The project below is the Honorable Mention Winner, BLOCK 39: Centre for Science Promotion in Belgrade, Serbia designed by RTA-Office. The public, cultural and college building was designed by RTA-Office’s teams in both Barcelona and Shanghai. The conceptual framework of the building is to generate an event: an institutional, urban expression pole that becomes an international lure. The studio seeks to achieve the occupation of the site and its transformation, to provide guidelines for a new fluid system of urbanism that liberates the space and repurposes it for an open, continuous program for its users.
More on this project after the break.
The volume of the building is in the shape of cross, representing the crossroad between the Occidental and Oriental cultures within Serbia. Block 39 is laid out so as to allow visitors to explore the many different access points and paths through the building, all of which pool into the spacious lobby. The intersection of the main axis that make up the cross form a spectacular hall in a central space. The spaces at the extremities of the building are public programs which include a bookshop, the Science Club, permanent exhibitions, a restaurant, planetarium and conference hall.
The strong, material expression is obtained by using only one material, the black recycled steel, specially chosen for this building’s skin because of its elegant and suggestive, dark texture. In contrast, the steel on the cuts and cracks stand out exactly where the outside and inside meet, giving the building fenestration from above and along the walls for natural light and selected views of the surroundings.
RTA-Office was very conscious of the environmental and sociological impact that the building would have and considered three fundamental pillars, economic aspects, sustainability and quality of life, when designing the proposal in preparation for LEED certification and a target energy efficiency of 70%.
Firstly, the project seeks to use high technology structures in place of reinforced concrete, and the use of native materials to ensure high resistance, long life, reduction of CO2 emissions and reduction of transportation impacts. The proposal was also designed to make use of the rain-water and gray water for garden irrigation, public toilets and cistern refill. CO2 and COV detectors were also considered to maintain the air quality of the proposal under the Health and Productivity standards of the European Community.