Architect Djordje Alfirevic shared with us his proposal for the Beton Hala Waterfront Center in Belgrade, Serbia which promotes an idea of visual and functional merging of the newly designed part with the existing Beton Hala building. The design team consisted in Djordje Alfirevic, M.Phil., Dusan Trifunovic, M.Arch, Petar Tufegdzic, M.Arch, Djordje Nikolic, M.Arch, Milica Vujosevic,M.Arch, Bojana Stankovic, M.Arch. In addition, this design aims to create a unique center for exhibition and commercial use in the city which also communicates, in a mimetic way, with the Kalemegdan fortress and Sava river’s waterfront. More images and architect’s description after the break.
The building design draws inspiration from the contextual specifics of the waterfront area (Sava river flow characteristics, old city ambient of Kosančićev venac and Kalemegdan fortress with its park), from which main design motives are abstracted including flows, curves, water, beach, park. In this way, the project represents an extension and completion of the existing undefined ambient and nourishes and emphasizes its recognized values.
By combining different urban layers (park greenery, old city tissue and waterfront line) the project promotes principles of urban integration and regeneration of neglected spaces. A new urban center where nature, people, culture and economy meet generates a new creative vortex in the Belgrade coastline.
Communications and Connections
Redesign of the existing tram route is the essential design statement that creates new motives in the perception of the whole waterfront and lower Kalemegdan area. The goal was to turn the transportation conveyance into an instrument of new city perception. The proposed redesign solution is introducing a new part of the tram route from the crossroad of Tadeuša Košćuška and Cara Dušana street along Vojvode Bojovića boulevard and new waterfront center, and furthermore along Karađorđeva street. The new tram route should pass through the newly designed waterfront center at the upper garage level.
By prolonging the tram route around the fortress and defining a new system of tram stops, the design activates the lower Kalemegdan city and creates a possible site-seeing tram route for tourists. By removing tram traffic from Tadeuša Košćuška street, it is possible to establish a better connection with the main pedestrian route on Knez Mihailova street. It will also be possible to reveal and present recently found excavations of an old Roman castrum that lies beneath the existing tram route in Tadeuša Košćuška street. The slope of the existing tram route that runs down Tadeuša Košćuška street and connects it to Karađorđeva street becomes the main pedestrian access to the new waterfront center. This design solution should activate all the waterfront potentials beneath Kalemegdan fortress and should also provide an opportunity for better spatial use of existing the tram route as one of the main pedestrian accesses.
The main pedestrian accesses from the city center and Kalemegdan fortess are from the direction of Pariska street and stairs from the Kalemegdan fortres promenade. Access from the riverside to the roof of Beton hala is enabled with two new staircases and panoramic elevators on both ends of Beton hala building. The main entrance to the Waterfront Center, staff entrance, and entrance into the commercial part are on the same level. From the roof terace level pedestrians have the opportunity to go further to higher levels where the pedestrian connection of waterfront and city center is made. On the side parts of the center there are new stairs that allow a connection with Kosančićev venac foothill and Vojvode Bojovića boulevard.
Garage and Vehicle Accesses
The main access for vehicles is on the extension of Karađorđeva street and Vojvode Bojovića boulevard, where also the entrances to the underground garage are located. The garage is planned for 780 vehicles and 15 buses. The gas station is planned on the outskirts of the competition area, in the Vojvode Bojovića boulevard.
General Architectural Concept
Design concept of Beton Hala Waterfront Center derives from contextual specifics. Location on the riverside, beneath an old fortress and near the city center, gave the opportunity for an authentic expression inspired by river flows and riverside motives, such as: water, river isle, river eddy and sand beach. The existing Beton hala building is recognized as an element also derived from the same language, with the facade that follows the coastline and the roof that underlines the border between the coast and the fortress. It was considered essential to preserve these elements. The roof becomes the beach above the water. Cultural and commercial centre roof is acting as a natural bond between the water, beach and green foothill of the fortress. The roof is transforming into ramps, staircases and slopes, enabling communication through the object. A ramp rises along the east facade alongside the Karađorđeva street, dramatizing the sense of arrival at the river.
Functional and Spatial Organization
One of the main subjects of the competition is designed as one building that includes all necessary facilities. It consists of 4 levels: roof terrace, main level, upper garage level and lower garage level. The main Beton Hala Waterfront Center’s level lies on top of existing Beton Hala. The Center is divided into two parts – exhibition and commercial. In front of it is a public space designed to be an ‘urban beach,’ giving quality space for all kinds of exhibitions, performances and other activities. The entrances to the Center are set to be on the river side of the complex, allowing visitors to enter freely from the urban beach plateau.
Pedestrians coming from Kalemegdan Park and city center approach the entire complex over grand scale green roof. The roof is designed for resting, leisure and open space activities. The roof represents main surface from which the access to the river bank is possible.
Inside the Center dominates exhibition area consisted of main and temporary part. The exhibition area key motive is an atrium, providing interior with natural light and connecting it with the green roof area of the complex. This atrium spreads and collects the view to and from the whole Kalemegdan Park and The Fortress. The other large part of the Center is reserved for public area occupied with commercial space and a restaurant. On the same level of the building are situated management, administration and curators spaces enriched with small leisure areas.
Two lower levels of the building contain parking places, storages, maintenance and technical units. All vertical connections to the main hall are provided.
Structural Design and Materials
Structure of the new Beton Hala Waterfront Center is mostly concrete skeleton system, with dominating grid of 8x8m, and concrete structural walls. Materialization is derived from the surrounding elements: wood decking for the urban beach, low water pools as elements of the landscape, green roof, structural concrete and steel, highly insulating and low-energy glass facades, brickwork facade on eastern wall towards Vojvode Bojovića boulevard, Karađorđeva street, old city blocks and Kosančićev venac. The Center is designed to be with durable, high quality natural materials so that maintenance cost should be minimal.
Sustainability by Design
Sustainability issues are addressed by design, which means that ecological and social aspects of the new Waterfront Center have been integrated in the design process from the very beginning and into the main building concept. By conceiving the Center as a new part of the landscape which merges and integrates with the existing context of the fortress and coastline with its dominant green roof structure, the key solution for various issues of sustainability is achieved. It respects and improves the existing surroundings, providing a sustainable framework for social, economical and natural rehabilitation of the waterfront area, and also creating impulse for future development of a wider area. Green roof itself is a sustainable structure, which enriches natural habitat, lowers the heat island effect, improves thermal insulation of the building itself and lowers water runoff. The long glass facade opened to the river, as well as atrium and gaps in the roof structure are enabling maximum daylight to enter the building, minimizing the need for artificial lighting. Natural ventilation is made possible in the direction perpendicular to the long river facing glass facade. It is possible to use geothermal energy for heating and cooling.