREN. CONCEPT OF PLAYGROUND FOR CHILDREN, YOUTH AND SENIORS WITH WATER SQUARE / PLAYGROUND
CONCEPT OF THE PLAYGROUND AREA
A playground for children, a water playground and a specially equipped exercising space for teenagers and seniors are adjusted in the zone for these facilities.
They are located in the center of the northern section of the Grand Park. These three micro units are arranged around the perimeter of large, open and sunny walkways, urban picnic areas, and the zone for potential gathering of a larger number of people.
PLAYGROUND FOR TEENAGERS AND SENIORS are located close to the street near the Faculty of Engineering Sciences, as a minor motif and a separate entity. Hidden beneath the canopy of existing plantations of tall vegetation. The playground is equipped with devices that enable the entire complex of activities for seniors and teenagers – such as parkour exercises.
Analyzing the needs of parks users, we found out that many youngsters are improvising their own park our facilities from broken and abandoned equipment around the park. Equally strong we witnessed the park as extended living room used by the tenants of the nearby municipal retirement home. Consciously mixing younger and older citizens, we strive to try and encourage new relationship building with the desire to accomplish better understanding between these two age groups.
WATER SQUARE / PLAYGROUND, as a separate entity, is located in the sunniest section of the park. At the same time it is a sensation in the form of water vapor during most of the year but also a place for refreshment and children’s play in the warm summer days. In the overall landscape of the park, these two sections are designed as a neutral park platform, without the intention to be anything more than what they are.
CHILDREN’S PLAYGROUND is the largest island of the small park archipelago. The size of the playground is determined by the programme emerged through the monitoring of the numbers of children who visit the park and the way they use it. The spatial concept of the first part of the analysis of the Grand Park in Kragujevac was the basis for locating the children’s playground.
The analysis is primarily an experiment about contemporary public space of the city and has served to review the potentials but also to assume the contours of a possible environment in which the playground is located: the modes of walking through the park are on a micro level included in the space of the playground in the form of concentric circles of different themes of movement.
The playground is divided into two parts for different age groups. Materials are selected according to the purpose of this small eco-continent and adjusted to both children and undisturbed life of existing greenery. The choice is characterized by minimal construction intervention and a choice of soft, safe and natural materials. The existing plants in the form of two groups of tall pines are integrated as supporting elements of design playgrounds and large natural shading.
The amorphous form of the playground is adapted to the size and elements of the children and space perception of the parents. The design is focused on a balanced tangle of curves at all levels, built around the edges of the playground with the landscape motif of a small hill with a mild and manageable decline. This motif of fencing and the slight elevation on flat ground is a sculptural intervention similar to land-art, and its main purpose is to highlight the importance of design and territories imagined, as a small geyser of children’s energy is in the green areas of the Grand Park in Kragujevac.