Rahovec Central square

Competition entry, 2020.

Authors: Milena Zindović, Nataša Đurić

Collaboration: Loti Milošević

The competition area is a large heterogenous urban space, within a small-scale dispersed urban pattern. The proposed design solution aims to achieve an organized and planned space of unique yet local character, that adheres to the citizens’ expectations. The design is based on the following principles:

Main characteristic of the built structure of Rahovec (irregularly dispersed cubic forms) is translated into a singular modular unit (vaulted pavilion 7.2 x 7.2 x 5.4 m), positioned within an all-encompassing 7.2×7.2m grid. The units are suitable for multiplication and formation of simple or complex variations in terms of function, form and ambiences, which are regulated by their dimension and specific combination that relates to the surrounding.
The form and materialization (concrete, brick, steel and glass) of the modular unit use the same principle of translating the surrounding into a contemporary design language, with the aim of achieving new value without being intrusive.
The proposed design tends to emphasize the diversity of function, possibility of combining and further development of the modular unit to produce new structures.

The proposed disposition of the functions is based on users’ movement and usage patterns, with consideration of the existing functions in the surrounding area, thus allowing the new spaces to become activated “naturally” by users. By introducing new content and contemporary design, the central square becomes a generator of new ideas and contemporary lifestyle.
Commercial facilities (market, shops, hospitality) are formed in the zone oriented towards the historic city center. The market and commercial zone are designed to allow flexibility in use, from everyday shopping and leisure, to specialized trade fairs and exhibits.
New functions in the city of Rahovec are introduced through the Innovation center with its square and the extension of the park with new activities. They are organized in the central zone of the competition space, with the aim to attract younger users from the nearest and wider surroundings and offer them new functions and contemporary spaces for organizing various public and cultural manifestations. Here the modular unit is interpreted as canopies, passages or semi-enclosed spaces, allowing flexibility in usage – music pavilions, open galleries, poetry readings, open-air meetings and lectures.
Walking and biking, activities that represent the contemporary attitude to the urbanity and nature, are encouraged by introducing a green integrated street (park avenue), bicycle path and a walkways along the water features, creating a walking and biking connection from the historic city center to the vineyards in the outskirts of the city.

The existing terrain height differences were used to create a series of subtle levels, that allow for a better differentiation between zones and functions, as well create a more diverse and rambling path through the space. The steps are multifunctional, allowing spaces to quickly adapt to various uses: the sports court is surrounded by steps that double as viewers stands, and can easily be used for performances. The square behind (or in front) of the Innovation center is recessed compared to surrounding passages, with the same idea of allowing for an audience to gather.
All level changes also have ramps to allow universal accessibility and inclusivity. Main pathways are from hard paving, with soft materials used on secondary paths in the parks. Children playgrounds are also planned from soft materials.
A variety of spaces and structures designed within the Rahovec Central square allows for users of various gender, age and lifestyles to equally enjoy the space.

Large portion of the designed area is planned as green surfaces, with trees and shrubs. New trees are positioned in lines and groups, purposefully to create pleasant shaded areas for walking, play, biking and sitting in the summer. Planned parking lots are also lined with trees. Additionally, the new water feature is design to allow visitor closer contact to the water surface, another source of cooling in hot summers. In the summer, the pools and channels are filled from the underground streams existing in Rahovec.
The water feature can be used as a drainage channel in times of expected high waters and run-off flooding (spring and fall), and the designed retention pools can hold the surplus water until the natural waterways can accept it. The terrain leveling and position of the channels and pools is design in function of the provided information on the locations of run-off flooding.
Additionally, treatment of surfaces provides relief from excess flooding. The car parking lots are paved with permeable tiling, and green and soft pavement areas in the park will absorb precipitation and run-off water. It is important to keep in mind in further project development that all green ares and tree planters need to be recessed to paving, to allow precipitation and run-off waters to reach the underground.

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