Duong Vu Hong & Brygida Zawadzka
Project done as part of the study program: TU Delft, MSC1 CP_Anatomy of a Landmark
In between the city and its suburban part lies the Mostar Interchange. The Interchange came into existence in 1974 as a monument of socialist power and the medium bringing new relation between the city and New Belgrade.In those times it stressed the importance of the machines – cars. Today it continuously functions as infrastructural device, however besides it leaves peculiar influence on the city – in the sense that it functions as a border dividing the city into left and right part of the interchange. Likewise, it separates the city from the river, contributing to the emergence of an extensive wasteland between the traffic and the river. This currently unused piece of land located by the river recently gained on its importance because of newly planned development – Belgrade Waterfront. BW is a huge investment which possibly may impact the whole city. However, generic, vague vision it is depicted nowadays does not promise to add valuable spots for the citizens nor to solve any of currently occurring issues in the city. Many wonders if it will happen and what consequences to Belgrade will it bring.
Belgrade is a city which has suffered too much destruction, migration, economic crisis cycles and identity crisis during the two centuries of its modern history. A whole of the cultural history of Belgrade during the last three centuries could be considered in the almost paradoxical continuity of discontinuity of war’s, devastation, irrational decisions and unfulfilled visions. Moreover, Belgrade has been the subject of countless urban and architectural failures, becoming a conglomerate of stylistic and aesthetic controversies, a cacophony of disordered rights and interests. Currently, the country is slowly recovering from its past. The economy is getting better and Serbia candidates to join EU.
Presently important issue in Belgrade is the Belgrade Waterfront. It is the largest real estate and commercial development project in Belgrade supported by Serbian government. It comes from the concept of changing the image of the former capital city of Yugoslavia, bringing attention to Serbia and expanding Belgrade to the water. Proposed masterplan is actually a district occupying 177 hectares, predominantly focused on the wealthier part of the society, offering multiple residential, office units, tower, shopping mall and a water promenade. However it sounds positive, the project arouses a lot of controversy.
The Belgrade Waterfront is not just a project that would add to the urban offerings of Serbia’s capital city but would change its face completely. Obviously if it will be built in its total extent. Because of the fact that there is only one investor – Eagle Hills company and taking into consideration the economical instability of Serbia the emergence of the project is a question mark. The future scenarios may be completely different. In the beginning we can distinguish three of them: the Belgrade Waterfront will manage to be built according to the plan, the BW will be stopped and not built at all or it will be constructed until certain extent. What are the consequences of those scenarios? What are the pros and cons and how Belgrade may change in the future? It is difficult to find an answer to all of them so let’s try to focus on one: What if the Belgrade Waterfront will be built.
Deducting from analysis as main issues we consider: disconnection from the river, being valuable part of Belgrade, discontinuity of urban fabric and predominantly the aftermaths related to the emergence of the Belgrade Waterfront. By those consequences, we understand: lack of the policy oriented towards the citizens of Belgrade in terms of their participation in the project and design of public or green spaces as well as purely commercially oriented masterplan, without an emphasis towards cultural and other non-profit functions. In conclusion, we find it a mistake not to include public spaces or institutions into the Belgrade Waterfront master-plan. We reckon that their presence in the project could bring multiple benefits to this generic, blurry masterplan.
Thus, our position bases on 6 aspects:
- A new dialogue between the city and the Sava river
- Amplifi cation of existing urban scheme: city centre- green
belt- dormitory, by extending the green belt to the water
- Providing “defined” amongst uncertainty
- Juxtaposition of specific and generic
- Answering the need for public space
- Rethinking the concept of landmark and creating a new one
for citizens of Belgrade
Taking above- mentioned aspects into consideration, our design proposal aims to complement the lack of recreational spaces in the area of Belgrade Waterfront and the Mostar Interchange. Additionally, it divides the homogeneous space, creating completely new one in between. This is done by one strong accent – line, which brings the citizens to the river. The line uses structure coming from Old Railway Sava Bridge, which is located nearby and which will cease functioning following the emergence of the Belgrade Waterfront. By doing so we provide Belgrade with another landmark, this time orientated towards citizens and their needs. The new public landmark (space in between) which is framed by 2 old ones – the Mostar Interchange and the new – old bridge. We define the space in-between as stations, referring to the railway past of the site and giving different and specific meaning to each of them.
Who influences you graphically?
There is no peculiar design or graphic studio nor an artist who constantly influences us graphically. In each project we try to come up with the best method which would bring out the values of it. Besides, each time we attempt for expanding the boundaries of our graphic abilities. However, what is also important for as is to illustrate the project in a way that can be understood by non- architects. Thus, in the project INBETWEEN we decided to depict it in a series of realistic collages, which emphasize the activities that may happen in the designed space. Hence, in this case our work was eventually influenced by Superstudio, KGDVS, David Hockney and Edward Hopper art.
What is the effect and power of texture? How and why do you use it to coat the entire drawing as well as singular elements?
The main reason for using a texture was to show the properties of distinct parts of the neighbourhood – the Belgrade Waterfront, existing city with the Mostar Interchange and our intervention, accentuating the contrast between them. The Belgrade Waterfront project which is currently undefined, blurry vision was illustrated with generic, repeating grid, without any differentiation. Existing city elements were shown in a realistic way, being the collage of multiple photographs while our intervention was presented in a defined way, using textures which show particular materials, patterns, etc. Obviously, in the end all those elements were covered with a noise texture which ties them together to make the image aesthetically coherent.
How do you construct the images?
First, we prepare simple render base in rhino. Later on, we play with that using multiple filters in Adobe Photoshop. There we add elements of nature and people. In general, while constructing the images we care a lot about the message, they must transfer and atmosphere. Exemplary, we pay attention on the time of a day and the amount of people on the collage. Moreover, we often try to incorporate a story into the images. This time for instance, you can notice a ”generic man” which appears in each image of the series In between. This everyman leads you through the project pointing out characteristic moments of it. He is the man, that we can easily identify with. However, he is a generic man, he is present in the defined space.
How relevant is the use of Hockney silhouettes?
Hockney Silhouettes bring individual meaning to the images. Quite often they are enigmatic ones which makes you deliberate what is the story behind them. Moreover, those figures are generic enough concentrating your whole attention on the project and activities related to it.
What is the use of shifting from axonometric to plan?
The shift from axonometric to plan came from a very pragmatic reason. Namely, it was related to the deliverables for the final presentation, during which we were asked to “sell” the project solely on one panel. Because we reckoned that for better comprehension it is crucial to show the project both on plan and axonometric and at the same time depict it using one image, we came with idea of combining those two drawings.