Author: Milena Zindović
Collaboration of construction drawings preparation: Bojan Djekić
The latest stage of the reconstruction of the city park in Šabac, the circular plaza with fountain has been designed within the broader framework of the new park concept. Looking at the whole city park as a “galaxy”, each new and reconstructed ambiance was given an astronomical character – Moon, Milky Way, Game planet, etc. This circular plaza, originally developed in the 70-ies as part of a city park extension, was given the character of the Sun, considering its shape and exposure.
In designing a sun-inspired park space, the idea was to evoke a sense of summer, a Mediterranean holiday by the water, a relaxed area to soak up the warmth. The fountain was re-imagined to allow for contact with water and a murmur of running water as a soothing sound, opposed to violent splashes so often found in water features.
The round shape of the space informed both the pavement design and the fountain. The pavement is done with concrete cubes in two different colors, creating a layout that emphasizes the circular motif. Similar cubic pavement was also used throughout the park, connecting the space to its context.
Two orthogonal paths cross the plaza and fountain – creating small bridges over the water and leading to the fountain’s green heart, a new space in the park whose small scale creates a sense of exclusivity. Here, pine trees will be planted to allow for shading and a pleasant atmosphere for relaxation at the metaphorical Sun’s heart. Introducing a green heart to the paved plaza also reduces the heat and exposure, that previously discouraged the use of the space in summer.
The fountain’s water runs in a circle and the rough bottom made of river pebbles creates a stream whose gentle murmur fills the entire space. This allows for a sense of privacy, relaxation and rest in a public area usually associated with loud children’s games from the adjacent playground and football field. However, the plaza and fountain create a different atmosphere to be enjoyed by all ages.
The stream is surrounded by seating areas covered in wood, creating a material contrast with the concrete surrounding of the plaza. Wooden seating is placed at different heights and widths around the fountain stream – allowing continuous contact with water for a multitude of use and users. Young children particularly enjoy lower seating, that is better suited to their needs, yet rarely found in public space.
The plaza design is completed with a steel pergola whose arched shape forms a visual gate, signifying the entrance/exit from the park. A smaller arched gate already exists at the other end of the park, as a symbol of its entrance from the city center. By creating a contemporary counterpart, the park as a whole is defined and enclosed, symbolically as well as visually.
The pergola is segmented and partially covered in a triangulated pattern, evoking sails and boats on the water. It creates a semi-enclosed public space that could be used for different events and gatherings in the park. The pergola design also adds a needed vertical element to a flat pavement and fountain design, and a visual attractor seen from the surrounding park ambiances.
The new reconstructed plaza breaths new life into the northern area of the city park. With new seating and a water feature, this space that has been unused and largely ignored by the citizens using the park, has become a gathering point for many different users.
Photographs: Djordje Djerić