Presenting an opportunity, remaining largely unbuilt and mostly unburdened by heritage, the proposal for the Badel Block Complex by Luka Anic, Danko Balog, Tamara Baresic, and Srdan Gajic introduces new spatial configurations to the city center, opening the block area to public access and use. The large demanded gross built area quoted in the competition brief (65 000 m2) instils initial reproach. However, its justification can be found, apart from the apparent economical argument, in the term of density. A dense city is a live, vibrant city. Multiplicity of people, events, and spaces makes a city. And high quality density is what Zagreb lacks. More images and architects’ description after the break.
A large area invokes a large building, but also a multitude of smaller ones. A big building is always a focal point, a marker, a pole. Small buildings account for human scale and spatial richness. Among public open spaces, a park cannot be beaten. A small forest, the opposite of a city. A denial of a city within a city, a penance of greenery for the sin of brick and mortar. A union dreamed of, a park within a block.
By definition, a block closes itself in. Whatever is behind the perimeter, is secluded and can be reached only by cutting through the perimeter. Seclusion, however, leads to particularization of spaces rather than integration and the latter is what we seek. The perimeter building of 19th century block is therefore unfit for our purpose. And yet, the overall Lower city structure requires of us to retain the integrity of the Badel block, already tested by its marginal position in the grid.
And so, we remember Friedman, Isozaki, Archigram, Tschumi. We prepare the site and divide it into a 16 x 16 metre grid. Through this grid, we build up the full site area, completing the unbuilt block. We make this building a steel space-frame grid and raise it to the top floor level of the existing block structure. The height of the space beneath the grid is equal to the height of the existing buildings; the block is closed with an invisible façade. From the raised grid, we extrude small sky- and ground-scrapers. Leaving holes in the raised grid unfilled, we make the space underneath it a park. The park makes for a large open public space covered partially with a large roof, networked by a system of paths linking the wider area. Ground-scraper landings make for small sunken public plazas. The former distillery building becomes a focal point of the park, a pavilion. Heritage protected industrial facades remain as charming pseudoarchaeological relics of a bygone industrial phase, and act as gateways to the park. A big building, small buildings, a park and, all together, a block.
To fulfill the wider area integration, the Šubićeva street north of Martićeva becomes a pedestrian street, allowing only tramways and supply to pass towards Kvaternik square. The street and the market across it, are overlaid with trees, connecting these spaces to the green space of the park and adding volume to the now awkwardly exposed market. We position the high-rises carefully, considering the existing buildings in the block, leaving them as much isolation and free space as possible.
The platform is filled with shops, galleries, restaurants, cafés and a community centre. The ground-scrapers contain offices and provide access to the platform. One of the eight-story skyscrapers is a hotel; the other six contain residential apartments. Two sets of panoramic elevators in the park present an additional connection with the platform. Another eight sets of stairways and cargo lifts are spread across the site. A network of pedestrian pathways spread across the park connects the site with all the surrounding streets.
Area The entire gross aboveground area (GBA) is 68.642 square meters. The built area at the ground level is 2.301 m2, which is around 11% of the competition area. The residential area makes up 18.552 m2 (27%), commercial area 18.795 m2 (27%), retail shopping 15.760 m2 (23%), restaurants and coffee shops 7.267 m2 (6%), cultural 8.075 m2 (12%) and a hotel 3.673 m2 (5%). The garage gross surface area is 51.789 m2. There is no car parking on the ground level; three levels of underground garage contain over 1500 parking spaces, some of them are garages for the residents.
Structure Structurally, the platform consists of a system of horizontal and diagonal steel beams and steel pillars in the 16 meter grid. The structure of the high-rises is a steel-frame construction, formed by steel pillars filled with concrete, set at a distance of 16 meters, with diagonal and horizontal steel beams connecting the pillars. The platform is supported by the seven high-rises, positioned across the site. Both the platform’s and the high-rises’ façades are clad in glass. The underground garage is supported by concrete pillars in an 8 x 8 grid. There are two garage entrances – from Derenčinova and Martićeva streets. There are three garage levels, containing 1527 parking spaces.
Sustainability Proposed solution minimizes its carbon footprint by offsetting it with a large number of newly planted trees. The large flat roof of the platform presents a great potential for placement of solar panels and rainwater collectors. Architects: Luka Anic, Danko Balog, Tamara Baresic, Srdan Gajic Location: Zagreb, Croatia Program: mixed-use (residential, commercial, retail, cultural, hotel) Project Area: 68,600 sq. meters Project Year: 2012