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MIU
SMALL URBAN INTERVENTIONS
mici interventii urbane

2015
Workshop
STUDIO-ACT
Varies
Bucharest
Presentation Booklet

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Team: Horia Spirescu, Ana Constantinescu
Collaborators: Matei Georgescu, Vadim Patriciu, Iulia Cucu

fixing existing public spaces through small architectural interventions

The aim of this project was to create a workshop focused on the needs of several public spaces in Bucharest. While having to deal with fundamental problems, Bucharest leaves most of its small, apparently insignificant public spaces behind. These spaces are not completly forgotten though. The way in witch random passer-bys interact with these spots gives us an inside of how they should transform. The process is almost like a series of generated iterations.

(1). Charles de Gaule Square
(2). Victoriei Squarei
(3). Romana Square
(4). National Theater

Why Bucharest?

Romania is a young country with a vague culture of public space. If we look at the series of policy changes that took place over the last decades we can observe different stages in the development of cities.
The cities today face many issues. The main issue is the fulfillment of basic needs. This fact leads to a low quality of public spaces.
The public space in Bucharest is characterized by inconsistencies and discontinuities. This provides, among other things, a unique character, which is why we want to understand it better. We want to investigate the residual function of public space, its qualities and how it can be improved.
The public spaces that we focus on are mainly in the downtown area – they follow the North-South axis linking Charles de Gaulle Square and Youth Park. This spaces have a small degree of social conviviality and are often ineffective or incomplete.
We intend to make a few interventions that can function as landmark sites. By doing this we try to improve the quality of a place significantly and remedy existing dysfunctions.

Charles de Gaule Square

One of the major transportation hubs of Bucharest, Piata Charles de Gaulle is characterized by a large flow of traffic.
The site we chose for one of the proposals is next to the office building ’Charles de Gaulle Plaza’ in front of the bus stop that leads to Bucharest’s city centre. The bus shelter faces a common issue often met throughout other similar spaces - namely the small number of seating areas in accordance with the number of users.
In this particular case the lack of seating areas makes the nearby office building wall a place to rest while people wait for the bus. This is visible by analyzing the wall’s damaged finish.
In terms of user profile we find many corporate employees during the week (due to nearby office buildings) and families on weekends (due to the nearby park).
Our proposal encompasses ways to make the place more attractive and user friendly.

Existing Urban Furniture

Public Space Affiliated to the Main Building

The abundance of street furniture offers little to the user in terms of quality. The elements are strictly functional and often fail to relate with the passerby.
Various paving types are alternated, fragmentating the sidewalk by creating a form of discontinuity.

Option Study

Selected Option

Selected Option Close-up

A sequence of boards of various sizes and shapes generates an object. This creates different scenarios for seating.
The object resembles the playful motion of a wave inviting people to sit and wait for the the next ride.

Front View

Victoriei Square

Probably the busiest intersection in Bucharest is Victory Square - an important transportation hub. The site is located at the crossroad of Victoria Avenue and Boulevard Lascar Catargiu.
The object that caught our attention is a reinforced concrete base which dates back to the socialist period. The lighting pole was cut down but the base remained a witness to those times.
What is noteworthy is this object's position - in the middle of one of the major pedestrians flows in the square. In addition it is often used as a meeting or seating place or a waiting area.
The placement of the object offers the public space an opportunity to modernize. The object’s proximity to a crosswalk makes it a great place for resting .
By reinterpreting it as a coated relic it becomes a landmark and also a way to remind people the events that took place in 1989’s Revolution.

A 3d Model of the Former Lighting Pole

Option Study

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Winning Option

Produsul unei lumi trecute, acest obiect ciudat surprinde trecatorii prin simpla sa prezenta in unul dintre cele mai aglomerate spatii reprezentative ale Bucurestiului. Soclul unui fost stalp de iluminare stradala a ramas infipt in mislocul trotuarului unui spatiu care cauta sa se modernizeze. Proiectul propune pastrarea acestui vestigiu, privindu-l ca pe un martor a unui trecut regretat, un exponat urban si sa il inveleasca intr-un strat “protector” asadar transformandu-l intr-un obiect de mobilier urban.

Academy of Economic Studies

The new building of the Academy of Economic Studies, situated at the crossroads of Dorobanti Street and Dacia Boulevard intrigued us through its landscape planning. The space in front of the entrance is shielded from the busy street through trees and hedges. This space acts nowadays as a transit area for pedestrians. People felt the need to cross this green area before entering the building thus creating an alley-a link between the sidewalk and entrance. We found this change of land use the expression of a need – the need for a public space designed for users. In terms of user profile we find many corporate employees and students during the week. At night, the whole area lacks its usual users due to a low number of attractions. The space becomes overnight a shelter for many homeless people who find behind the hedges a resting place. We tried to keep in mind all these aspects and implement a series of urban furniture objects. Thus a small area for interaction and recreation is created.

Pedestrian Path Study

Close-up View

Plan

Design Strategy

National Theater

Probably the most important square in Bucharest, a space for public debate, the University Square is a daily venue for social life.
It is situated near important buildings such as the National Theatre, the University of Bucharest, the University of Architecture and Urbanism, Hotel Intercontinental, Colţea Hospital and the Museum of Bucharest.
Finding the subway exits nearby this buildings we focused on the exit to the National Theatre. The famous stairs, as you exit the subway, are well known for serving as a meeting point.
The green space in front of the National Theatre is often misused. The stairs became a starting point to create a link between the subway exit and the green space thus inviting people to use the whole park.

Axonometric View

Design Strategy

Axonometric View