The City of Belgrade and the Union of Architects of Serbia have launched a contest to revamp the Serbian capital’s prominent Savski Square (Deadline: 15 January)
The competition seeks innovative proposals to transform the 21,900m² square (pictured) which is surrounded by a number of historic buildings – including an iconic train station – and will serve as the gateway to Belgrade’s 177ha waterfront regeneration zone. Proposals are also required for a smaller 960m² square nearby at the corners of Karadjordjeva and Travnicka Street.
The single-stage contest, backed by Abu Dhabi-based developer Eagle Hills, aims to revitalise the landmark public spaces and unlock regeneration in the wider area while also respecting local history. The overall winner will receive €50,000 and an opportunity to bid for the design contract.
Savski Square, Belgrade
According to the brief: ‘The aim of the competition is to select the best architecture, urban and spatial solutions for the landscaping of Savski Square along with the part of the lot of Old Railways Station in the direction of Savski Square and Karađirđeva Street which creates the visual and ambiental composition with the area os Savski Square, and the Square at the corner of Karađorđeva and Travnička streets.
‘The objective is to ensure that among selected solutions for the arrangement of the above mentioned central city areas, a functional, high quality and creative use of the public open space is provided in accordance with current urbanistic and social needs of Belgrade citizens and visitors, as well as to provide the integration into a framework of existing and planned facilities in the immediate surrounding, having in mind the cultural and historical importance and background of the area.’
The €3.5 billion Belgrade Waterfront redevelopment project, on the southern bank of the Sava River, will transform a large area of former railway and logistics land. The district, known as Savamala, was a major commercial hub for the city before falling into disuse and has now been cleared for redevelopment. The scheme will deliver 6,000 apartments and 750,000m² of office and commercial space.
Eagle Hills was set up by Mohamed Alabbar who also founded Emaar Properties.
The competition focuses on a large plaza on the eastern fringe of the regeneration zone known as Savski Square. The area hosts the city’s main train and bus stations which are due to relocate elsewhere.
The project will transform the square into a new pedestrianised green space for city residents. The former railway station will meanwhile be converted into a new cultural venue.
Contest judges include Јovan Mitrović from the Union of Architects of Serbia, Belgrade city planner Milutin Folić; and the landscape architect Osama Al Hassan.
The overall winner, to be announced on 31 January, will receive €50,000 prize and a chance to win the design contract. There will also be a second prize of €15,000 and third prize of €10,000 .
How to apply
The deadline for applications is 15 January
Union of Architects of Serbia
Republic of Serbia
11 000 Belgrade
Kneza Milosa 7а/III
Visit the competition website for more information
Q&A with Nikola Nedeljkovic
The Belgrade Waterfront general manager discusses his ambitions for the competition
Why are your holding a competition to rethink Sava Square?
The re-creation of one of the focal points of Belgrade deserves involvement of the expert public. The international competition is a transparent and efficient way to do so. We are interested to hear what the vision of both local and international professionals is. The local artists are naturally familiar with the historical, artistic, social and urban value of Sava Square, while the international offering will bring the fresh vision, which will culminate with an unparallel urban experience second to none.
What is your vision for the new waterfront masterplan?
The design of the masterplan presents a modern architecture typology, in context with the inherited surroundings, and expression that is efficient, modular, cost-conscious and characterised by flexibility and sympathy for the human scale. Sava Square, the subject of the contest, spreads over 21,900sq m, with the addition of a nearby smaller square of 960sq m. The innovative design will be seamlessly incorporated in the whole area to form a coherent harmonious and sustainable urban and historical fabric.
What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?
All experts in the field of urban landscaping are welcome. We are especially excited about the participation of young designers and the possibility of launching their career on this particular project. We would also like to see designs submitted by both large scale and small architectural/landscape companies. There is no condition of collaborating with local companies, as we want to give participant limitless opportunities to express their creativity.
Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?
Belgrade Waterfront spans 31 plots, with a total site area of 1 million sq m and GFA of 1.,8 million sq m. It includes residential, office, hospitality, retail and public spaces, as well as infrastructure. A project of such a large scale will create more opportunities in the future.
Are there any other recent waterfront regeneration projects you have been impressed by?
Abu Dhabi-based Eagle Hills has extensive expertise in developing the waterfront destinations. Along with Belgrade Waterfront, other Eagle Hills’ mixed-use facilities in Jordan, Morocco, UAE and Bahrain and Ethiopia also draw on the latest technologies to build smart and sustainable projects that add significant value to the local economies.