Bezanija Plaza - In the Shadow of Visions

Students: Damaris Baumann, Martin Jakl
Location: Group work in Belgrade
Date: July, 2006
Type: Research project, student work, sava amphitheatre

This case study looks at the large stretches of riverbanks of Sava and Danube in Belgrade. The riverbanks are dominated by a juxtaposition of infrastructures, urban-residual programs and different marginal, ‘shadow’ occupations. They lie in-between the city and the rivers, this condition talking about historical borders that used to run along the rivers but also about future potentials this space. In the gravity f the city, on the riverbanks, lays the 'Sava Amphitheatre', generally thought to be the most interesting area of Belgrade. It is seen as an epicenter of the future transformations of the city. It is also one of eternal myths of Belgrade architecture; generations of architects have dreamt of 'Sava Amphitheatre' as a place where ‘city comes to its rivers’. In near future Belgrade’s Central Railway station will be moved to a new location freeing up some 80 ha of high-value land in the very center of the city. With that move, the project of 'Sava Amphitheatre' might become a reality. The two banks of the river are however completely different in nature and will also be investigated separately.
The West bank of Sava river, located on the New Belgrade side, has a surprisingly low density and an equally surprising lack of ambition. Highways alternate with wide green spaces, a Roma settlement and a residential area with individual houses. The Old Fair from 1937, which became a concentration camp during WWII, today houses artists and different kinds of temporary activities. It forms an urban pocket on an exclusive location. It borders on the conference center, the Hyatt Hotel and before all on the green riverbed with its opportunities for summer leisure, restaurants and clubs on the water.

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