Flower Square

Ksenija Bulatović, Igor Čubra, Jelena Čubra, Biljana Mihajlović, Nikola Baković

Previous state
The Flower Square was founded in the year 1843 when the market place of the old part of the city was created. On that place the first supermarket on Balkan has been built, which remain until today with flower shops and fence surrounded square. In the year 2000 City government of Belgrade announced public architecture competition for this location. The first prize has been given to the same authors that are currently working on reconstruction of this location. It was only after 15 years that new city government has decided to carry out the first prize design. The city becomes a system. The system is consisted of events that make it operational. Still, the system does not deny geometry of the form. It was necessary to organize the location space to bring architectural styles from the surrounding together, and at the same time create unique identity. Unique contemporary dictionary of the architectural elements related to the Flower Square and Yugoslav Drama Theatre is visible in the plain sight, highlighting the relation between Square and its contexts. Old and new urban tissue along with the strong street fronts had formed the immediate context of the Square. The main landmark of the square is 2 centuries old oak tree. The tree is preserved and integrated in the urban structure.

Aim of Intervention
The city government of Belgrade has defined following conditions for the reconstruction of the Flower Square: to carry out the reconstruction according to the first prize design from the year 2000, and to construct flower shops and public toilets. The cost of the reconstruction was 220.000,00 EUR. One part of the cost was covered by donation of the Delhaize Company, which is the owner of the current supermarket on the Flower Square. The project was founded by partnership between public and private sector, and represents goodwill of the city, and appeal for cooperation in regeneration of the public space. It was necessary to refine this public space to achieve new possibilities of usage that correspond to modern cultural and sociological style of living. The design of the Flower Square with the integration in the existing urban surrounding enabled following functional efficiencies: theatrical and musical performances, social events, flower market, and other occasional gatherings. The attractive and interactive space that coordinates with surrounding and allows visitors a new possibility of interactions and communications has been created. The Flower Square space represents a place of social gathering and exchanging energies, thoughts and ideas.
Description of Intervention
The intervention of the reconstruction included removing of temporary buildings, and denivelation of the ground to fit for contemporary needs. The flower shops have been constructed as prefabricated concrete panels. Elements of the location – square, stairs, pavilions and the tree intersect and overlap forming a unique architectural and urban volume. In order to create a specific image from all the important angles, special care was given to the relations, proportions and collimation lines. Stable and purified shapes allow clear perception. The most important characteristic of the architectural language are clear primary forms based on morphological archetypes, with discreet substractions and usage of secondary plastic elements. The main quality of urban space is the users’ reaction to the constellation of architecture shapes in the immediate surroundings. Perceptions such as seeing, hearing, touching, etc. tell us whether a certain space is acceptable and pleasant or not. Organization of the inside space is based on the concept of flexibility and principles of development.

The creation concept of Flower Square in the goal of promoting public spaces from the global point of view:
Characteristic of the location is the cruciform base – raster – within which elements mark specific points in space.
Four cubes glass-concrete relate to the four basic natural elements – fire, earth, air, water. This concept, in philosophical aspect, gains its importance in the space of Belgrade.
Design for linking histories and identities. Location represents concentrate of historical styles: Secession, Postmodern, Modern, and essence of surrounding urban blocks which are shaping the square. The relationship between Jugoslav Drama Theatre, where connection between history and significance of the place has been achieved by architectural design, and the square which gives support and scenography for that important building. The social component was considered in architectural design. That is why the theatre was connected with the history and the square became significant social gathering spot in Vracar in the last few years. The location because of the Theatre has national significance, because of supermarket and cafes has local significance, and with flower shops and new design for events and gathering it is significant for the city.
Viscous society is based on the idea that all elements are systematically organized around the mainstream forming an organic correlated structure and unity. Strong dependence on the main motive – old oak – is obvious and it creates the square’s identity.
Slide modus. Terrain is on the slope and, due to the triangular shape, inclinations are different in each three streets. Mathematical structure of all urban and architectural elements is performed virtuously in a way that every element became an essential factor of the organism.
Theatricality. The very organization of the Flower Square can easily accept and support elements of public life such as concerts, theatres, performances, lectures etc. It can also serve as the direct support of the nearby theatre.