Authors: Milena Zindović and Riste Dobrijević
Second prize at the architectural competition for the design of Arts square in Sombor
Arts square is a new urban space in Sombor, Serbia, with a specificaly multi-functional character. The location planned for the square is in the historical downtown of Sombor, within a protected historical ambiance “Venac”. The space is an open-air extension of cultural programs of surrounding buildings: Palace of Culture, National Theater, as well as other cultural manifestations happening in the city.
Defined by the volumes and architecture of the surrounding buildings, with all feature of a classicist square, Arts Square allows for the creation of an essentially urban space that would be successfully used and enjoyed in various scenarios. Therefore, in addition to the barrier-free open space necessary for the successful transformation in accordance with functional requirements, it is necessary to plan for ambiances which will allow for it pleasant enjoyment outside of festivities and cultural manifestations, at all hours and seasons.
The proposal positions the denivelation line in a way that the main space, which in level and form belongs to the Palace of Culture, has a clear and simple geometric shape, additionally emphasizing its classic character in accordance with the historic architecture that surrounds it. Vertical communications – stairs and ramp, are grouped in a fixed linear element which functionally and formally divides the space into two: the space of the Arts square, and the space that allows access to the Library and Theater. Within that linear element the complete level change has been overcome, additionally separating the two spaces. The “lower part”, the space of employees’ entrances to the Library and Theater, which is leveled with the already existing adjunct passage, while the “upper part” is leveled with the Palace of Culture.
This spatial division informs its formal treatment. In the lower part the intervention is such to formally connect to the existing landscaping of the adjunct passage – the pavement circles in the passage are replaced by green circles, which also define movement towards the Arts Square and the employees’ entrances. The circles are positioned to keep the existing trees in front of the Library, as well as plant new ones towards the Theater’s back facade. The green circles also correspond to the radiuses necessary for access of cargo trucks to the Theater. The pavement is the same as the pavement in the adjunct passage.
This treatment of the lower space gives it a character of intimacy and shading – it becomes another passage to the Arts Square. In this way the square itself is visually revealed more dramatically from all access points – from the Car Lazar Square and from the passage. Also, its intimate classicist ambiance is more emphasized.
Simple and classicist treatment of the Arts Square allows for its multi-functionality in accordance with the competition requirements: it is possible to place the stage and seating in several configurations on the square. In addition, with the use of foldable and movable urban seating, the square can accommodate various ambient and functional qualities, depending on the needs of the users and citizens of Sombor.