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block 39 – belgrade

Architecture As An Educational Catalyst

Park of Science

This project proposes a Park of Science that occupies entire area of Block 39 and unites various academic and scientific institutions on the site, with a goal to promote popularization of science. With present global environmental, economic and social issues, it is necessary more than ever to educate and involve the general public in order to inspire ordinary people to make more rational, responsable choices and live healthier lifestyle. The proposed master plan for Block 39 is an opportunity to create an urban environment that serves as a catalyst for popular education: a place where high science meets everyday life, where a dialog between advanced theoretical research and mundane practices is established to cross generate new practical concepts: a place that both inspire and educate lay people as well as bring scientific circles closer to present real life challenges. Site plan makes a departure from the rectangular urban grid of New Belgrade that was originally design by adopting the scale of movement by car, and brings back the human scale of walking, that allows casual encounters, interaction and socializing. The new, fluid, geometry of the Block 39 site plan is created by following the natural flow of people between traffic entry points on its perimeter and the new points of interest on site. These new points of interests are not merely locations of entrance to the new buildings – instead, each building is considered to be a source of influence that generates what in abstract terms might be called “force field” and in concrete urban design is materialized as an accompanying public space. This public park area that accompanies every scientific institution is a sort of its exhibition space which gives an opportunity to spread its influence by curating its ideas and presenting it to general public in a comprehensible way. The same way the various fields of science interact and affect one another, distribution and distorted circular shapes of public spaces in the block is  the result of the mutual influence between force fields that belong to the institutions on site. Each of these public spaces is considered to be a blend of natural (vegetation) and urban elements (pavement): paved paths meander through the natural landscape following the fluid trajectories of people’s circulation around the site. This somehow abstract design process uses means of architectural and urban design to visualize invisible and elusive process of how the new scientific ideas and discoveries spread out and become part of our culture: each domain of science doesn’t exist in isolation, but it has its field of influence that affects and is affected by other fields of science. And our culture is not a simple sum of all these individual fields of work, but a complex system that emerge when the ideas that are generated and circulating between these scientific circles start penetrating and influencing the daily life of society in general. Urban design based on attempt to materialize these abstract forces that spread ideas and “upgrade” doesn’t attempt to make a formal statement but more than anything else to create a physical environment where this movement and interaction of ideas can be accelerated, or at least the one that creates an opportunity for this interaction to happen.