November 14, 2012

Zaha Hadid for Belgrade?

The project of residential and business complex in the place of former industrial plant "Beko" is making next stage towards realization. Recently the investor presented a preliminary design of the project for the public review. The design of future multifunctional complex at the foot of the Kalemegdan fortress is an artwork of the renowned Zaha Hadid architectural studio from London.

The Greek company "Lamda development", known in Serbia as part of a holding company with EFG Bank and EKI Petrol, bought the bankrupt company "Beko" that owned a remarkable piece of the most exclusive land in the heart of Belgrade.
The very large plot (more than 38’000m2) is situated between the Kalemegdan fortress and the Dorcol riverfront near the "MilanGale Muskatirovic" sportcenter (former 25 may sportcenter).
The zone is of course protected as a monument of culture, however urban development plans allowed the construction under strict conditions with a maximum of 115,000m2 of floor space and also increased architectural standards are requested.

 So the Greek Holding engaged one of the big names in world architecture, studio Zaha Hadid from London to obtain an outstanding project. And yes, the project is a stunning solution: what, at the first glance, looks like photoshop distortion at the second sight shows a subtle composition that surprises the observer! 
From the architect's site:
"Sitting in the heart of Belgrade’s cultural axis the project explores the idea of introducing a habitable landscape whose undulating topography opens up the BEKO site to a variety of possibilities and views, whether into the confluence of Belgrade’s two rivers, the subtle monumentality of the Kalemegdan Castle and internally between constituent volumes of the design.  Developed as a contemporary Mixed-Use Masterplan it includes Residential, Retail and Commercial areas along with a large scale Convention facility and a 5* boutique Hotel."

Hadid's proposition will hold 94,000m2 of surface (a little less than the prescribed maximum) but is fully in accordance with the terms of protection from the Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments of Serbia.
The Masterplan for the Beko site allows for many green spaces throught the complex with no fences and barriers for public transition that link the riverfront with the fortress. Through height control, building shape and size the complex allows interesting angles of view and surprising situations.

The city's wish is to avoid that the Beko site becomes an exclusive, but dead island in the center of the city. So it will be interesting to see what the project will provide to counter act.
If the project goes ahead after public review, the investor enters into the process of obtaining location and building permits. (to be kept updated visit: