Kamenné Square and SNP Square
Bratislava, Slovakia 2020
City of Bratislava
Kamenné Square, SNP Square
exhibition space, sunken plaza, urban space
(Jurij Sadar, Boštjan Vuga, Jure Sadar, Belen Villan Fernandez, Andres Serrano Macias)
Landscape: BRUTO (Matej Kučina, Nika Čufer)
Nowadays, the Slovak National Uprising Square (SNP Square) and Kamenné Square areas represent one of the most important urban spaces in Bratislava. They are located in the conservation zone of the city center. The area combines several important features – it is a significant space from both the historical and social point of view, an important public transportation transfer hub, and location of historical monuments. As other European cities, 20th century Bratislava was characterized by a dynamic development of central urban spaces. Despite their significance, some of them are undergoing gradual deterioration.
Our proposal looked to find a new common identity of the squares with their individual characters preserved and emphasized. By preserving cultural and natural heritage, views, skylines, creating pleasant all-day-round atmospheres, cleaned of visual pollution, the city of Bratislava sets new principles for future sustainable and visitor-friendly city shaping.
In order to visually and physically connect the squares, the first decision is to minimize vehicular traffic, which limits only to drop-off and delivery vehicles and as such opens up the area for the city’s green mobility systems, cycling networks, and especially pedestrian areas. Preserving some greenery and strategically adding new ensures a composition of a green belt with sustainable precipitation water in-take and re-distribution. The program of the buildings spills out to the open space and becomes a streetscape generator. The visible connection of the three squares is well seen in the paving of the area. Our proposal develops a coherent tiling with a color system that marks the different uses – pedestrian, green belt, vehicles, tram, and the cycling line.
There are three main attractions on site: The SNP Square, The Sunken Plaza at the Velvet Revolution Square, and the Circle at the Kamenné Square. The SNP Square is nationally and historically a highly significant space. It has a distinct triangular shape, emphasized by the lawn and centrally located SNP memorial. The design of the Velvet Revolution Square is largely influenced by two important pieces of context – The Old Market Hall building and the archeological remains of the St James chapel with an ossuary. The Sunken Plaza exhibits the ruins in situ, offers new outdoor facilities and diversifies the square. The potential of Kamenné square lies in a different context to the rest of the site. The edge of the square is heterogeneous and undefined. Our proposal imprints a circle to define the center of the square, creating an edge seating with the natural height difference. Trees which enclose the space and define the edge, finally open to define the paths and allow visual and spatial connection with surrounding squares. The circle is a highly variable spatial element with year-round possibilities for different uses – Christmas ice rink, summer music festival venue, everyday meeting place.