The design proposal by SANGRAD Architects + AVP Arhitekti for the Badel Block Complex, a mixed-use project within the city center of Zagreb, Croatia, consists of enclosing the continuity of the existing block and positioning the vertical into its center. Following the instinct of creating a free, public space as large as possible, and yet also in keeping with the proposed program, with uniform treatment of the existing urban archaeology, represents the main guidelines of this concept. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The proposed site consists of a large urban block, entirely defined by Vlaška Street and Kvaternik Square, and partly defined by Šubićeva and Derenčinova streets. Its particularity is determined by layers of different genesis, segmented elements of the block dating back to the late 19th century, as well as from the 1970s and 1980s, and including a smaller object of a more recent date. The other characteristic of the block is factory archaeology; the task requires that its elements should be logically retained. The third feature is a thirteen storey residential tower of simple, but rather imposing structure on the northern part of the defined part of the block.
The surrounding blocks, mostly residential, the dominant structure of the INA building, the farmers’ market continuing from the Bartol Kašić Park, the Kvaternik Square, and a continuity of verticals (the Ibler skyscraper, Vitić’s vertical of the National Bank block) – all of these form an urban matrix which determines the composition character of the urban unit of the site in question. Its position within the downtown zone of the city and the existing functions provide the block in question with ample opportunities, but also present demands: the revitalization of the architectural heritage and implementation of new contents should also breathe some new life into forgotten urban spaces.
A traditional downtown block is periodically split at the points of logical openings onto certain aims within the block (tower, distillery, the Gorica factory) and vice versa (the farmers’ market, the school hall in continuity with Laginjina street). Legitimate criticism of interiors of the existing downtown blocks as spaces alienated from the public urban life and subject to bad, uncontrolled privatization, led us to design an “active block” (this refers to the calm and warmth of a traditional block, while simultaneously invoking historical stratification), exploring the possibility of a multifunctional, public, safe space permeated with activity.
The space of the block, the size of a larger square, plays the key role in the concept, being the central public space and the backbone onto which all the elements of the composition refer, with respect to form, events, and organization.
Valorization of the Existing Protected Buildings
The existing, centrally located factory building is retained in its outside outlines, while the interior is reconstructed and turned into a cultural center. The remaining urban, industrial archaeology is retained in the frontal, historical façade, which is given a new purpose. The façade of the spirits refinery and distillery, later part of Gorica Factory (the corner of Martićeva and Šubićeva streets) is turned into a shopping mall volume, and with details of a stylized portico (retained façade of the process building on the northern part of the block) becomes a representative front of a hotel extruding from the horizontal into the vertical. The tower of the hotel creates a linear continuity of verticals in the city matrix (towers of the architects Vitić and Ibler), as well as a dialogue in the immediate proximity (the existing residential high-rise). Valorisation of the existing buildings and protected façades is the common denominator, while the façade that extrudes into the vertical is at the same time a reminder of a chimney of the former liquor factory.
Program and Multifunctional Possibilities
Except for a few normative instructions, the tender did not specify the project details. One of the possibilities was to design a multifunctional structure of buildings that could serve several purposes. The proposed types and layouts of the schemes of buildings are capable of alternatively, functionally, technologically, and normatively correctly housing the following programs and functions: office spaces, hotel, residential units, culture and education spaces, etc.
Layout and Function of the Planned Units within the Urban Whole
The block square is the basic space around which all buildings within the urban unit of Badel block are arranged. The multifunctional area of the square is used for various events (relaxation, free time, cultural events, and children playgrounds, etc.). Gravitating towards the plane of the square are different commercial, service, hospitality spaces. Some of the functions belong to the hotel. Commercial and service spaces are situated around the square and create a common context of space, events and form with its plane. Underneath the plane of the square there are parking levels for the use of residents, citizens, users and employees of the office spaces, i.e. employees and guests of the hotel within the complex.
Architects: SANGRAD Architects + AVP Arhitekti
Location: Zagreb, Croatia
Team: Vedran Pedišić, Mladen Hofmann, Iva Marjančević, Gordana Gregurić Miočić (SANGRAD architects), Erick Velasco Farrera (AVP_arhitekti)
Owner/Client: City of Zagreb
Images: AVP Arhitekti
Program: Business congress hotel, Cultural center, Shopping mall, Commercial, service and business spaces with residential units on higher floors, Multifunctional plane of the square, Parking area for customers, employees, guests, citizens
Status: Competition entry
Building Area: 57,540.00 m2