Imagine this: Joyous people of Zagreb and their guests having fun on the sandy beaches on the banks of their river, while the kids are building sand castles and cooling their parents of with the fresh and clean water while they are sunbathing.
A bit further down the beach those health-nuts play volleyball, basketball and football on the sport fields, and once the sun finally comes down in the evening open-air movie theatre appears and with it all of that romance just fills the air. All of those are the scenes that have not been seen in Zagreb in decades, but it’s a fairytale that might come true, as soon as during next spring. The city of Zagreb administration has announced that on June 1st 2018, which is commemorated in Zagreb as the Day of the Sava River, the landscaping works on the river’s banks will be completed.
The value of the project is around 20 million kuna, and its aim is to revive the river and return the citizens of Zagreb to its banks. The tender for this project first appeared in 2014, as a part of the European program for young architects, and the idea by a group of architects from Spain and Turkey was selected by the jury. The construction is supposed to start early this spring, and pedestrian and cycling paths, sport fields, sandy beaches, open-air stages, cinemas and many other objects with entertainment and food and drinks will appear along the river, for seven kilometres between Jarun and Bundek lakes. Every single piece of equipment to be installed will be portable, temporary and removable, meaning that many small interventions along the river will bring the most possible amount of novelties.
Sanja Jerković, head of the City planning and development office, in charge of this project said that the theme of the tender was “The Adaptable City”, and that the resulting project is the temporary form of use of space, almost seasonal. She explains that the water level of the Sava River in Zagreb varies around 8 meters annually, so permanent project are not possible on Sava until that is resolved. The problem of the water level should be tackled on the level of the entire country, not just one city, but it is obvious that it has taken the people of Zagreb away from their river. The solution was for everything to be movable, and this project promises that all of the objects will be easily moved, within 24 hours after the rise of the water level is forecasted. The money for this project was already allocated in the city’s budget, however the Administration hopes that they will be able to get some money from the EU funds for it as well.
Add to that another project recently presented, aimed at giving new life to the park just East of the Bundek lake, between it and the Bridge of the Youth (Most mladosti). The tender for the works on the so-called Racinjak Park was recently completed, and the project by the three young architects from Zagreb, Kristina Jeren, Iva Pejić and Miroslav Pejić was selected. The project is also supposed to cost just below 20 million kuna, and although we don’t have the timeline for that part of the Sava River banks remodel, once both of those projects are done, we probably won’t be able to recognize the river flowing through Zagreb.