Some of the most characteristic features of city squares are related to the presence of people in the space and the purposes they are given, such as places for socializing, sports, tourism, and demonstrations. These different uses, often not foreseen in the project, are closely associated with the ground level, where people can walk around and experience the space. Viewed from an aerial perspective, on the other hand, squares can reveal other aspects related to their architectural design and their placement in the urban context.
Public Square: The Latest Architecture and News
Notre Dame to Receive New Landscape Design: Bas Smets Wins Competition to Reimagine the Cathedral's Surroundings
In parallel with the restoration works underway at the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral, the city of Paris has launched a design competition to redevelop the cathedral’s surroundings. On June 27, the jury announced the team led by landscape designer Bas Smets as the winner of the competition. The project, planned to start in 2024, will reimagine the square and the underground parking spaces beneath it, including the archeological crypt, the Jean XXIII square located behind the cathedral, the Seine riverbanks, and the adjacent streets. This extensive project aims to bring Parisians back to the heart of Paris and welcome the 12 million visitors coming each year in better conditions.
Snøhetta won the competition to redesign the Eliel and Asema Square in Helsinki, a public space neighbouring the city’s historic railway station, into a vibrant central hub. Developed together with Finnish practices Davidsson Tarkela Oy and WSP, the proposal aims to contribute to Helsinki’s strategy to increase green mobility by reconnecting the urban fabric to the rail station and framing a “porous new city block” that would foster a more diverse array of indoor and outdoor activities.
A Public Park in a Former Quarry in Australia and A Garden Bridge in China: 10 Unbuilt Public Spaces and Buildings Submitted to Archdaily
This week's curated selection of Best Unbuilt Architecture highlights public spaces and buildings submitted by the ArchDaily Community. From bridges to squares, from parks to markets and train stations, this article explores the various kinds of public infrastructure that support the urban fabric, showcasing distinct approaches worldwide.
Featuring a bridge that doubles as a garden in China, the redevelopment of public spaces to meet contemporary needs in Montenegro and the Czech Republic, or a pier park in New York, the round-up spans various scales, from single architectural objects to urban strategies, to masterplans. The following projects reveal the ideas that shape public spaces and amenities in different contexts, illustrating diverse approaches towards what constitutes the backbone of the urban fabric.
Sou Fujimoto Architects has unveiled its design for the top part of the tallest skyscraper in Japan “Torch Tower” in Tokyo, collaborating mainly with Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei, Inc. Standing tall at 390m, the highrise building planned to be ready by 2028, takes on a large plaza at around 300m, generating a space for people.
As architects around the world reimagine public spaces in the midst of the coronavirus, Italian architecture firm Caret Studio has envisioned the “StoDistante” installation. Searching to reconcile people with the outdoors, and allowing theses spaces to reopen safely while respecting the social distancing measures, Caret Studio created a temporary installation that reflects our current situation.
HUA HUA Architects has imagined a proposal that can reconcile people and public spaces, post Covid-19. The Gastro Safe Zone program aims to awaken stagnant gastronomic businesses by regulating outside eating and ensuring the required social distancing measures. The first prototype has been already installed in the streets of Brno in the Czech Republic.
In the city of Milan, architecture firm LAD identified a busy roundabout with the potential to host a new public square typology. Sovraparco, literally “over park,” is a design by the Italian firm and Hypnos Studio to better utilize an existing area in the city, Piazzale Loreto, by infusing it with greenery and public space. The project intentionally does not impose on the surrounding buildings to revamp the area, but instead inserts itself into the central space and aims to rethink what belongs to the public sector.
Design practice White Arkitekter has created a 65 meter-long ‘sofa’ for Forumtorget Square in Uppsala, Sweden. Designed to provide space for rest and social interaction, the linear outdoor seating is the centerpiece of wider improvements to the large square. The project aims to attract more visitors to Forumtorget and its surrounding shopping area by building on the area’s character as a gathering place.
Pavel Hnilicka Architekti is set to design Prague’s Victory Square, having been announced as winners of an international competition. Led by Pavel Hnilička, Eva Macáková, and Josef Filip, the winning scheme seeks to divert all existing traffic away from the square, transforming the space with a striking central monument.
The scheme sees the removal of tram tracks through the square, which will instead be relocated to the west side and Evropská Street. While traffic will be removed from the square, a new traffic plan will, in fact, accommodate more cars than the existing layout, while the center of the existing roundabout will become a “functioning space for universal use.”
HUNI Architectes Receives Highest Prize in a Competition to Design a Lotus-Inspired Square in Vietnam
International offices HUNI Architectes has received the highest prize in an international competition to design the Da Nang City Center Square in Vietnam. Organized by the Department of Construction, the city launched its competition for the square, with HUNI beating out 15 other designs competing for first place. HUNI has experience in Vietnam-based projects, already having collaborated with OMGEVING & Partners to restore Da Nang’s riverfront.
The design adopts the symbolic shape of a typical local element: the Lotus lake. Featuring distinctive ‘Lotus flower’ and ‘Lotus leaf’ canopies, the square aims to increase bike and pedestrian access, along with decreasing water runoff in Da Nang’s rain-filled location. Using its canopy-like shade structure, the Lotus Square will host a playground, market, and water feature symbolic of its chosen motif.