Topos 91 Urban Projects: Squares and Promenades
Urban Projects: Squares and Promenades have been part of the repertoire of urban development since the very beginning of planned settlements. They continue to fulfil important functions in cities and urban agglomerations. They are indispensable for a properly functioning day-to-day life, and even in this time of virtual reality a significant part of public life continues to occur outdoors. This issue of Topos presents successful urban projects, both in the dense, historical context as well as on the periphery, where they can be a nucleus for public life. The journey begins in European cities such as Rotterdam, Vienna and Paris before heading to Chongqing in China, the periphery of Melbourne in Australia and finally to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.
The new Rotterdam Central Station could be considered the latest addition to the city’s squares. To meet the complexities of the site, the team of architects and landscape architects developed a design that conceives of the station as an open space rather than a building. A continuous band of pavement runs through the entire structure connecting the new station with the city.
Peter Paul Witsen
A Calm Stone Carpet
The design for Wilhelminaplein in Leeuwarden has brought a politically controversial urban project to a satisfactory conclusion. The new public space strengthens the surrounding urban design interventions.
New London Squares: From the Inner Ring Road to outer London
Over the last 15 years, London has witnessed the revival of a distinctive element in its spatial matrix – the urban square – as a place of encounter, exchange, and civic identity. There are lessons to be learnt from recently realized urban projects.
Virginie Corinne Le Goffic
Israels Plads Between Park and Market
Located between Nørreport Station, Ørstedsparken and the new market halls, the newly redesigned Israels Plads brings vibrancy to the heart of Copenhagen. Today, the multifunctional space bustles with people of all ages.
Kristin Faurest, György Alföldi
Remaking the Agora
Teleki Square is one of Budapest’s most storied squares, in one of the Hungarian city’s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. A community-based design has turned the barren, crime-ridden and functionless space into a vital neighbourhood centre.
A Red Counterpart to the Harbour
The Plaine de Plainpalais square in Geneva, Switzerland, has existed for over a thousand years. After 50 years of deliberation and debating various ideas the square has now been completely refurbished.
Upon the Abandoned Beach
An abandoned surfing spot in the heart of the French agglomeration Bayonne-Anglet-Biarritz has been redeveloped into a promenade. The conurbation, limited by rocky outcrops and a steep change in grade, has had some difficulty in stretching itself all the way to the ocean side in the past. Now, a sensible and ecologically sound design ties the beach site to the town.
Theatre to the World
The Place de la République, one of Paris’s most emblematic squares has been transformed from a car-dominated space into the largest pedestrianised zone in the French capital. The newly designed square encourages diversity and invites users to engage in multiple activities.
Africa Junctions: Capturing the City
Everyday life on the streets of Africa’s metropolitan regions
Lisa Buttenberg, Klaus Overmeyer
Spatial Ventures Shape the City
Spatial ventures are initiatives that appropriate buildings or open space in cities in order to use them to promote the activists’ own interests. Such projects can therefore serve as testing areas for urban planning concepts. A project of special significance with regard to public space is the Schieblock in Rotterdam.
At last – no more Curbs
The redevelopment of the Altstadt of Warburg, Germany, combines access for all and attractive design. It is a model project for accessible design in an historic context.
Space for People
Mariahilfer Strasse is one of Vienna’s largest and most famous shopping streets. Since 2014 it has been undergoing work to convert it into a pedestrian zone, section by section. New ground surfaces and individually designed urban furniture are transforming the street into a pleasant location to stop and spend some quality time in the Austrian capital.
Chongqing: Mountains and Water
Three urban design approaches establish places of significance and points of destination within the transient Chinese city of Chongqing, situated between a rural past and a thriving present.
A New Civic Fabric for an Older Place
The new Dandenong Civic Square in Melbourne’s southeastern suburbs is a place of attraction and activity as much as repose and gathering. The design reflects the cultural diversity of this Australian satellite city.
Cultural Relics in A New Spotlight
The renovation of Agueda Gallardo Park draws on the collective memory of inhabitants of Pamplona. A continuous surface unites urban space and historical remnants in the Colombian town.
Faisal Abdulaziz bin Ayyaf Almogren
Iconic Escape in a Dense Urban Fabric
The urban square in front of King Fahad National Library in Riyadh is part of a larger renovation and expansion project of the national library. The new urban project in the Saudi capital is the envisioning of an icon and a public space for the city.
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