Croatia’ capital Zagreb recently gained another architectural and cultural attraction: the Zagreb Dance Center was officially opened to the public inside a structure which used to be an old, abandoned movie theater in the heart of the city. Zagreb-based 3LHD were the project’s architects.
Here’s a project description from 3LHD:
The opening of big movieplex cinemas in Zagreb has led to the dying out of old cinema theatres in the city centre. The City of Zagreb, who is the owner of the old cinema Lika, decided to reuse the space for new cultural facilities. In that scenario old cinema Lika was given the role of a new dance centre.
Fifty years of contemporary dance culture in Zagreb has produced about 40 dance troops, with this project all of them will have a new home in the city centre. The cinema is located in a derelict residential block only 100 meters away from the Zagreb’s main square. The entire project’s program is determined by the gross developed area defined in the master plan and it places the project in the old cinema shell. The new dance centre which will house numerous dancers, choreographers, art troops and companies will have three multipurpose studios (one large studio with 150 telescopic seats and two smaller training studios), three spacious dressing rooms, bathrooms, storages for props and technology and office spaces.
The only new architectural element of the centre is the new entrance lobby, a polyvalent space in the service of communication and meeting with a cafe, library and a video store. It was interpolated on the basis of almost default parameters of the existing neighboring houses. The volume and its broken forms also suggest dance movement and they are a new sign and connection element between the courtyard and the roof terrace. The roof terrace is the final element of the centre and an important part of the project of preservation and restoration of Zagreb last open roof stage.
Zagreb Dance Center – Fact Sheet
Project name: Zagreb Dance Center – reconstruction of the old movie theater “Lika”
Short project name: Dance Center
Program: public, culture
Project year: 2003
Project start date: 2003
Project end date: 2005 / 2008
Construction start date: 11/2005 I phase; 11/2008 II phase
Construction end date: 09/2009
Location: Ilica 10
City: Zagreb, Croatia
Site area (m2): 1,360
Gross floor area (m2): 1,438
Volume (m3): 7,082
Footprint (m2): 760
Entry level (m): 123
Client: City of Zagreb
Project team: Sasa Begovic, Marko Dabrovic, Tatjana Grozdanic Begovic, Silvije Novak, Jasminka Jug, Zorislav Petric, Zeljko Mohorovic, Dijana Vandekar, Marin Mikelic
Called Aqualta, the project is an exquisitely produced tour of a hydrologically transformed metropolis. Gondolas float through a still-blazing Times Square; people fish atop gravel banks that have built up beside inundated skyscrapers; and an aerial network of blimps, catwalks, pedestrian skyways, and cable cars passes and sways above the Venetian streets.
Similar in spirit to Squint Opera’s earlier look at a Flooded London, Aqualta is hard—if not impossible—to separate from the context of melting ice caps and global climate change. However, it deserves visual attention in its own right, even outside such politically charged discussions.
Far from stoking fear about a coming catastrophe, both of these projects—Studio Lindfors and Squint Opera—offer a vision in which people, and the cities they live in, have learned to adapt to the overwhelming presence of water. Indeed, Times Square, in Studio Lindfors’s vision, is radiant, markedly improved by the reflective waters that now flow through it. Of course New York should be at least partially flooded, one might be tempted to think; of course the future of urban planning involves designing with water.
Curious what ever thinks of this strategy. Seems to make sense at face value, but is it a good idea, or as a city, should we be focusing on other things right now?
from Daniel Friedman via Portland Architecture:
Note: This is a guest post from Daniel Friedman, a member of the Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association board. Friedman is an emeritus psychology professor at Antioch College where he taught for 21 years before retiring and moving to the South Park Blocks in 2001.
Friedman grew up in Columbus, Ohio and sees in its new capped freeway a reminder that Portland should revisit its own I-405 capping plan first forwarded in the 1990s by then-mayor Vera Katz. His proposal here also comes just days after the city of Vancouver, Washington announced the results of a design competition (won by Portland firm Allied Works) to cap I-5 to re-connect the east and west halves of the city.
Columbus, Ohio, like any number of American cities, has sent planners and public officials to Portland to ride the streetcar and to study up on transit-oriented development and other urban-planning innovations. Now it may be time for Portland to send a delegation to Columbus.
What Portlanders would see in Columbus is a potential solution to the drastic rupture created in the downtown streetscape when Interstate-405 was built in the late sixties.
I-405 divides Goose Hollow from Downtown Portland, forcing pedestrians to cross the freeway on bleak, noisy, often-deserted overpasses whose narrow sidewalks leave them precariously close to fast-moving traffic. Crossing the canyon-like I-405 is dull and unpleasant and discourages pedestrian travel between two dynamic and rapidly developing neighborhoods. The I-405 freeway creates a dead zone in the middle of what is otherwise one of the nation’s most walkable central city districts.
Columbus faced a similar problem: a desolate freeway overpass that separated the downtown area from Short North, a densely-populated, mixed-use neighborhood, not unlike NW 23rd. Pedestrians were forced to trudge across a forbidding, windswept highway overpass in order to travel from Short North to the city’s Convention Center, Public Market, Arena District, and on to downtown.
Inspired by the Ponte Vecchio, the Arno River bridge that has housed shops and artisan workspaces since at least 1345, Columbus developer Jack Lucks proposed construction of retail storerooms on both sides of the street, on platforms extending out over the interstate.
Lucks’ innovative solution—which came to be known as the ‘I-675 Cap’—has won a number of design and planning awards, including a Charter Award from the Congress for New Urbanism.
This aerial view shows the basic design: Three parallel “bridges” across the freeway. The center bridge carries North High Street. Shops and restaurants are located on top of additional bridges which extend out along either side of the original freeway overpass.
The retail platforms are 38-feet wide on one side and 57-feet wide on the other. Completed in 2004, the Cap contains 26,000 square feet of retail.
By constructing platforms for shops and restaurants along the sides of what was once a derelict interstate-highway overpass, this retail-focused freeway cap has reconnected Downtown Columbus with the adjacent Short North arts and entertainment district. As they stroll along the Cap, many pedestrians aren’t even aware that they’re crossing an eight-lane interstate highway.
The I-670 Cap is one of the few freeway caps in the US that consists of retail and restaurant space rather than parkland. The advantages of the retail approach are two-fold: (1) Revenue from retail users fully or partially pays for development; (2) Continuous retail pulls pedestrians across the freeway, seamlessly linking formerly divided neighborhoods.
Imagine several freeway caps, each containing small retail spaces, spanning I-405, reconnecting downtown Portland with Goose Hollow. Perhaps the strongest candidate for a cap would be SW Morrison Street, since there are already proposals on the table to designate it as downtown’s signature East-West shopping street. [See: Portland Downtown Retail Strategy-2009 , Downtown Portland Retail: A New Renaissance ]
With a retail-focused cap to entice pedestrians across I-405, Morrison has the potential to evolve into a continuous retail and entertainment corridor extending all the way from the Willamette to PGE Park (0.9 mi).
The water tower, which dates from 1931, was converted into an unparalled twenty-first-century home spread over nine levels. Many challenges are faced in the design: letting more daylight in and strengthening the relationship with the back courtyard by inserting a three-level high window frame; maintaining the interior’s industrial characteristics by working with materials like steel, concrete and glass; and in the tower, ensuring an effective, efficient layout for several small round rooms that lay one on top of the other, while preserving the tower’s spaciousness.