Central Square – known now as Parade Square - is a Warsaw main landmark for tourists and citizens. Mostly because of its central location on the map of the city and direct relation with Palace of Culture and Science – the highest and most iconic building in Poland.
Everyday loads of people are passing through the Parade Square on their way to work, train station or just to handle their daily duties. Despite being located in a communicational and administrative heart of the City, the space is excluded from everyday metropolitan life. As meeting point or destination for spending time, its role seems to be marginal.
The reason of the lack of interest is “the great nothingness”. There is no specified development plan for the Square so people feel free to use it in random ways.
Taking into consideration foregoing social and spatial aspects ELEMENT proposed winning concept of Central Square. The idea of a finger pointing on the square site refers to tourists constantly pointing Parade Square on the map because of its central location in the city. This leaves a fingerprint which in reality is a delicate hollow in the square surface which can be used in different ways depending on actual weather, events or other demands.
Central square is dedicated mainly to pedestrians and cyclists as architects decided to close it for car transportation. Access to the new buildings designed around the square will be possible by internal roads linking Marszałkowska and Emilii Plater streets on the north and south of Palace of Culture and Science. Access to the underground car parking is provided by a tunnel extension of Złota street while road on the south of the square enables bus approach.
FORM AND FUNCTION
Oval shape of the hollow in the centre of the square plasticises the space and encourages visitors to come inside. It stimulates social interaction bringing people to the central point of plaza. The square is divided into diversified areas in order to create a cultural hub inside of Warsaw's downtown and evoke user's interaction.
The main zone (hollowed landscape) is dedicated to relaxation activities or a temporary concert audience, summer cinemas, theatre plays, fashion shows and children playground.
The other part of the square is dedicated to different kind of cultural markets (design, book, art), food festivals and fan zones.
MATERIAL, FUNCTIONAL AND TECHNICAL SOLUTIONS
The Central Square has been raised in relation with entrance to the Palace of Culture and Science in order to eliminate declines and inequalities of the surface. The style, quality and materials used in the project first and foremost are designed for comfortable use of disabled people. By enabling free flow of people through the square and improving orientation in space architects wanted to increase activeness of users.
The grid of the Central Square is a continuation to the existing surface division in front of the Palace of Culture and Science. Large-sized dilatated concrete slabs are used to achieve plain, non-threshold surface.
To keep clarity of materials in the project all small architecture objects designed on the Central Square are made out of concrete and compose with the surface's grid. Its cubic form changes following the function. It can become bicycle stand, seat or green leisure space.
To underline the main axes and Square's grid, the LED lights were build-in the concrete slabs in order to light up the surface.
Parts of the grid occasionally become cubic tree-pots. Its location is designed in order to create an urban interior and to encourage visitors to spend time in the centre part of the plaza. Cubic plant-pots are diversified in it's height to store different kinds of greenery – trees as well as high and low grass. Soft vegetation act as a contrast to the concrete background and is humanizing the space of the Central Square.
Title: Central Square in Warsaw
Type: Competition winner
Lead Architects: Jakub Figel, Filip Kurasz
Team: Jakub Tajer
Location: Warsaw, Poland
Project year: 2017
Visualizations: © ELEMENT / www.welcometoelement.com