Independence Square Podgorica
Competition Entry - 1st Prize
Konstantina Tzemou, Ninoslav Krgovic, Tommaso Bernabò Silorata
Urban Design, Public Realm, Architecture
AGORA - FLEXIBLE COMMONS FOR PODGORICA
The proposal for Independence Square builds a strong spatial identity for the city of Podgorica by shaping an openended and inhabited landmark on site. The new Independence Square works as a multi-layered urban infrastructure that densifies the programmatic uses on site in order to achieve rich public life 24/7. The inherent urban characteristics of the space are enriched to create a new flexible “commons”, a transformable public space that adapts to diverse social, cultural and seasonal circumstances. By establishing seamless connections between the levels of the city, Independence Square will function as the new epicentre of a continuous open-space and pedestrian network around
the city of Podgorica.
A TRANSFORMABLE SURFACE
Both a civic square and an interactive public space
The proposed design for Independence Square establishes a new narrative for the city of Podgorica. It achieves maximum flexibility by freeing up the centre while providing critical infrastructure in order for the space to adapt to multiple events. A sustainable and transformable water feature at the centre of the square allows the space to become an interactive playground when it is on. Otherwise, once the fountain is drained away, the square transforms into an unobstructed civic space that can host large capacity events. The urban equipment is designed to align with the idea of flexibility by offering a variety of seating configurations and elements for accessibility and comfort.
The proposal prioritizes natural and recycled materials like timber and concrete. Below ground the structural elementsare concrete-based while above ground the project maximizes the use of timber. Permeable pavers throughout the plaza ensure a sustainable approach in terms of water management and green infrastructure on site. The colour differentiation of the pavers enhances accessibility as it helps define zones of circulation as opposed to zones of pause and seating while maintaining the warm colour palette of the existing plaza design.
A SUSTAINABILITY PARADIGM
Environmental considerations across scales
The proposal takes advantage of Podgorica’s mild weather and comfortable climate to plan for the use of Independence Square year-round. Through permeable paving systems and green infrastructure techniques, rainwater is captured and reused to irrigate the planting beds on site, as well as for play and recreation through the interactive water feature. As Podgorica’s precipitation does not vary significantly month to month, the system is designed in a capacity to be utilized during all seasons. Based on the annual radiation analysis, the plaza receives well distributed radiation throughout the year. For buildings surrounding the plaza, a green facade system supported by a light timber structure is introduced that will extend the balcony space, visually unify the façade, and enhance the living conditions for the users. Reaching the top of the buildings, the green facade system will turn into an inclined roof system creating a micro-climate for urban agriculture on the roof. Since there are no obstructions and the roofs are flat, PV panels will be installed to help generate energy for the plaza and parking below, reducing the burden on the energy grid and helping further optimize the environmental performance of the Square.