Science centre, Belgrade
A winning design by Wolfgang Tschapeller imagines an elevated city detached from the ground.
BELGRADE (RS) - The Serbian Ministry of Science and Technological Development recently held an international competition to design a Centre for Promotion of Science in conjunction with the urban development of Blok 39 in New Belgrade. A rather unusual and ungainly hovering structure, envisioned by Austrian architect Wolfgang Tschapeller, ultimately won unanimous approval from the competition jury. On the one hand, the design manages an appropriate whimsicality in terms of its purpose and function, manifesting as a showcase of sorts for structural principles and reflecting the foundation of science, that is, the earth itself. On the other, its floating aloofness may well be a little too effective in enabling a detachment from the surrounding urban context, and thus also from reality. (Dutton R. Hauhart)
According to the competition brief, the Centre for Promotion of Science will be an institution of service and a national bank of knowledge in the field of science for the general public. It will organize innovative and educative exhibitions, and bring science closer to general public. The main goal of the Centre for Promotion of Science will be to facilitate scientific education, a continuous training as well as social and economic growth, both with direct action, and in partnership with other actors – primarily the Ministry of Science and Technological Development and the Ministry of Education.
The Centre will be positioned in New Belgrade's Blok 39, a prime 'innovation' part of the city, a scientific park with research institutes, universities and research-based business. The purpose of the competition was to develop an architectural design for the Centre for Promotion of Science as well as proposals for the urban development of the entire Blok 39.
The Centre for Promotion of Sciences in Belgrade will be floating high above the ground. It operates on three levels. Firstly, on the level of the City of Belgrade it will be an optimistic sign positioned on one of the main routes of the city. Secondly for Blok 39 it will be sign, canopy and portico. Thirdly, as a building being programmed to promote sciences it plays on visions of technology and construction. The architectural language of the centre will strongly be one of technology and the display of structural principles. A special role is given to the underside of the centre; it will have mirroring qualities, able to reflect all the movement on the ground, as well as the visitor, who by entering the centre is penetrating the reflections of the earth's surface.
New Belgrade is a city of our times, a city which was invented and planned in the course of the 20th century with a decisive modernist perspective. Soleil (sun), Verdure (greenery), Espace (space) and functional segregation, together with the rules of CIAM, were main arguments of New Belgrade. Now, 60 years later, how do we read New Belgrade and how do we want to continue its construction?
We decided for a few very simple spatial tools, all of them being in close discourse with the principles of modernism. Firstly, we are opting for an elevated city detached from the ground. Only pillars and elements of circulation shall touch on the ground. We are proposing a floating city, buildings on pilotis giving the ground freedom. Secondly, the entire site is usable and accessible to everybody. Buildings do not block vision and movement. The terrain will be occupied by a multitude of different vegetations, exotic and local plants, waterlines, bike routes and jogging paths. The functional segregation of the modernist movement is replaced by the complexity of simultaneities. Below ground is a slab of parking and service functions. The ground level is covered by a variety of vegetations and allows for a city of pedestrians. Sixty-five per cent of the site is green, and almost all of the ground level allows for unobstructed vision.
Thursday | 23 December | 2010 | Serbia | Wolfgang Tschapeller Architects