Zagreb Gredelj Revitalisation Project Presented at European Architect Gathering

Lauren Simmonds

Updated on:

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic
Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, since yesterday, the City of Zagreb has been hosting a large European conference to make up for the event missed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. It regards a two-day European conference dedicated to the Architectural Policies of RE-USE ARCHITECTURE, in which the Zagreb Gredelj zone revitalisation plans are being revealed.

It was supposed to be held here in the Croatian capital in June last year, during Croatia’s presidency of the European Union, but due to the epidemiological situation it was moved to April the 22nd and 23rd this year. It is otherwise held twice a year, as part of each EU member state’s presidency, and it is even more interesting that the premiere presentation of the project of unique development potential for Zagreb, a new city within the city, through the revitalisation of the huge space of the former Railway Wagon Factory, the so-called area of Gredelj.

According to the announcements regarding the presentation of the Zagreb Gredelj project, which will bring a new modern urban block to the City of Zagreb, modelled on Western European capitals, a video presentation of the urban revitalisation of the former Gredelj factory, an area between Zagreb’s main railway and bus station, along Branimirova street, is expected.

The film is based on studies and public presentations that many experts from various fields have worked on since back in 1995: Zagreb’s Studio 3LHD, the Dutch-Croatian studio De Architekten Cie., PwC Advisory, Colliers International, HDC, Institut IGH and MS Partners.

At the initiative of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the developed solution includes the new construction and revitalisation of industrial heritage covering as much as 420,000 m2. The Zagreb-Gredelj zone study was conceived as a link to the reconstruction of the city centre after March 2020’s earthquake, which will finally connect the north and south of Zagreb.

It is set to be presented to the public by architect Marko Dabrovic, one of the members and procurator of 3LHD, who after last year’s earthquake presented the Zagreb Gredelj zone in media appearances, adding that it was an opportunity to solve one of the biggest urban connection problems in Zagreb.

“Zagreb deserves a large, international urban tender for the Gredelj zone in order to expand the debate and look into it all as much as is possible, and ultimately choose the solution that is of the highest quality and optimal,” Rajka Bunjevac said, adding that major natural disasters hit Croatia last year (the earthquake of March 2020 in Zagreb and its surroundings and the earthquakes on December the 28th and 29th, 2020, with an epicentre about 60 kilometre south of Zagreb) showed all the maladaptation of our urban structures to natural disasters and the vulnerability of our architectural heritage.

They show, she added, the uneven level of development of parts of the country, decades of lack of systematic access to the urban renewal of cities, the consequences of emigration from rural parts of the country and the quality of construction which is unacceptable for the 21st century.

Sustainable urban development and urban renewal focused on various aspects of use, ie the reuse of urban ”tissue”, are the open topics of the conference, which is expected to discuss issues of reconstruction and revitalisation, the activation of abandoned areas, the breathing of life back into neglected zones or individual buildings and their circular management.

The European Conference on Architectural Policies is otherwise important in the context of guidelines for improving the quality of an area, and following these findings, Croatia adopted its national architectural policies for the period from 2013 to 2020.

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